Better Posture, Better Back: Yoga for a Healthy Spine
Discover four easy stretches to help relieve tension and stiffness in the back. These spinal twists will not only improve blood circulation but also help you take fuller, deeper breaths.
The following is an excerpt from Health Hour with Sarah Jane Dias, actor, certified yoga instructor and breakthrough coach, and Zubin Atre?, founder, Atre? Yoga and author. Watch the YouTube video for the full practice as well as the question and answer session.
Slouching, constantly looking down at your phone or leaning too far back can create poor posture and can lead to spinal or back problems. Some signs of poor posture and weak back muscles are: you may feel a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation with pain radiating down to your leg when trying to stand, walk, bend or twist. You may also feel stiffness in spinal muscles, numbness, severe back pain that doesn’t improve with rest. As per Asian Spine Journal, 2017, about 15 percent of adults worldwide suffer from lower back pain, with bad posture being one of the major causes. Good posture keeps your musculoskeletal system healthy. To get good posture you have to train your neck and back muscles by strengthening them. Take periodic breaks to drain lactic acid build-up, move and stretch regularly to boost blood circulation. Poor posture impacts the quality of your breath, poor breathing can cause fatigue, disrupt concentration and can create tension in the body.
Yoga and exercise improves posture and spinal health by building strength, flexibility and endurance in muscles. The exercises below are repetitive, low-intensity movements. These basic spinal movements by Zubin Atre?, founder, Atre? Yoga can ease the tension in the back muscles, improve blood circulation and condition the back muscles to act as a natural corset for a healthy body.
4 Yoga Poses For Better Spinal Health
1. Side Bends
- Sit on a chair with your spine completely upright and feet touching the floor.
- Rest the arms parallel to the chair and face forward.
- Now, bend to the right as if you are trying to pick a pen.
- Tilt and feel the weight of the arm.
- Hold the position and then bring yourself up.
- Do 4-5 reps.
- Repeat the same on your left.
2. Forward Bend
- On a chair, keep your feet parallel to the floor and put your hands on the top of the knees.
- Now, simply bend forward so that your chest is close to the thighs and slide your hands as you go down.
- Keep shoulders and neck relaxed and try to feel your breath.
- Hold the position for a while, relax, and bring yourself up.
- Do 4-5 reps.
3. Backward Bend
- Sit on a chair, pull your knees wide and tuck your hands under the base of your chair.
- Push the center of your torso forward to lift the sternum up.
- Now, lean back gently and let your head drop.
- You’ll see that your chin is higher than your nose. Take a few deep breaths.
4. Spinal twist
- Sit upright on a chair and keep your chest and stomach facing forward. Ensure that your feet touch the floor and the heels are not lifted.
- Lift your right arm up, and rotate to the left and grab the left corner of the chair.
- Hold the elbows up and look as far as possible over your left shoulder.
- Breathe comfortably during the twist.
- Hold the position for a while and return to start.
- Repeat on the other side.
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