This week the focus is all on our spine. The spine is one of the most important bone structures in our body as it allows us to bend, twist and move. Your nervous system also runs up and down your spine, enabling your body to feel different sensations. When you injure your spine, it can be debilitating to your quality of life. Injuries can occur suddenly such as in accidents, but they can also occur gradually over time due to, for example, a poor posture. Therefore, looking after your spine is super important.

A strong spine = a healthy body and mind!

These 5 yoga poses focus on moving, stretching and twisting the spine in different ways to help promote healthy blood flow through the spine and spinal strength. Try completing these yoga poses regularly (at least 3 times per week) to help avoid long term spinal injuries and to relieve back pain.

1) Spinal Twist

Marichyasana

Spinal Twist Marichyasana

Spinal twist poses - whichever variation you do - are like squeezing the blood flow in the spine like when you twist to squeeze water out of a wet cloth. After the squeeze, fresh blood flows through the time, bringing with it a rush of healthy blood cells. This helps to oxygenate the spine, helping to strengthen it.

  • For this spinal twist variation, sit on the floor with both legs out straight.
  • Bend your right knee, bringing the heel as close to your bottom as is comfortable.
  • Ground your straight leg thigh and right foot into the floor to help stretch your spine upwards so it is perfectly straight.
  • As you exhale, rotate your torso to the right, bringing your left armpit into your right knee to extend the twist.

Hold for 30s - 1 minute, then release with an exhalation. Repeat on the other side.

2) Bow Pose

Dhanurasana

Bow Pose

This pose is a moderate back-bend, helping to stretch the spine the opposite way to which it is normally held when we have poor posture (e.g. when slouching at a desk).

  • Lie flat on your tummy on the floor.
  • Bend both knees, bringing your heels close to your bottom.
  • Extend your arms back and reach for your ankles.
  • Once you have a firm grip, as you next inhale, lift your heels away from your bottom as you lift your torso of the floor.
  • Don't worry if your torso only lifts a little bit - as your flexibility improves, so will your lift.

Stay in the pose for 20-30s if you can - breathing may feel uncomfortable but make sure to keep breathing!

Repeat twice.

3) Plow Pose

Halasana

Plow Pose

This pose is fantastic for reducing back ache, and can help with sleep issues due to back-ache.

  • This pose starts off in shoulder pose - see Yoga Series Week 5 for details on how to get into this pose.
  • Once you are in a shoulder stand, slowly lower your legs backwards, past your head, making sure to fold from your hips and keeping your spine straight if you can.
  • Try to keep your legs extended as you do this, however bend your knees a little if this isn't possible.
  • Reach your toes towards the floor (if not possible, place a block/blanket behind your head and place your toes on this instead), and lift your thighs and torso towards the sky.
  • To exit the pose, support your back with your arms again and slowly lift your legs back up to shoulder stand, and lower fully from there back to the floor so you are lying on your back in a straight line.

Try to hold the pose for a minute if you can. If you feel any neck strain whatsoever, do not do this pose.

4) Cat/Cow pose

Marjaryasana Bitilasana

Cat Cow 1 Cat Cow 2

This pose we re-visit from week 3 of the yoga series, so head on over there for details. It's a really effective pose for loosening up the back muscles and stretching the spine in opposite directions. Any time you feel any type of back strain, repeating cat-cow several times, while focussing on your breathing, can help to give immediate relief.

5) Fish Pose

Matsyasana

Fish Pose
  • Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent.
  • Lifting your pelvis slightly off the floor, slides your hands underneath your bottom, palm down.
  • Make sure your forearms and elbows are tucked in the sides of your torso.
  • Pressing your forearms and elbows on the floor, inhale as you lift your upper torso and head away from the floor.
  • Then lower your head back onto the floor, this time gazing backwards as you do so to stretch your neck.
  • Depending on how how you can lift your torso, either the top or back of your head will touch the floor. You can now either keep your legs bent, or straighten them on the floor.

Hold for 15-30 seconds.

Again, avoid this pose if you have neck pain.


Written by Carina Pullen - a mother, triathlete, beach loving yogi. Her love and passion for teaching & practicing yoga is contagious and I'm so excited that she is going to share a 6 week yoga series with you!

This HEALTHY YOU yoga series will target not only the whole body, but will take you through poses that boost your health and wellbeing in ALL areas - physical, mental and emotional.

*if you have any questions about this yoga series then feel free to contact Carina.


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