Millions of people complain about back and neck pain as a result of cell phone and computer usage, heavy backpacks, and an array of physical activities that compromise the health of spine. Although people complain, many often neglect the discomfort and spend years pushing through the pain.
The yoga postures listed below are a few recommends to increase mobility and improve overall spinal stability.
1. Seated Spinal Twist
This pose is great for improving spinal flexibility, supporting digestion, increasing blood flow to the vital organs, and stretching the neck when the gaze shifts over the shoulder.
How to: From a seated position, extend the right leg straight and cross the left leg over the right placing the left foot on the floor next to the right thigh. Keep the left knee hugging into your chest. On the exhale, twist into the bent knee. Place the left hand behind you on the floor near the sacrum. Use the right arm to hold the left leg gently in place or side it outside the left leg. Repeat to the other side.
2. Cat and Cow
Cat and Cow is the perfect posture for increasing spinal flexibility and shoulder mobility.
How to: Start on your hands and knees, knees under hips and wrist aligned under the shoulders. As you inhale, slowly lift your chest, chin, and roll your shoulders back and away from your ears. On the exhale, round the back dropping the chin towards the chest and pressing the palms mindfully into the floor. Repeat this several times following the breath.
3. Thread the Needle
This is another simple twist for the spine that stimulates digestion and opens the shoulders, back and neck.
How to: From the same position as Cat and Cow, slide your right arm under the body extending it to the left side. Softly release the right shoulder and ear to the floor. Be aware of your hips and keep them balanced with one another. If it feels okay, lift the left arm to the ceiling or place the left hand on the right hip for a bind.
4. Baby Cobra
Baby Cobra is a lovely energizing posture that opens the chest, shoulders, spine, abs, and strengthens the neck.
How to: From the belly, draw palms alongside the top of the ribcage. Point the toes directly behind you. Inhale and press into the hands and lift the chest. Keep the elbows hugging the body and thighs on the floor. You can keep the belly on the floor as the belly button comes into the spine or lift the belly off the mat, shifting into King Cobra.
5. Bow Pose
Bow opens your chest, neck, back, and abs. As it energizes the body, it also stimulates the abdominal organs, relieves stress, improves metabolism, and supports healthy kidneys.
How to: Resting on your belly, bend your knees and take hold of the ankles or tops of your feet. On the inhale, press your feet/ankles into your hands as your chest naturally lifts. Breath and hold the posture.
Ease into these yoga poses, paying attention to areas of tightness and listening to your body for how far to go into the stretch. Make these poses a daily routine and forget about those pains in your back and neck.