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Stretch and strengthen your spine with these poses.

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These simple yoga asanas will help to strengthen your back and reduce pain.

The spinal cord is essentially responsible for keeping your whole body together and erect. However, thanks to the sedentary lifestyle that has become the norm in today’s world, most of us are dealing with back pain, slouched shoulders, and a weak spine.

Practicing yoga daily can really help you overcome these common issues. Not only will it help to strengthen your back and improve flexibility, it can also ease stress and anxiety levels and stimulate better blood circulation. Start with the poses below, and your spine will surely thank you!

By Shirin Mehdi

 

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Sit erect with your legs stretched out. Make sure that your feet are placed together and your spine is absolutely erect. Now bend your left leg such that the heel of the left foot lies next to the right hip. Then, place the right leg next to the left knee by taking it over the knee. Twist your waist, neck, and shoulders towards the right, and set your gaze over your right shoulder. Make sure your spine is erect. Place the right hand behind you, and the left hand on the right knee. Hold the pose for a few seconds, about 30 to 60 as you breathe slowly, yet deeply. Exhale and release the right hand, and then the waist, chest, and finally the neck. Relax as you sit straight. Repeat the same steps on the other side. Then, exhale and come back to the front.

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Stand on four limbs, such that your body forms a table-like structure. Exhale, and gently lift your hips and straighten your elbows and knees. You need to ensure your body forms an inverted ‘V’. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders, and your feet in line with your hips. Make sure that your toes point outwards. Now, press your hands into the ground and lengthen your neck. Your ears should touch your inner arms, and you should turn your gaze to your navel. Hold for a few seconds, and then, bend your knees and return to the table position.

 

Trikonasana

Stand upright and place your legs about three and a half to four feet apart. Make sure your right foot is placed outside at 90 degrees and the left foot is placed in at 15 degrees. Align the center of your right heel with the center of the arch of the left foot. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, bend your body to the right from below your hips, ensuring your waist is straight. Lift your left hand up, and let your right hand touch the ground. Both your arms should form a straight line. Depending on the level of comfort, rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or outside the right foot on the floor. Your left arm should be stretched out towards the ceiling, and in line with the top of your shoulder. Stretch to the fullest, and focus on stabilizing your body. Take deep, long breaths. With every exhalation, try and relax your body more. Inhale and come up. Drop your arms to your side and straighten your feet. Repeat the same using the left leg.

 

Purvottanasana

Begin by placing your hands a little behind your hips, making sure your fingertips are pointing towards your feet. Gently fold your knees, placing your feet hip distance apart on the floor. Exhale. Push your hands and feet on the floor to lift your hips such that they are on the same level as your shoulders. Straighten your arms. Involve the core muscles while you slowly straighten each leg and point your toes outward. Lift your hips as high as your can. Your legs must be strong, and your glutes firm. Roll your shoulders behind you, and lift up your chest. Let your head hang back, but be careful not to injure your neck. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, and then release the pose.

 

Pawanmuktasana

Lie flat on your back on a smooth surface, ensuring that your feet are together, and your arms are placed beside your body. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, bring your knees towards your chest, and press your thighs on your abdomen. Clasp your hands around your legs as if you are hugging your knees. Lift your head and chest off the floor. Touch your chin, and eventually, your nose to your knee. Hold the asana while you breathe normally. Every time you exhale, make sure you tighten the grip of the hands on the knee and increase the pressure on your chest. Every time you inhale, ensure that you loosen the grip. Exhale and release the pose after you rock and roll from side to side about three to five times. Relax.

 

Setu Bandhasana

Begin the asana by lying flat on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Make sure that your ankles and knees are placed in a straight line. Let your arms rest beside your body, with your palms facing downwards. Inhale, and lift your back ( lower, upper, and middle), off the floor. Roll in your shoulders, and make sure your chin touches your chest without you having to move it. Let your shoulders, feet, and arms support your weight. Firm up your buttocks as you tighten them. Make sure your thighs are parallel to each other and the floor. Interlace your fingers and push your hands harder to the ground, to lift your torso higher. Hold the posture for at least a minute. Breathe slowly and deeply. Exhale and release the pose.

Read the full article here.

All images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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