If, as the old adage goes, “You are what you eat,” then surely “you are as young as your spine is.” A spine that is both supple and strong is a great blessing in disguise. From a practical standpoint, maintaining spinal health enables you the freedom to perform with grace and ease the most ordinary of everyday tasks.
These range from tying your shoes and vacuuming the carpet to mowing grass or planting flowers in your garden. A healthy spine means better posture, better breathing, increased energy, and improved body health in later years.
The best way to insure that your spine stays young as you get older, is by taking up yoga. This system of simple stretching exercises combined with quiet contemplation coffers you a wise repertoire of postures-from beginning to advanced-to keep your spine limber, strong and youthful.
A balanced-to keep your spine limber, strong and youthful. A balanced practice includes forward bends, back bends, sideways stretches, and twists. One basic posture that addresses the side-to-side movements of the spine is an easy standing stretch known in yoga tradition as Ardha Chandrasana or the Half Moon Pose.
The pose is relatively simple in terms of its mechanics. At the same time, in addition to working the spine, it can offer you a number of benefits. Raising the arms over your head encourages flexibility of the shoulder joints and tones the muscles of the arm. The lateral stretch tends to strengthen the overall musculature of the torso, including the abdominals. The overall pose greatly benefits the kidneys, liver, spleen, and digestive system.
The properly begin this simple exercise, you must first clear your mind of all anxiety and tension. Do this in a basic standing position with both feet together and arms at your sides. Imagine yourself standing by the seashore, near a lake, or beside a babbling mountain brook. Your stance should feel balanced and relaxed within five minutes.
Now slowly open your eyes and focus your gaze on one point at eye level or slightly above it. Contract your quads, gently firm up the buttocks, and then draw the abdominal area in and up. The shoulders down and the chest lifted. Breathe deeply, bringing awareness to your entire body. Commit your whole tabernacle to this posture.
Inhale as you begin to rotate your palms out and bring your arms from your sides to well above your head. Interlace your fingers, pointing upward and crossing one thumb over the other. Take another couple of breaths as you extend through your arms, straightening your elbows as firmly as you can. Be sure to keep the arms in the same place as your body. The throat and neck should remain relaxed.