There are so many reasons as to why we should move our spine. The spine is the centre of our body, more than anything, it ensures that our body remains mobile. However, as we spend more and more time chained to our desks or hunched over our mobile devices, our spines are suffering.
In addition to boosting our overall well-being, moving the spine for even 10 minutes each day can promote better posture, reduce our risk of injury in our lower back and shoulders and even elongate our breath patterns. Yoga is one of the best exercise patterns everyone can practice to improve the health of our spines.
Designed by David Coulibaly, this short yoga sequence for beginners is an easy and effective way to free the spine after a day of computer work, a long drive or just generally sitting for too long. With more of us spending time working from home it’s so important to stretch our spines, this sequence is a must for all desk jockeys!
This simple spinal sequence decompresses the spine, providing a feeling of space. In some cases, it can even help alleviate general low-back pain. Breathe consciously as you move and bring your mind inward to the length and spaciousness of your spine as you explore these poses.
Spinal Flow Sequence
Seated Side Spine Stretch
- Start in a kneeling or cross-legged seat and place your left hand on the floor with your elbow slightly bent.
- Reach your right arm up and overhead and lean to the left side.
- Gaze up and open your chest towards the sky.
- Breathe slowly and deeply, keeping the hips grounded
- Hold the pose for 5 breaths, switch sides, and repeat.
- Start in a cross-legged seated position
- Place your right foot outside your left thigh and hug your left heel closer towards your right glute.
- Modification: Sit on a block and extend your left leg to straight.
- Take your right hand behind you to the floor and place your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
- Modification: instead of the left elbow outside the thigh, use your left arm to hug the right thigh inward.
- Keeping the hips grounded, breathe in to find length through the spine, breathe out to twist. Gaze over your right shoulder.
- Stay for 5 breaths, switch sides and repeat, to further stretch the spine.
Seated Forward Fold
- Start seated with your legs extended in front of you.
- Modification: sit on a blanket or block to elevate the hips and bend the knees.
- Inhale, keeping the front torso long, lean forward from the hip joints, not the waist. Hold your ankles or feet with your hands.
- Modification: loop a strap around your feet and hold the strap firmly with straight arms.
- Each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso forward, with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths
- Lie on your back, bend your knees and set your feet hip-width apart with heels directly under your knees.
- Inhale lift hips, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, lengthen your tailbone towards the backs of the knees and your pubic bone towards your naval.
- Clasp the hands under your pelvis and hug the shoulder blades together, firming the outer arms in.
- Firm (but not harden) the buttocks as you lift the hips higher.
- Lift your chin slightly and press the top of the chest toward the chin.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
- Lay down on your back
- Bend your knees with feet on the floor.
- Lift your legs to the sky
- Use your hands to press down either side of your hips as you bring your legs over your head (into plow pose)
- Set up your hands onto your lower back with fingertips facing up and palms flat. Hug the elbows and upper arms in.
- Slowly raise your legs towards the sky, keep hugging the elbows and upper arms in.
- Lift up through the balls of your feet and walk your hands further up the back for more stability.
- Lift your chin slightly away from your chest, pressing down through the back of the head.
- To come out, slowly lower your feet back over your head and release your arms back to the mat. Press into your hands and roll gently down your spine.
- Modification: use a double folded blanket underneath your shoulders with your head and neck off the blanket
“Being fresh to the yoga scene, I decided to take full advantage of the free week BML trial. I’ve always been curious about subscription yoga/pilates classes, begging the question “if youtube is free, why pay?”. With nothing to lose I typed in the promo code and propped my laptop on the coffee table. Normally for at-home workouts, I browse youtube until I see a video on the front page that looks appealing.
Picking a class on BodyMindLife was a completely different process. Instead of rolling the dice on a class, BML is able to present a range of classes based on formulated questions. First I was asked how often I practice. I assumed this helps determine which class level is best suited. I hesitated with providing an honest answer due to my concern that the beginner classes would put a limit intensity. In actuality, the level has nothing to do with how much you sweat. Here’s why…
The levels are categorised in terms of how your body familiarises itself with each practice. For example, with yoga, your body needs to adapt in order to reach advanced positions. If you can’t reach those positions without strain then you’ll have trouble flowing, and won’t reach the full potential of the class. To alter the intensity of the class, I was asked what I wanted to work on. Simple things like fitness or flexibility were noted, but I was impressed when I was offered classes to improve on a specific skill, like backbends or breath work.
My favourite option by far is the part where I’m asked about my preference for teaching style. If someone were to ask me about my favourite teaching style I wouldn’t know how to respond. Seeing it listed in words like informative, playful, traditional, non-traditional actually helped me identify what traits engage me.
BML goes much farther than simply filtering a class by type and duration. Because of this trial I’ve been able to get excited to devote time in my mornings to do a class from home. Before BodyMindLife, I don’t think I’ve ever done more than one class on a given day. I now understand this wasn’t an attention deficit thing, but instead a flow thing. When classes flow, they become effortless. I would recommend BodyMindLife to essentially anyone. Try it and cast your own opinion. Like me, you have nothing to lose.” – Bryn Fabbri
David Coulibaly Bio:
Growing up in France, David’s athletic background started from a very young age, playing high-level soccer and practicing mixed martial arts for many years. However, it was here in Australia that David found his passion for yoga, a daily practice that offered him not only a physical challenge, but also integrated spirituality. Inspired by his two greatest passions, Martial Arts and Yoga, David’s classes are dynamic, creative and energetic. He is here to share, inspire and push boundaries, leaving you with a deeper message far beyond the security of your yoga mat.
The Zine Offer:
BodyMindLife Online is offering The Zine readers a discount code that gives you access to a 7 day free trial + 30% off first-month membership. The code is DAVCOUPQ. Follow this link here to sign up.