I’d like you to start thinking about your spine. The spine serves three functions in the body. First, it helps protect your spinal cord, nerve roots and a number of internal organs. Second it provides structural support and helps us stay upright. Lastly, it enables us to move in a variety of ways. You may have noticed your spine changing as you get older, that is not uncommon but doesn’t have to happen. I remember my own journey with my posture started in 5th grade. When I was in 5th grade if my teacher Mrs. Perkins found me slouching she’d tell to stand against a wall and then walk away. I grew more quickly than my peers and was offsetting my growth by rounding forward. Mrs. Perkins knew what she was talking about.
Try it now, stand against a wall. Let your shoulders and your head touch the wall as best they can and then walk away. You’ve just done a version of Mountain Pose or Tadasana.
Yoga is a wonderful way to work on your posture and help your spine stay healthy.
The spine moves in six directions: flexion and extension, lateral flexion and extension (side-bending), rotation to the right and rotation to the left. Our spines CRAVE movement in all directions. Over the next few weeks I will share with you a few handouts that you can post in your bedroom, bathroom, at your desk, in the kitchen, anywhere you can take a moment to MOVE your SPINE. We’ll be focusing on flexibility and then we’ll look at strength. Both are important.
So why flex and extend? What happens?
Spinal flexing is what happens when you bend forward. Spinal extension is bending backward. As you bend in either direction, the vertebrae in your spine open to the back and compress in the front or vice versa. When this compression happens blood is squeezed out. When you release the flexion new blood moves in. This happens during both flexion (forward bending) and extension (backward bending). In addition, the collagen fibers in your inter-vetebral discs are also compressed or even strained slightly which is also healthy.
On my website you can practice a back strengthening and lengthening video for free. Check it out here. (Scroll down toward the bottom)
Try these movements this week. Next week we’ll look at side bending.
Instructions for the movement:
- Start in child’s pose for a few breaths
- Inhale (abs engaged) and lift to kneeling drawing your arms out the sides
- Exhale, place your hands on your lower back and press your hips forward as you backbend
- Inhale come up to kneeling
- Exhale and release to child’s pose
- Repeat slowly 5-10x
You can view this on Patreon right now and download the movement sheet.
Just a note…in October & November over on Patreon I will be sharing a Yoga Therapy Tune-in on strengthening the core…this too is part of supporting your spine.
You can join my online yoga program here.