It’s the spine that distinguishes humans from other animals. It gives us structural support, protects our central nerves, and enables movement. Naturally, spine health is crucial, but few of us are paying attention. Many hours of sitting can compromise the fitness of our spine, but a selection of yogasanas can help, says Sheetal Tewari, yoga therapist, yoga and meditation teacher, and sound healer, as she demonstrates them specially for Thrive Global India.
1. Baddha Konasana
How To Do It: Hinge your legs at the knees, stretch your thighs with care, and now, join the soles of your feet. Keep your body erect and gaze in front. Hold this asana before you return to sitting position.
Benefits: This asana increases blood circulation around your body, especially the spine. It’s also beneficial for women who suffer from menstrual cramps.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana
How To Do It: Start by crouching on your four limbs, now lift your hips and straighten your elbows and legs such that you make an inverted V. This asana is also popularly called the downward-facing dog pose.
Benefits: Part of the sun salutations or the surya namaskar, this asana has multiple benefits. Apart from increasing blood circulation and being good for the spine, it can strengthen your abdominal muscles and help improve digestion.
3. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
How To Do It: From your initial position of the Adomukha svanasana, raise your right leg off the ground. But only try to take it as high it will go.
Benefits: This asana has numerous benefits. Not only does it elongate your spine—so essential for your spine health, it also improves core strength and stability while stretching and strengthening your arms, legs and hamstrings.
4. Utthita Parsvakonasana
How To Do It: Multiple muscles of your body are used in this asana. Spread your legs wide apart and then stretch your arms sideways. Bend one knee to a right angle and place one hand on the floor just behind the foot. Stretch the other arm in line with the body, above the ear.
Benefits: This asana stretches your legs, arms, knees, ankles along with your spine and waist. It’s especially good for your lower back as well as abdominal organs. A sustained practise of this asana can also help increase stamina.
If you’ve managed to do the previous four asanas comfortably, it’s time to challenge yourself with the bakasana. The focus here is to round your back and contract your torso.
How To Do It: From the downward dog pose, spread your fingers. Then, place your knees close to your arms. Use your core strength to lift your hips and feet in the air. Keep them lifted. Try to hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits: While the bakasana can be trusted to provide a variety of benefits from strengthening your arms, spine, to even your abdominal organs, perhaps its biggest advantage remains the fact that it builds endurance and forces you to be calm when half your body is lifted in the air.
(This is the second article in the two-part series. You can read the first article here.)
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