These days it isn’t all that hard to go slouching, we’re always behind the computer, we’re carrying heavy things or we are just some natural slouchers. During the years our spine has a lot to endure, meaning that you might experience some back issues at some point. Therefore, it’s good to have a healthy spine and what better way to achieve this by doing some yoga?!
In this article I’ll talk about a couple of yoga poses that you can easily do just on your own, even outside of your yoga practice. Of course, I’ll always recommend doing a full yoga routine to tackle more than just your spine. However, these exercises are great when you don’t have a lot of time. And don’t forget to stick around all the way until the end as there is one position that is really great to stop your slouching!
Asanas for a Healthy Spine
The first one is probably the easiest of them all and if you are doing yoga already, you’ve done this one many times before already! The forward fold is quite amazing to let gravity just do its thing. With the forward bend you’ll make sure that your vertebrae get a good stretch. This will create some space between them and relieve them of the pressure they’re always having.
And on top of that, it’s an easy one to do with a lot of different options!
Instructions for this asana are really easy. You basically put your legs hip-width apart from each other, and you bend forward with your hands touching the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, don’t stress too much about it. Although there is a little yoga hack as well that I will explain right away!
This thing I’m going to tell you here isn’t just a normal hack, it’s actually a tip to make sure that you don’t put a lot of stress on your hamstrings. People who have short hammies (that’s what we’d like to call them in the yoga world, I think) can bend their knees a little to relieve the pressure on your hamstrings. Not just that, but this way it’s also easier for you to touch the floor.
So if you reaaaaaally want to touch the ground with your hands, this nifty little trick will do!
Option 1: Ragdoll
If you don’t like it that you can’t touch the floor at all, or you’d just like gravity to do its work even more, you can go for this option. This one is called ragdoll and you just need to put your arms together, grasping one elbow with the other hand and vice versa. Maybe it’s easier to see on the picture, just if my explanation doesn’t make any sense at all.
Within this position you can also decide to sway a bit, giving your spine a little massage. What you have to do is just to sway from left til right and back and forth. What I generally like to do is make a bit of an 8 figure while doing this. Just don’t do it too fast or you might get dizzy, and then you’ll probably need to add some poses for your digestion ;).
Option 2: Moving your hands side to side
This one is for those who are able to put their hands on the floor. And with this, I mean all the way up until the palm of your hand. But don’t worry, my little trick above here also applies to this option.
When you are bending forward and you reach the floor with your hands, you can walk from side to side with your hands. If you can, walk all the way up to your left foot with both hands, and after that, to the right with both hands again.
Option 3: Shoulder opener
This one is a bit for the advanced yogis among is, and it’s better if you do this pose if you are doing a whole routine. Just to make sure that you are fully warmed up. This asana is to open up your shoulders and for this you really need to make sure that your shoulders had a proper warming up.
To do this one, clasp your hands together behind your back. You’ll already start to feel your shoulders going towards each other. After that, bend forward, while your hands are moving up and then to the front of your body. Try within this position to make sure that you let gravity do its thing again. Let your arms just hang down and make sure that you don’t loosen your grip.
But as I said, it’s better to have a bit of experience when you are doing this option.
Seated Poses for the Spine
We all know that yoga begins with a little meditation. Just to make sure that you align your breath correctly. And that begins with a healthy spine. It’s not always that easy to sit with a straight spine and might even cause a bit of comfort. With these tips, however, you can correct your spine and make sure that you don’t start slouching when you are seated.
Fire Log (Agnistambhasana)
This one is a great one when you’d also like a good hip opener. Most people can do this asana, although I wouldn’t recommend it to people who have issues with their knees and hips. But don’t worry, we still have another pose for you guys!
For this position you have to make sure that your one leg is parallel with the mat and on top of that you put your other leg. Don’t worry, you’ll find a picture of it down here. You’ll see that within this position it’s kind of hard to slouch as your legs will prevent you a little from bending forward.
What’s nice about this position is that you are creating a little bowl with your lower leg, making it easy for your upper foot to fit in. Which is quite comfortable I have to say.
Just don’t forget to switch sides as well as you have to make sure that both hips are getting a little stretch, otherwise you might get another problem ;).
Seated asanas with props
For this next position you’re going to need a block. And it’s actually really great to do. Especially if you are a great sloucher! It’s kind of similar to the previous one, but you won’t have that hip-stretch. This makes it ideal for people who have some issues with their hips!
For this position you’ll need to sit on a block. Make sure that your tailbone is tucked in a bit and that you can feel your sitting bones on the block. When you’ve achieved this, put the top of the feet on the mat. Again, you’ll find a picture down below to make it easier to visualize.
When you are sitting down now. Make sure that you bring your shoulder blades a bit back now. And put your hands with the back on your knees. This will prevent you from bringing your shoulders back to the front and will prevent slouching.
This is actually a great way to start your meditation as well and works perfectly as a preparation for lotus and other seated positions. After a while you might even find that you won’t be needing your block anymore. Just try it out. It’s not the fanciest position of them all, but it sure does wonders!
Staff Pose (Dandasana)
And the last position I’d like to talk about is actually kind of the only exercise you’ll be needing for your spine. This one is so great and easy that you can do it whenever you’d like. I’d even advise you to do this one on a daily base if you feel that you start to have some issues with your back.
We first start off in Dandasana. For this, you sit on the mat with your legs stretched forward. If you’d like you can flex your feet to give your legs a tiny little workout as well. While you are sitting in this position you’ll bring your thumb, index finger and middle finger to your sides and a little bit away from you. Backward. They should be a bit diagonal from your hips.
When you start to do this position, you might wonder if something that easy can really help. But try this for a couple of minutes and we’ll see how you feel about it then ;).