Keep your spine happy with this yoga sequence.
In order to practice yoga safely and effectively, it’s crucial to know how your spine works. It’s common for many yogis to find themselves with strained ligaments and muscles. This is because our bodies tend to compensate for weak muscle groups, putting excess weight on other areas.
A strong, healthy spine is the key to keeping this extra pressure off the weaker muscle groups so you can focus on strengthening your body as a whole, without the risk of injury. Here are 5 key yoga poses for a healthy, happy spine.
By Jessie Wren
1. Locust Pose
- Lie flat on your belly and interlace your fingers above your sacrum
- Straighten and engage the legs and lift them, along with your chest, off the yoga mat
- Press your belly button into the mat
- Gaze directly in front of you to keep the natural curve in your neck
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw them away from your ears
2. Upward Facing Dog
- Start on your stomach and plant your palms alongside your ribcage
- Press down evenly through the base of each finger and your entire palm
- Shoulders should stack directly above the wrists
- Lift your entire body so only your palms and the tops of your feet are on the mat
- Engage legs as much as possible to bring compression out of the lower spine
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together to find openness across your collarbones
- Relax your buttocks and engage your thighs
- Gaze straight ahead – not toward the ceiling – so your neck is a continuation of your spine
3. Floor Bow
- Starting on your belly, grab the outside of each ankle
- Kick and lift into your hands as you lengthen your chest toward the ceiling
- Draw the knees and feet toward each other so they are hip distance apart
- Draw your ankles in and keep your feet actively engaged
4. Camel Pose
- Start kneeling with knees hip-width distance apart
- Press your hands into your low back and press your hips forward
- Drop your head back as you shift your gaze towards the ceiling
- Two options: stay here for the gentler version, or if you want to go deeper and it’s available, reach down and grab onto your ankles
- Hold your head steady and avoid allowing it to fall all the way back
5. Wheel Pose
- Hands are shoulder-width distance apart, palms are flat, and fingers point toward the feet, which are hip-width apart
- Press down evenly through the four corners of each foot and make sure your shoulders are stacked above your wrists
- Press up into a wheel shape using your leg and bicep strength
- Push into your arms and legs simultaneously as you press up to prevent injury
- Continue to press and lift using your hamstring and glute strength and not dump the weight into your lower back (you don’t want to compress this area because it already has a natural inward curve)
Read the full article here.
All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.