(Photo Credit: Swati Singh)
Swati, you are a health coach and yoga teacher. You teach your clients about spinal health, can you tell us why is it important to keep it strong and healthy?
I believe in this ancient Yogi saying: “You are only as young and healthy as your spine is strong and supple”. The spine is a part of the central nervous system which is responsible for all of the body’s functions. Consequently, poor spinal health due to stress, lifestyle, and wrong posture can cause problems in the nervous system, decreasing your body’s function and causing problems such as headaches, weakness, stiffness and reduced flexibility. A strong and supple spine ensures you keep structural support to your body and helps you maintain an upright posture.
How does yoga help keep the spine supple?
Well, spinal nerves are mobile and dynamic. This is great news – as we flex, extend and twist the spine during our yoga practice we are actually nourishing and providing an ample amount of blood, and oxygen supply to the nerves.
Remember, the central nervous system – includes your brain and spinal cord which runs through and is protected by the vertebrae that constitute your spine. In simple words – Most of the nerves that carry information to and from various parts of your body extend out from your spinal cord. In yoga, when you ground, lengthen and then twist your spine, you subtly re-align your vertebrae, thus relieving unnecessary pressure on those nerves.
(Photo Credit: Swati Singh)
Are there any specific movements you would recommend targeting specifically the spine?
As a yoga practitioner and teacher, I can say that one of the best things a human being could do for their nervous system is to manipulate the spinal column in three planes of movement. So 6 directions of flexion, extension, lateral extension, right and left and twisting/revolving right and left. A short regular routine to stimulate your spine will keep you and your spine happy and young.
On the “energy level” – spinal health is also essential to keep your 7 chakras (energy vortex) balanced. Our chakras are energy centres that are sitting through the base of your spine to the crown of your head. The dormant energy Kundalini is located at the base of the spine and flows up through the spine. So any imbalance in chakras can lead to pain, stiffness, constant nagging pains etc.
How often do you recommend doing these spine exercises?
A yoga or a stretching routine of a few minutes every day is enough to keep your spine oiled, happy and supple. Here is a short video I made to show simple exercises to stretch your spine and maintain it in a good health, enjoy!
(video credits: The Gup Cup)
If you want to know more about Swati and her services, visit her website here, and you can also follow her on Instagram at @wellnesswithswati. You might be interested to read our article on How to balance Yin and Yang energy. Check out more tips on wellness in the JOURNAL section of our website.