20 Aug Caring for the Spine – The Single best Investment in your Health!
The human spine is 33 bones in a seemingly stitched manner. An X-Ray however reveals that the bones have suspension between each other. The suspension is what renders it flexibility. As with any other non-living object as well where flexibility determines maneuverability, the same helps in aligning the human spine to keep us mobile.
Visibly speaking, the spine supports the head. The 3 natural curves of the spine (cervical, thoracic and lumbar) act like a coiled spring for shock absorption, for maintaining the body balance and helps us in a range of motion like standing upright, bending, and twisting. The thoracic holds the ribcage protecting the heart and lungs and the lumbar bears the weight of the body. The spine also helps the central nervous system in its functioning. Essentially, the spine is like the trunk of a tree, supporting the entire body structure.
Spine is more than what an X-Ray or an MRI shows.
Without the spine, you would not experience most of the things that you experience as a human being. Keeping the spine well-protected, strong, and flexible is important because you want to experience life to the fullest. Hence it is very important that the spine is exercised. Otherwise, physically it will become rigid and useless but more importantly, your ability to experience life decreases dramatically when you are confined to your bed.
Exercising the Spine :
A suitable sequence of Yoga postures is usually the best exercise for the spine. It is a good idea to learn and perform these postures under the expert eye of a yoga teacher. To start with, one should try forward and backward bends and at a later stage, when one is more comfortable, one can focus on twisting postures.
It is important to note that for each posture in yoga, there usually is a counter pose. Also, mixing a routine of postures with a few relaxing postures in between is a good idea.
Here are some basic postures that will help you nurture, relax and heal your spine :
1. Shoulder Pose or Half Wheel (Kandharasana) : for instant relief from backache or any waist pain, improves digestion.
2. Cobra posture (Bhujangasana) : rejuvenates the spine, stiff back and provides elasticity to the lungs.
3. Boat posture (Naukasana): removes excess fat from the stomach and tones up internal organs likes intestines, pancreas. Also there is extra supply of oxygen to the lungs and heart.
4. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana – Bitilasana) : makes the spine, neck and shoulders supple. Also alleviates bodily cramps during menstrual periods.
5. Childs pose (shashankasana) : tones spinal nerves, sciatic nerves and pelvic muscles. Counter-stretch to the above backward bends.
Gradually, you can increase the amount of time you hold each posture and also learn some advanced postures. Over time, you will experience flexibility, reduction in back ache, improving strength and a lightness that will only deepen with further practice.
Does this interest you? If so, please join us at the Dallas Yoga Festival, to learn, experience healing and practice Yoga!