Top 5 Yoga Stretches for the Spine

The kind of Sukoon you get after stretching your body in the morning cannot be put into words. Do you know why you feel so relaxed after stretching? That’s because your muscles relax and the blood flow rejuvenates them super fast. But that’s not all that a full stretch does for your body. It can help in muscle development and even weight loss.

And it goes without saying that your spine needs all the TLC you can give it! Your spine literally holds your entire body upright, is part of the central nervous system, and is responsible for all bodily functions. To a large extent, your overall health also depends on how strong your spine is.

In our daily lives, we tend to forget to take our spine through its full range of motion, and as a result, the spine becomes stiffer and loses its fluidity.

There are 5 main movements that the spine performs

• Flexion, rounds the spine forward
• Extension, rounds the spine backwards
• Rotation, twists the spine
• Side Bend/Side Bend (sit in sukhasana, both right hands up and side bed to the right and hole and switch to the left or Trikonasana)
• Axial extension, vertically decompresses and lengthens the spine

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Yoga Expert Samiksha Shetty Recommends These 5 Spine Stretches Your Back Needs

Tiger breathing, also known as cat and cow pose

With slow synchronized breathing, this asana helps relieve the muscles of the spine, back, and neck by creating mobility in the spine.

  • Start with your hands and knees on the floor. Keep your palms shoulder-width apart with your wrist just below your shoulders, and keep your knees hip-width apart.
  • Start by keeping your spine in a neutral position.
  • Inhale, roll your shoulder blades, lift your head back, and arch your back.
  • Exhale, round your back by pulling your navel toward your spine. Tuck your chin toward your chest. Continue this flowing movement and connect your breath to each movement. Repeat this for 10 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana

“I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. This asana helps relax the entire body. It strengthens the arms and shoulders, lengthens the spine, calves and hamstrings, and energizes the entire body by bringing blood flow to the brain,” says Samiksha Shetty.

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  • Start on the floor by placing your hands and knees down. Stretch your legs by lifting your knees off the ground and pushing your heels down as far as you can.
  • Extend your spine away from the floor with the palms of your hands.
    Stay here for 5 to 9 breaths.

Parivarta Trikonasana stretch, also known as Revolved Triangle Breathing

This asana is good for the waist, spine, and abdominal organs and keeps the reproductive organs healthy.

  • Start by standing up and place your feet 3 to 4 feet apart. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend forward from the waist. Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • On the next exhale, turn your entire upper body to the right from the waist, touching your right ankle with your left hand. Stretch your right arm up in line with your shoulder without overextending your arm. Inhale as you bring your hands to the center and as you exhale, rotate to the left side.
  • The movement must be continuous and fluid. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side. Focus on being in full control of your movement and breathing.
    Variation: If you can’t reach your foot, place your hands between both feet and twist from there.

Cobra Pose, also known as Bhujangasana

“Bhujangasana, one of the most used poses in yoga, is essential for opening the heart and lungs. Aside from this, when you lift your body off the floor while inhaling while using your abdominal and back muscles, this strengthens your spine, relieves any sciatic nerve pain, and stretches your hip joint,” suggests Samiksha Shetty.

cobra poseStretch your spine to the T with the stretches. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Begin by lying on your stomach with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands under your shoulders on the floor as you tuck your elbows in toward your ribs.
  • On an inhalation, lift your head, chest, and abdomen without lifting your navel off the ground. Keep equal pressure on both palms.
  • Exhale: Slowly release your breath as you gently lower your forehead, chest, and abdomen to the floor.
  • Move your body in sync with your breath and repeat this movement for a few breaths.

Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as Spinal Twist

Regular practice of this asana improves pelvic and waist circulation. It also helps relieve any stiffness and improves the flexibility of the spine.

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and your spine straight. Bend both legs at the knees. Place your left heel under your right hip and bring your right leg over your left knee, placing your right foot on the left side of your left knee.
  • Inhale, contracting the abdomen and straightening the spine. Exhale with twist to the right. Place your right hand behind you on the floor for support and place your left hand on your right leg, aligning your armpit with your knee, and try to hold onto your right foot.
  • Look over your right shoulder. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. With each exhalation, try to go deeper. If this is difficult, try starting with a basic seated twist.
  • Sit in Sukhasana, hook your right hand over your left knee and twist to the left. Hold a few breaths. Then repeat with your left hand.

So ladies, stretch your spine and get your health back on track without any medical intervention.

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