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5 Yoga Moves for a Strong Back

5 Yoga Moves for a Strong Back

SWEAT sweat.com

We all want our whole body to be healthy and fit. Therefore we train our legs, bum, abs and arms as good as we can. We often train our abs really hard because who doesn’t want to have a flat and beautiful tummy? But there’s something missing! What about our back? A strong back is just as important as strong abs to make our body stand tall and prevent pain. Many people who train a lot underestimate back training and stabilizing exercises so they have a bad posture because of an imbalance between their muscles in their back and abs. On top of the fact that a bad posture doesn’t look very nice there are a lot of unwanted side effects caused by this imbalance.

  • You all know that feeling when your back feels uncomfortable and you have to move around, roll your shoulders back and forth, bend over until you hear this cracking noise in your spine and think "aaaaah finally!“. Well, hello spinal blocks!
  • Beside these blocks, a chronic ache in your back while sitting or standing or even lying in bed is a sign of a weak back
  • Neck and back tension can even cause a bad headache

If you have one or more of those symptomes or want to prevent, I have some good news:

It's super easy to add some mobilising and back strenghtening postures and moves into your yoga routine! Here are five of them:

 

Cat and Cow

Cat and Cow is a perfect way to warm up your spine and bring flexibility to your body. It stretches your upper body, your back and your neck in a gentle way and even strengthens your abdominal organs. These moves make you calm down, slowing your breathing and your mind.

How to do it:

Start on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be right under your shoulders, and your knees right under your hips. Hold your head in a neutral position.

Inhale as you drop your abdomen towards the floor. Lift your head and look up to the ceiling. This is a heart opening position. Make sure to draw your shoulders away from your ears.

Exhale, draw your abdomen to your spine and round your back. Relax your neck and head, gently pull your chin to your chest.

Repeat 20 times.

Seated abdominal twist or "half lord of the fishes" 

This simple twist is perfect for loosening your back, get rid of spinal blocks and relieving stress. Twists also stimulate and improve your digestion and prevent a bloated stomach. It's a good allrounder you can add to all your yoga sessions.

How to do it:

Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. 

Bend your right knee and place it on your mat in front of you. Place your heel as close to your left sitbone as you can. Then bend your left knee and cross your foot over the right leg. Place your foot next to your right knee.

Now hug your left knee with your right arm and place the other hand behind your back on the mat, close to your bum.

With every inhale grow a little bit higher and with every exhale twist a little bit further.

Hold this position for 10 inhales and exhales, then switch sides.

Forward fold with a straight back

This forward fold stretches the lower back and is my favourite posture to loosen spinal blocks.

How to do it:

Stand tall. Lift your arms while you inhale, lower them with your whole body while you exhale. Keep your legs stretched. If you can't reach the floor yet, bend them just a little bit.

Catch your big toes with your thumbs and indexfingers. Now pull your upper body down as you press your toes into the mat. Try to hold your back straight and look forwards.

You will feel the deep stretch in your back and legs. Release your back and head and fold forwards. Rest a few seconds.

Pull your upper body down again and look forwards.

Repeat 5 times.

 

Neck stretches

This little move prevents headache caused by neck tension so well! Don't forget to be gentle with this move.

How to do it:

Sit in a straight sitting pose you like. You can sit in a lotus, with extended legs or bent legs, just find out what feels best for you.

Start with both hands on your back of the had. Exhale and lower your chin to your chest. Don't press your head down with your hands! Inhale and look up again. 

Then place your right hand on the left side of your head. Exhale, bend your head to the right, your ear comes closer to your shoulder. Again, don't press your head down with your hand. It's just a little extra weight for a deeper stretch. Inhale, look up again.

Now switch sides.

Repeat all three moves 5 times.

Child Pose

This is the most relaxing and calming pose I know. It's a resting position you can do after every backbend and forward fold to release all the tension.

How to do it:

Start on your knees and hands. Now lower your bum towards your feet. You can open your legs a bit, so that your feet touch each other and your body has enough space between your knees. 

Walk your hands forward and place them on your mat as soon as your forehead touches the floor.

Hold this position as long as you want and breathe deeply.

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