Yoga positions for a flexible spine offer ways to increase your flexibility with gentle stretching exercises that are easy on your muscles. Yoga is part of a fitness strategy called mind-body fitness. Yoga challenges you to use your mind and rhythmic breath to help you get into its various poses for a complete physical and mental workout.
Hatha yoga is the most popular and well known of the six branches of yoga, with many styles and variations. In this branch of yoga, you will find several yoga positions for a flexible spine.
If You Are Just Beginning Yoga
Yoga positions are classified as beginning or advanced, depending upon the strength and the flexibility required for achieving the pose. As a beginner, remember to listen to your body. Do not force your body to stretch if you feel uncomfortable or painful. While you can find free yoga exercises online, beginners may benefit from class instruction where an instructor can help you with proper form.
Yoga Positions for a Flexible Spine
Yoga positions can be grouped by whether you are seated, standing, or doing forward bends. You will find yoga positions for a flexible spine in several of these groups.
For the beginner, seated poses may seem the least threatening. They all benefit your core muscles, which is an important exercise concept. For best spine flexibility, you want to concentrate on both back and core exercises. Remember, the goal of yoga is balance.
A refreshing pose with a comfortable twist is Seated Twist. You begin seated on your mat with your legs out in front of you. Bending your knees, sweep your legs to the left side of your body so that your weight is on your right side. Place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind you. Exhale as you twist your upper torso to the right. You should feel a comfortable stretch that will open your chest cavity and stimulate your upper spine. Hold the pose for few seconds as you enjoy the stretch. Repeat with the opposite side.
Cat Pose is an easy, beginner pose that will stretch your spine and stimulate your belly organs. Get down on your hands and knees. Make sure that your knees are under your hips and your hands in line with your shoulders. In this exercise, you will create a rhythmic movement using your breath as your guide.
Exhale and at the same time, round your spine upwards. Then, inhale and return to your starting position. This is a great pose for relieving stress in your spine and neck. The rhythmic movement helps you experience mind-body fitness, making you conscious of your breath aiding your practice.
The Downward Dog pose is a classic yoga pose that appears deceptively easy. Like other spine poses, it works both your back muscles and core while stretching the muscles in the back of your legs. This is a good strategy, to challenge and strengthen both sides of your body equally.Begin on your hands and knees like the Cat Pose. Your hands should be flat on the mat, directly below your shoulders. Curl your toes under and push yourself up into a triangle-like position with your feet flat on the floor. Ideally, your heels should be touching the mat. If not, place your hands on yoga bricks. Use your abdominal muscles to steady your body. Rely on your rhythmic breathing to maintain your focus despite the difficulty of the pose.
This pose will help you achieve spinal flexibility as you work both sides of your body. It will also help prevent osteoporosis by working your back.
Cobra Pose is a nice accompaniment to Downward Dog as it flexes your body in an opposing fashion. Lay face down on your mat, your legs stretched out behind you with your hands at your shoulders, elbows bent. As you inhale, push your upper body slowly off of the mat, keeping your pelvis and legs on the floor. Place your elbows close to your body. Raise your body only as much as is comfortable. Experience the pose for a few seconds, breathing rhythmically. Exhale as you slowly lower your body back down to the mat.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga exercises will provide a gentle way to increase your flexibility as you focus on your posture and balance by strengthening your core muscles. Yoga's emphasis on creating the mind-body connection will help you relieve stress and improve your practice by helping you to relax.