We all know that the spine is a critical part of the human body and that it is responsible for many important functions. However, it is also delicate and can be easily, and sometimes quite seriously, damaged. Because it is estimated that just about all of us will experience some sort of problem with their back and spine at some point, it is important that we take good care of our spine, and yoga is one of the many ways this can be achieved.
On the other hand there are a number of specific health conditions that indicate that yoga should be avoided, so if you are unsure, ask your doctor. Some of the poses in yoga may exacerbate existing spine injuries, so care must be taken when beginning to practice yoga.
If you are enrolled in a class, it's also recommended that you speak to your yoga teacher who may be knowledgeable about such things; they can then ensure you are getting the most from your yoga practice without putting your health at risk.
Importance Of Back & Spine Health
When we do not look after our spine, we are likely to develop conditions such as arthritis, a slipped disc, pinched nerves, and many others. The most common disorder that health professionals treat is general lower back pain. Often this arises from not looking after spine health sufficiently, and it can be debilitating and particularly painful.
The spine is attached to many different muscle groups and is therefore critical for all types of movements. If we damage our spine, we can feel the effects in a very wide-ranging number of ways.
The Magic Of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that has been shown to have numerous benefits, both physically, mentally and spiritually. The spine is no different, and can be hugely helped by regular yoga practice. Although everyone is different, yoga is likely to be highly beneficial for a large number of people.
Yoga consists of a mix of breathing techniques, exercises, and poses. These activities have been shown to help back pain by increasing inner strength, flexibility, and reducing tension.
The breathing techniques that yoga advocates have also been shown to reduce pain levels. They encourage a calm and relaxed state, with a focus on breathing techniques. This relaxation can help take the focus away from the pain and also reduce any depression or anxiety that comes with experiencing high levels of pain.
How Yoga Benefits Spine Health
Certain types of yoga, particularly Hatha yoga, incorporate postures and stretches that can benefit the spine specifically. By holding these positions, you are exercising and using the muscle groups that are attached to your spine. This strengthens the muscles and ultimately causes less pressure and weight to be placed on your spine. These positions can also strengthen the abdominal muscles as well as those found in your back; when both sets of muscles are used effectively and in good shape, back problems are likely to be significantly less. The stretching and holding positions encourage rest and relaxation in the important muscle groups, including those attached to the spine.
By alternating the yoga poses and exercises you practice, you are rotating the muscles that are working and those that are relaxing. By only focusing on one muscle group or area of your spine you will find that particular area gets injured more frequently, and other muscles are under-exercised
Stretching as part of a yoga routine also encourages the blood and oxygen flows through your body. This will be highly beneficial to spinal health as it encourages toxins to be drawn away from these areas and ultimately out of the body.
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