A healthy spine is an often overlooked yet essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Approximately 80-90% of the population suffer from spinal pain at some point, which can have a major impact on one’s well being, both physically and mentally. In addition to avoiding direct physical back pain, keeping the spine in great condition is vital to the overall functioning and health of your mind, body and spirit.
To better understand the vital role of the spine to overall health it’s helpful to first understand some basics about the spine. The spine is made up of a series of bones stacked on top of each other that houses and protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a column of nerve fibers that branch off into the rest of the body responsible for sending and receiving messages from the brain. It is through the spinal cord and its branching nerves that the brain influences the rest of the body, controlling movement and organ function.
In simpler terms, think of your nerve fibers like cables running from your computer. What happens if one of the cables is destroyed or unplugged? It affects the whole system, doesn’t it?
So what do we do about it? The key to maintaining a healthy spine is flexibility.
Yogi Bhajan said, “The flexible spine holds your entire nervous system.” Yogis often say one’s age is determined by the flexibility of their spine. Excessive tightness in the spine can impede normal movement and muscles weaken when movement is limited. This can lead to stiffness, poor posture, back problems, movement limitations, risk for injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and many other health complications.
Kundalini Yoga provides exercises that can keep our spine flexible, help us maintain a healthy back, and keep us young! These exercises will also decompress spine and increase the circulation of spinal fluid, which helps to ease tension in the surrounding muscles.
Here are a few great kriyas focusing specifically on Spine Flexiblity:
Exercise Set for Maintaining a Flexible Spine ~ Relax & Renew by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
Kundalini Yoga for Flexibility and the Spine ~ Kundalini Yoga: Sadhana Guidelines, 2nd Edition by Gurucharan S. Khalsa
Heal Your Back Now ~ The Art, Science & Application of Kundalini Yoga, by Nirvair Singh Khalsa
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