I am happy to share with you a guest post on what I think is a very important topic – a strong back! In Kundalini Yoga we do a lot of core exercises which helps create a strong back. My physio informed me that a strong core = a strong back = long healthy living. I am happy to present to you this article!
5 Yoga Poses for A Strong Back
A strong and sculpted back looks and feels wonderful. It corrects the posture, mitigates back troubles, and shields the spine. Psychologically, it enhances self-esteem and self-confidence. These five yoga poses for a strong back are certain to generate the benefits mentioned above when practiced regularly and diligently.
[Note: Both the Cobra and Wheel pose MUST be done correctly to reap the benefits and avoid doing damage. Therefore I highly recommend you learn the technique for these poses from a qualified instructor]
- Plank Pose
Come on to all fours, separating the knees and feet as wide as the hips. Keep the toes tucked. Stack the wrists underneath shoulders. Lengthen the spine through the neck and keep it neutral. Engage the core muscles. Pressing the palms into the floor, lift the knees and come into Plank Pose. Adjust the posture by gently moving forward and backward to align the entire body in a straight line.
Hold the posture for seven to ten deep breaths. Exhale and drop the knees down to come back to the starting position.
- Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Lie down on the abdomen, separating the feet slightly. Allow the forehead to rest on the floor. Stack palms under shoulders. Keep the elbows bent, hugging them close to the rib cage. Inhale and lengthen the entire body to stretch the spine. Exhale slowly through the mouth.
On the next inhale, press palms into the floor and lift the head and torso until the navel is off the mat. Lift the palms away from the floor allowing your back to do the work. Engage the core in supporting the back. Hold for 7 to 10 breaths. Exhale and gently return to the starting position.
- Salabhasana – Locust Pose
Lying down on the abdomen, join the feet, allowing the big toes to touch. Stretch the arms back and long, fingertips pointing away from the body. Inhale and lift the head, legs, and hands away from the floor, toes pointing away from the torso. Lengthen the spine with each inhalation. Try lifting the legs higher, allowing the lower back to do the job, with each exhalation. Hold for 7 to 10 deep breaths. Exhale and gently lower the legs and hands.
- Chakrasana – Wheel Pose
Lie down on the back. Bend the knees and separate them hip-width. Rest the feet firmly on the floor, slightly away from the buttocks. Rest the palms just beneath the shoulders, finger tips pointing away from the shoulders. Engage the core and take a couple of breaths to feel the sensations before lifting up.
Pressing the palms firmly, take an inhalation, and lift the torso away from the floor. Let the head hang in between the elbows. Keep the knees bent unless the core and back are quite strong. With each exhalation, try to straighten the limbs, offering an opportunity for the core muscles and back muscles to coordinate and support the body.
- Purvottanasana – Upward Plank Pose
Sit down and stretch the legs out. Flex the feet. Rest the palms under the shoulders, fingertips pointing towards the body. Inhale, press the palms into the feet and lift the body away from the floor. Straighten the arms slowly with each exhalation, pressing the feet into the floor to lift the hips as high as possible. Gaze up and hold the breaths, keeping the core muscles engaged for seven to ten breaths.
Exhale and gently release the body to the floor.
Gently recline to lie down in Savasana, the Corpse Pose, to calm the stimulated back muscles and reap the benefits of the practice.
There is no need to rush. All you need to master these five yoga poses for a strong back is some patience and consistency. One can hold the postures longer if back and core are powerful, but if there are any injuries, modify the poses accordingly. The crucial factor for a successful practice is to listen to the body. So keep practicing and keep listening!
Kosta Miachin is the creator of VIKASA Yoga method – a unique, challenging and effective approach to yoga. He is also the founder of VIKASA Yoga Academy. You can find him online: http://www.vikasayoga.com