Your spine is the centre for everything you do. It is your support. It gives you strength. When we have a healthy spine, we move easier, we breathe easier, we even digest our food better. Spinal health is more than just eliminating a sore back. Spinal health is about caring for the brain, spine and nervous system. When you have a healthy spine everything just works better.
The Role of a Spine
- It holds your body together
- Provides protection for your vital organs: particularly the brain
- Allows you to move your arms and legs
- Centre of your nervous system
Are you Guilty of Spinal Neglect?
How do you take care of your spine? Do you sit up straight? Do you wear comfortable, protective shoes? Does your place of rest promote spinal health? Are you conscious of the needs of your spine? Or do you only become aware of them when you are in pain?
Whenever I begin to think about my spine, my posture naturally shifts. Suddenly I’m sitting straighter and I notice that my breathing becomes smoother. Those moments are excellent reminders of what I should be doing on a regular basis. My body is often in awkward positions, slouching over my laptop, kneeling on the floor with my children, carrying heavy bags (or children) and every once and a while my body speaks up.
Perhaps you have started to get spasms in your back? Maybe it’s your wrist that is in agony, forcing you to take a few days off of work. These are all ways that our spine could be communicating that it is being neglected.
Our spine is probably the most overworked and least taken care of part of our body. When we think of taking care of our spine, our first thought might be “Stand up straight.” And yes, proper alignment is a portion of spinal health. However, it is just a small portion.
How yoga takes care of our spine?
Proper posture is just one way we can encourage and sustain a healthy spine. Yoga is about becoming aware of your body’s needs. It teaches you to slow down and pay attention. When we do this, we become aware of what postures strengthen our body and what causes more pain. Performing a daily check in is a perfect way to stay connected to the needs of our body and our spine.
Almost all of yoga’s asana’s can help strengthen and support your spine. When you’re focusing on spinal health or health in general: be present in the moment. Pay attention to how each of the asana’s feel in your body. Do you notice any differences? What is your body trying to tell you today?
In a typical hatha yoga session, you will complete several asana’s (poses) that will focus on strengthening your core, increasing your spine’s flexibility and maintaining a nicely aligned vertical posture. When put together, all these postures and poses will not only help heal your spine but prevent any further injury.
Brahma Danda: The walking stick of God
Ancient yogi’s believed that when we sit in a vertical posture, we align our nervous system with the universe’s energy. The spine was seen as the walking stick of God: Brahama Danda.
Today yogi’s recognize the need to respect our spine. It is our life force. It connects all of our movement and ensures that we function with energy and strength . Yoga will help teach you to pay attention to your particular body’s needs. Enjoy the process and may your spine remain healthy, supple and a pillar of strength.