HOW YOGA CAN KEEP YOUR SPINE HEALTHY
Spinal health is essential. Our spine supports our bodies, protecting the nerves and enabling us to move. Each cell in our bodies is controlled by our central nervous system. If problems with our spine means it is unable to support the central nervous system, issues can rear their head.
Maintaining spinal health is therefore vital.
One of the myriad of benefits of yoga includes improving and maintaining healthy movement and strength of the spine.
Yoga expands the different motions of the spine. By improving the agility and flexibility of the spine, yoga can help reduce the chances of spinal injuries. The different yoga poses encourage the muscles which support the spine to be in alignment with the deep core muscles and the abdomen.
Today we discuss the first in a series of poses that are great for spinal health.
Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na) — Camel pose is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. It improves spinal flexibility, while also strengthening the back muscles and improving posture. This pose creates space in the chest and lungs, increasing breathing capacity and helping to relieve respiratory ailments. Ustrasana also stimulates the kidneys, which improves digestion. This pose energizes the body and helps to reduce anxiety and fatigue.
It is often used as preparation for deeper backbends. Practicing Ustrasana daily can be a great way to relieve neck and back pain caused by slouching in front of a computer or driving.
Ustrasana can be an energizing way to gain spinal flexibility. However, it’s important to learn how to do it correctly to avoid injury and strain.
When practicing backbends, it is crucial to create length between your vertebrae, being careful not to collapse or crunch into the pose. Keep your pelvis stable as you lift and lengthen your sternum toward the sky.
Take the pose slowly, only going as deep as your body will allow without pain.
Gently draw your tailbone forward while pressing the front of your thighs back. This counter-action will stabilize your pelvis as you lift and lengthen your spine, instead of compressing your spine when you lean back.
Be careful not to bring your head so far back that you strain your neck. Keep your neck extended and comfortable throughout the pose.
Remember never to force your body into the pose. Practice a modified version until you have gained the amount of flexibility and strength you need to safely go deeper.
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