A Healthy Spine

A Healthy Spine

Spine health is crucial to our overall health, especially as we age. It helps to support our structure and balance and helps us maintain good posture. One way to maintain a healthy spine is to move it in all possible directions on a daily basis. The spine moves in six different directions – flexion (forward fold), extension (backbend), twisting, and lateral flexion and extension (side bends). Side body mobility, or anatomically speaking, lateral flexion and extension, is an essential component of a well-rounded yoga practice and healthy spine. While physical side body mobilization is important, there are also energetic and emotional effects of asanas that involve this range of motion. Stretching (and compressing on the opposite side) is an important aspect of both yin and yang styles of yoga and should be included in both styles of yoga class. While yang styles of yoga are more dynamic and activating in nature, a 100 hour yin yoga training in Bali will teach you the importance of incorporating a more mobility based and passive yoga practice into your life.

Sequencing classes that involve mobilizing the spine in all six directions is a key component of class sequencing that you will learn on a yoga certification in Bali. When practicing yang styles of yoga such as vinyasa or hatha, side body movement can not only stretch the side body, but also strengthen it. Physically, yang side body activating poses such as half-moon, side planks, or standing half-moon help strengthen the muscles of our core, and even our outer hips. Stronger core and outer hip muscles help stabilize the spine and support our agility and overall flexibility. By strengthening these muscles and supporting our spine we are far less susceptible to injuries, and overall are more agile and mobile.

Physically, when the side body is stretched and mobilized, the rib cage is able to move more freely and easefully. This improves the functions of the lungs, allowing for deeper, more easeful, and efficient breathing. Increased range of motion for the lungs and breath can improve overall cardiovascular health and increase energy levels, as we are able to take in more prana, or energy, with each breath. When practicing side body mobility in a yin yoga practice, you mobilize not only the muscular structure, but the deeper connective tissue, or fascia. Asanas like bananasana are incredible for nourishing and elasticizing the fascia in the side body. Inner Yoga Training’s 100 hour yin yoga training in Bali provides thorough education about the importance of maintaining health fascia.

Emotionally and energetically, mobilizing the side body aids in releasing blocked flows of energy. This happens regardless of whether we are stretching the lateral body in a more passive yin-style practice or a dynamic vinyasa practice. As we stretch and release the side body physically, the simultaneous energetic and emotional effects may lead to an experience of emotional release. While emotional releases are not always comfortable, yoga gives us the tools to manage these occurrences and teaches us that the expression of emotions often leads to growth and expansion. Through releasing stuck or stagnant energy, a greater sense of ease in both body and mind is established, creating a sense of internal balance and center. According to both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine having smooth-flowing energy throughout the body helps to prevent disease.

Often after you have suffered an injury or are sitting at a desk all day, the muscles and connective tissue along the spine can contract and dry up. Incorporating yoga poses into your daily routine that move the spine in all six directions will help to release and hydrate them giving you more freedom of movement in your daily life and can even help free up the pelvis. A healthy spine should be both flexible and strong and erect enough to support good posture. Another reason to look after the spine is that it is connected to the central nervous system. Bad posture and stress may create problems not only in the spine but the nervous system leading to disease. A yoga teacher training in Bali is one of the best ways to learn in more detail the importance of the spine in our overall health and well-being and which yoga poses can help maintain its mobility and strength. It’s worth looking after considering how much it does for us.

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