The spine is a delicate and yet extremely important axis that supports the whole body. It is the first structure that is formed in a child’s body and consequently all the other limbs, the arms, legs and hips, derive from it. If the movements you do during the day originate from the spine, then the spine remains supple.
The following asanas help to extend the space between the vertebrae, relieving stress to the spinal cord accumulated throughout the days activities.
When the spine is supple each breath provides a wave of movement through the spine undulating and extending without the slightest effort. Practicing these asanas regularly will provide a healthy supple body and mind.
Lie prone – on your belly. Rest your forehead at the hairline on the floor, arms resting comfortably above your head. Close your eyes and let your whole body relax into the floor. Let your heels turn out and let your legs soften outwards. Observe your breath, breathing deeply, pressing your belly down into the floor. With each exhalation allow your body to relax deeper into the floor. Breathe softly and evenly.
Reduces stress and tension, promotes sleep, regulates blood pressure and reduces anxiety.
Inhale, lengthening the back of your neck, observe your breath. Begin to contract your buttocks until you feel your legs lengthening and feet rotating inwards. Squeeze your buttocks and thighs and feel your legs beginning to lift off the floor. Keep your legs straight and close together. With each breath visualise your legs lengthening away from your body as your legs lift, breathing evenly, hold for as long as is comfortable.
Release slowly and turn your head to rest on the side.
Repeat slowly and evenly.
Improves blood circulation, digestion and helps to relieve constipation. Helps to tone thighs, hips, waist, abdomen and the posterior. This yoga pose benefits women through its effect on the ovaries and uterus, helping to correct disorders of these organs.
Draw your forehead to rest at your hairline while lengthening the cervical vertebrae. Draw your arms a little wider opening the chest and sternum. Observe your breath, on your next inhalation keeping your gaze at the level of the floor raise your upper body letting your arms lift up gently, keep your feet anchored to the floor. On each inhalation feel the upper body lift carried upon the breath and on each exhalation release slightly. Feel your breath supporting you, nourishing you.
Benefits: This posture activates the pancreas, liver, abdomen, pelvis and the entire lower part of the body. Increases blood supply to the spine and the entire upper area and provides flexibility to the upper back region. It also provides relief from indigestion, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal disorders, wind troubles, constipation and acidity.
Repeat the Locust, this time as you inhale draw your arms slightly inwards to bring your forearms in alignment with your shoulders. Anchor down through the elbows,spread your fingers, open the sternum, release your shoulders downwards. Contract the thighs and buttocks, press your pubic bone to the floor Let your gaze be soft, imagine you are looking from the back of your head. With each inhalation allow the sternum to rise upwards open and expansive, consciously release tension from your shoulders, feel the spine continuing to lengthen.
To release exhale and slowly, lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn your head to one side and rest.
Opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Strengthens the spine, stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. Firms the buttocks, stimulates abdominal organs and helps to relieve stress. Aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.
Inhale; turn your head to rest on the right hand side. Draw your right knee upwards along the floor to rest comfortably at your side. Readjust your head to lengthen your neck. Observe your breath; with each inhalation feel your belly pressing gently into the floor and on each exhalation release any tension you may be holding onto in the pelvis. Invite the hips to begin to lower to the floor.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Deeply restorative. Stretches the hips, groin and insides of the thighs. Opens the hips. Abdominal organs massaged. Stimulates parasympathetic breathing, calms the nervous system. Assists with menstrual or menopausal discomfort.
© Copyright 2010 Megan Ward