Yoga Techniques for a Strong Spine, Yoga to decompress Spine
Yoga for Spine
Because of the spine our body works as an antigravity machine. The spine is a shaft consisting of 33 interlocking vertebrae with a hollow center through which runs the “ cable of life” the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the extension of the brain into the vertebral column, as brain delegates a lot of its functions to it. Nerves emerge from the spinal cord at the points where the vertebrae interlock into each other, leaving a space in between, for these nerves to radiate out of the vertebral column and into the farthest edges of the human body.
The side profile of a spine constitutes three light curves joining together lengthwise into the shape of the letter S. This shape contributes to the flexibility of the back. The spine offers support , flexibility to the back along with acting as a shock absorber as and when necessitated. Any change in the natural curvature of the spine passes on undue stress to the related joints causing their wear and tear in the long run. Out of the 33 vertebrae comprising the spine first 7 ( C1 – C7 ) are known as Cervical vertebrae, next 12 ( T1 – T12) are known as Thoracic vertebrae , five vertebrae below that ( L1-L5) are known as Lumbar vertebrae, and the remaining 9 fusing into the remnant of the tail bone like structure known as the Sacral vertebrae.
Discs are the circular pad like structures placed between the adjacent surfaces of two interlocking vertebrae as a cushions for the transmission for the weight across the length of the spine.
Yoga for a healthy spine
Since ancient times yogis have spoken about strengthening the nervous system by physically exercising the body. They had always believed that the increased use of a group of muscles in different combinations, especially in relation to the internal organs, leads to an increase in the size and the efficiency of the controlling nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain. The yoga exercises for an erect spine are in fact effort cum endurance exercises that bring about the maximum contractibility of the muscular system of the spine raising its tone and overall efficiency. The efficiency so achieved by regularly performing the yoga asanas for a strong and flexible spine is copied to the functioning of the organs on which the nerves which branch from the spinal cord end upon.
Thus by strengthening the spinal muscles, spine acts as the brain for the involuntary functions of the body, all the involuntary organ functions can be stimulated at will. The main aim of Yoga for spinal cord is to lengthen, create space between the adjoining vertebrae, the spinal column which slips into compression due to gravity tirelessly working on it all the time, the second purpose of the yoga for spinal cord is to strengthen the musculature which supports the vertebral column against the force of gravity and during the course of different body movements.
Yoga for spinal cord pain can relieve any discomfort associated with conditions like the herniated discs, or scoliosis just by increasing the space between the adjoining vertebrae which may be over compressed into each other due to various postural and carriage issues. This space is created by these yoga techniques as they stretch the spine axially, or along its length. Yoga for spine flexibility aids by flexing the spine, flexion of the spine happens when it bends towards the legs. All the forward bending yoga asanas for a strong and flexible spine put the spine in flexion. Care must be taken that in all the forward bending asanas the spine is first lengthened and then flexed towards the legs. In case of tight hamstrings or stiff back muscles the knees must be bent and the pelvis must be tilted forward when flexing the spine towards the length of the legs.
Another of the natural movements is the extension of the spine. Extension means the spine is lengthened upwards and then bent back, this pushes the rib cage forward which strengthens muscles of the entire spine, the chest and the shoulders. Yoga poses for spine alignment are designed to first adequately lengthen the spine and then extend backwards from the upper back region to avoid any discomfort which may arise due to the compression in the lower back region in case the extension of the spine begins in the lower back region.
Lateral extension, or bending on the sides is another movement of the spine which opens up the rib cage and enhances the quality of breathing in the practitioner. As in extension, even in lateral extension there is a danger of creating compression in the lower back if the side bend is executed without first extending the spine axially. Twisting of the spine is known as the axial rotation of the spine. Yoga for spinal flexibility has a set of yoga asanas known as twists, these asanas rotate the spine on its axis which help lubricate the joints between the interlocking vertebrae along with increasing the range of motion of the spine. Spinal twists are very effective in re-aligning a misaligned spine as they loosens up the articulations of the spine, and adjusts any subluxations of the vertebrae. This relieves the spinal nerves of any stress due to any postural defects.
Yoga asanas for a strong and flexible spine