Health of Your Spine
Correct approach to spine and more: twisting and bending to improve bearing and overall physical state
85% tellurians suffer from osteochondrosis. Hence, almost every person has had a back pain at least once in lifetime. Regrettably, the main reason of such problems is a growing comfort of our live conditions. For, when we didn’t have elevators in houses, we at least went upstairs on foot. Not having cars, people walked afoot at least between public bus-stops and home. Meanwhile, the sluggish way of life turns inhabitants of cities and towns into victims of early osteochondrosis, radiculitis and other back and joint illnesses. This may be demonstrated with health problems prevalent among astronauts: under no terrestrial attraction and due to low activeness, their skeleton suffers the most – bones become frail and, thus, vulnerable without physical load.
It should probably be mentioned that bone tissue gets fully renewed every three months. No other tissue in human organism can be restored so rapidly. Moreover, unlike muscles possessing a so called muscle memory (when a body memorizes certain postures and easily endures loading even after a long break), bone tissue does not have such memory. So, should we leave our skeletal system without permanent loading, it simply ceases to operate.
What should we do?
The answer is simple: we should practice Yoga! Hatha Yoga is an excellent tool to restore spine and entire body health. This training methodology comprehensively influences all human body organs and systems; it’s directed at their harmonization, development and elimination of weaknesses. The latter is paid the greatest attention to in Yoga. For instance, if you have a cervical spine problem, we shall focus on working with this body part specifically.
It should also be kept in mind that spine is not just bones, cartilages and ligaments, but also the central nervous duct, i.e. the central nervous system manifestation at the skeletal system level. So, back workouts make it possible to eliminate tenseness and spasms in nerve-endings, to adjust and to balance the entire central nervous system operation properly.
Furthermore, Yoga involves deep muscles, viz the muscles which cannot be reached by any other gymnastics. Practicing Yoga, you strengthen muscles which secure harmonious interaction between vertebrae by relieving tensed or spasmed sections and toning up the inactive spinal muscles. Big external muscles can’t ensure healthy spine. As an example, we may take sportsmen who have developed external muscles, but whose spine is often in deplorable condition.
However, one must remember that integrity is the major principle of correct spine exercising. When we perceive our body as a whole, we do not divide it into parts and don’t permit fractures in any spine section. At that, bandhas or interior body locks play a decisive role, being the main means to produce integrity and to support general body health. Bandhas stimulate spinal muscles, allowing them to be active in all body postures we perform in Yoga. Because forward and backward bends, as well as twists are exactly the main natural ways of acting upon spine, making it possible to stimulate operation of both vertebrae themselves and the muscle frame as a whole. Bending and twisting correctly, we move our vertebrae and force them to work without causing any overstrain.
To make sure twisting is correct, useful and painless, one should know, understand and practically apply all the right principles of spine exercising. More simply, one should know how to perform a bend, a twist or a turn correctly. There are various Yoga schools and trends where they exclude certain spine exercises from practice since they don’t know how to perform those correctly, therefore they limit Yoga as a health-improvement method and decrease the coefficient of practice efficiency. Whereas twisting in horizontal position (lying on back) is the simplest and most delicate way to balance operation of front and back spinal muscles, while correct backward bends are also means to stimulate the sympathetic system operation. Certainly, in everyday life we sometimes bend forward, for example, to tie shoelaces, but at work we usually sit hunched at a table, and at home we lie crooked on a couch, and even if we move from the couch to the fridge, our shoulders remain next to the ears while our back is distorted. In such postures, a chest cyphosis is being formed and strengthened. In addition, when one’s head is clamped between one’s shoulders, the head falls back incorrectly, and one’s neck consequently is clamped as well pinching the flow of blood in and out the brain. The latter results in frequent headaches, eyesight decay, tiredness growth. Besides, when our legs are not active enough, we start having problems with lumbar spine since loading is shifted from hip joints to loins.
When we perform backward bends, we compensate bad body habits and relieve muscle tenseness gained during the day. Stirring up the sympathetic system operation gives feeling of vivacity and vigor inflow. Those who try to wake themselves up with a morning cup of coffee strike their adrenals producing the necessary adrenalin, while there exists a very simple way to increase one’s vigor – stretching oneself. And, if you can do decent backward bends, it’s already an excellent means to relieve the entire body from tenseness. The simplest method to teach your organism to wake up and to start operating correctly is to practice morning exercises such as Surya Namaskar including both backward and forward bends.
In order to twist correctly, it’s necessary to know and to understand the major injury prevention principles, i.e. how to perform twists so as not to harm oneself, which, unfortunately, almost nobody explains. Meanwhile, in Yoga like nowhere else it’s important to understand what you do, how you do it and for what purpose. The price of a mistake is too high – it’s your own health. If somebody even shows you the external form of a twist or a backward bend, they rarely can explain the inner work. All the work nuances can be explained only by a qualified instructor who can not only perform a deep twist himself, but can also teach you and make it clear how and what you should do.
Spine injuries are possible not only during incorrect practice, but also under confined approaches to Yoga. If they tell you that you may not twist or do backward bends, or if they don’t explain how you should do those properly, such incorrect approach to spine exercising makes your practice incomplete and inharmonious, and may actually cause serious health problems in the future.
Mobile and flexible spine is the basis of the entire body health. For example, in some African tribes they determine a person’s age not by years, but by his or her body flexibility. A person is never considered old if his / her spine has preserved its flexibility. And they are completely right, because healthy back is indeed a good all-embracing criterion. The “healthy back” notion really means the entire body health, for harmoniously operating spine, as mentioned above, involves proper operation of skeletal, nervous and other organism systems. Yet, only a full-blooded, harmonious and correct Yoga practice can bring all these systems into balance, satiating you with vital energy and toning up all your body organs and systems.