A lot of movement that we do in our day to day lives, largely depend on a healthy spine. Whether it’s running, sitting or even just walking—the health of our spine is key to having a healthy body. Therefore, in this post we are going to focus on building strength on the muscles surrounding our spine known as the Erector Spinea. In order to build strength, muscles have to contract with more force than they are used to do in daily activities. Therefore, staying in these poses require the muscles to contract strongly, especially through backbends.
Here’s 5 postures that allow us to go deeper into our backbends and that will strengthen our back muscles for a healthy spine:
Low Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Lie prone to the floor, with legs and feet together. Bring your hands to the same line as your chest. Inhale and lift the head and chest up, keeping the elbows bent and without putting weight into the hands. Hold for several breaths and exhale to lower down.
Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Lying face down on the floor, bring your hands on each side of your ribs. Inhale, push down on the floor, straighten your arms and at the same time, lift your torso up. Do not rest on your shoulders. Keep your chest open. Don’t let the knees rest on the floor. Look straight ahead or tip the head back slightly, make sure not to to compress the back of the neck. Stay here for 5 breaths.
Locust Pose- Shalabasana
Lie down facing the floor, keeping your arms alongside your body. Keep the palms facing upwards and let your forehead rest on the ground. Keep your legs inwardly rotated by pointing the toes and having the big toes rotate towards each other. Inhale, lift your head, upper torso, arms and legs away from the floor while keeping the hands on the floor. Hold here for at least 5 breaths and exhale to lower down.
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Lie down on your stomach with your feet hips width distance apart and arms by your sides. Try to touch the big toes of your feet together. Bend your knees, grab your ankles. Inhale, push the feet into your hands and lift the chest up off the ground. Hold and breathe here for 5 breaths. Exhale and slowly release.
Bridge Pose – Setu Bandhasana
Lie down on your back to the floor. Bend your knees and bring the heels as close as you can to your sit bones. Inhale, press the inner edge of your feet and arms to the floor and lift the hips up, reaching the chest toward the spine. Engage the legs and buttocks, keeping the knees hips width distance apart. Keep the arms alongside your body with palms flat on the floor . Hold between 5 – 10 breaths.
Remember that we are lifting our bodies against the natural force of gravity, therefore we should move in and out of these backbends with our breath. Practice these postures with deep breaths, expanding the breath through our chests first and then moving the air down to our bellies. Hopefully these postures can get you on the path to having a healthy spine, body and life. <3