Six Directions of the Spine

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The backbone. Our focus for stability, support, and balance. Our spine is the power cord of nerves for our body and mind. You could say it is one of the most important parts of our skeletal make-up. We need to protect our spines through our posture and yoga to find flexibility. The more flexible your body is the less you are prone to injury. There is a warm-up in yoga known as the six directions of the spine. This warm-up helps your spine in every direction in order to gain more flexibility in your practice. You can do each direction from a seated position…

  1. Spinal Extension. In a seated position, lift your arms to shoulder height out to the sides palms facing forward. Inhale as you expand the chest and pinch the shoulder blades together finding that cobra arch in the back. Arms are reaching back.
  2. Spinal Flexion. In a seated position, lift your arms to shoulder height out to the sides palms facing forward. Exhale as you expand your back and fold into an engaged core. Arms are reaching forward.
  3. Lateral Side Bend (right). In a seated position, inhale and lift both arms up reaching with the finger-tips to the sky. Exhale and arch over to the left side allowing the right to lengthen.
  4. Lateral Side Bend (left). In a seated position, inhale and lift both arms up reaching with the finger-tips to the sky. Exhale and arch over to the right side allowing the left to lengthen.
  5. Twist (right). In a seated position, inhale and lift both arms out in front of you palms facing down (I joke and call this “zombie arms”). Exhale as you twist to the right, bring your right hand behind you and left hand on the right knee.
  6. Twist (left). In a seated position, inhale and lift both arms out in front of you palms facing down (“zombie arms”). Exhale as you twist to the left, being your left hand behind you and right hand on the left knee.
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