311: Yoga for Backs, 4 easy poses for health

Keeping your spine healthy is a way to slow down the aging process. Using computers all day can lead to a rounding of the upper back with the ears forward of the shoulders. Slack or weak muscles in the lower back can lead to an overarching in the lower spine. Assess your posture and the ways you look after your back. According to ACC in New Zealand the biggest claim for backs is from people reaching behind them to put on their safety belt.
One way to look after your spine is to take it through all 6 movements. They are: Forward bend, back bend, side (lateral) bend left and right, twist left and right.
Here is a short sequence to practice as part of your every day armor for facing the world out there.

HP_209_Tadasana_2481) Stand in mountain pose and align your ears over your shoulders. Feel the strength in your legs as you pull your shoulder blades back and down your back. Use the belly to support the lower back by gently pulling it in, but still keep the belly soft.

cresent moon2) Side stretch. Place your left hand on your thigh and reach your right hand up and over your ear. Stretch from the right hip bone to the right finger tips. Hold for a few breaths. On an inhale come up to centre, on an exhale repeat to the left.

HP_MAR06_Bhujangasana_2483) Cobra pose. Lay on your belly. Place your finger tips forward in line with your breast bone. Gently press the hands in to the floor while firming the belly to support the lower back. Keep the hands light on the floor. Rest. Repeat 3-4 times. Rest in between each set.

Paschimottanasa_2484) Forward fold. Sit on your butt, send your sit bones to the back of your mat. Lift the ribs away from the thighs and fold forward. If you have really tight hamstrings bend the knees or sit on a cushion.

twist5) Supine twist. Lay on your back. Hug your left knee into your chest and using your right hand on your knee take your knee over to the right. Stay here for 4-5 breaths. Work to keep your left shoulder down on the floor.

Practice for today. The yogis don’t measure your age by chronological years, but by the health of your spine. Take some time out to day to nourish your spine by taking it slowly and carefully through each range of movement.

In case you need more encouragement here are the benefits of yoga for backs

Yoga works to strengthen all major muscle groups that support the spine
The stretching postures in increase blood flow to the tissues that support the spine, improving the health of the intervertebral discs and muscles along the spine.

Flexibility of the muscles in your back and along your spine will help your spine to rotate properly.

Focus on body awareness and being conscious of movements may make you more aware of what is contributing to your back pain.

Spine lengthening promotes good posture and proper alignment of the vertebrae. A lengthened spine will improve your posture and guide you to natural alignment.

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