Friday, July 31, 2009

Yoga for Spine | Exercises for the Spine Stretching

Exercises for the spine are as important as exercises for the arms, legs or abdomen. People usually focus on building their biceps, abs and leg muscles, often neglecting their spinal chord in the process. However, the spinal chord is one of the most important structures of the body, and needs to be exercised daily, in order to obtain a healthy and fit body. Why are exercises for the spine or spinal chord exercises so important? It is precisely because the spinal chord contains the nervous tissues that extend from the brain and run down to the terminal filament. The spinal chord plays an important role in making sure that a person’s central nervous system that comprises of the brain and nervous tissue function efficiently.

Spine Stretching Exercises


The posture of a person is also largely dependent on his spine. A person who droops while walking will most often display a weak spinal chord, while a person with a strong spinal chord will always walk erect. The spinal chord helps in transmitting neural signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Therefore, there is no doubt that the spinal chord plays an important part in ensuring that the body functions smoothly. There are many exercises that may prove beneficial to your spine; however, none can match the benefits of yoga. Yoga includes mind and body co-ordination and since the spinal chord epitomizes this, yoga exercises for the spine prove most effective.

Generally yoga is a discipline that would need to be practiced in a particular flow. There are various poses and yoga postures starting with simple breathing and meditation poses that lead to complex yoga postures that stretch and stimulate various organs of the body. Two yoga postures that are particularly relevant for stretching the spine are: dhanurasana or bow pose and setu bandha sarvangasana or bridge pose. Both these poses include stretching the spinal chord to the fullest, thus increasing its flexibility and strength. Consider including them in any yoga routine aimed at developing the spinal column, but as with any yoga pose do not practice them in isolation.

Dhanurasana or Bow pose

In order to practice this posture, you will need to lie down flat on your yoga mat, on your stomach. Your hands in the relaxed state should run parallel to your body. In a single inhalation, lift your torso and legs simultaneously, with your palms reaching for your ankles. Hold on for a count of five and exhale while returning to the relaxed state. The first few days won’t be easy, as your hands may not be able to reach your ankles. But don’t give up just yet, as the spine benefits from every effort made, while practicing this pose. Once you have mastered this pose you can increase the difficulty level by trying to hold on to opposite ankles.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge pose

This is a slightly complicated pose, and should be done under the supervision of an experienced yoga instructor. Lie on your back with your arms parallel to your body, with an inhale lift your hips, by raising your thighs and resting your feet parallel to each other and on the ground. Your back, hips and thighs should be in the air, while the rest of the body remains supported by the head, neck, ankle ward stretched hands and the feet that are on the ground.

These poses when done with an entire yoga routine will not only help straighten your spinal chord, but will also make it firm and strong.