4 poses to in­crease tho­racic spine mo­bil­ity

Take your spine through its five dif­fer­ent mo­tions—spinal flex­ion, spinal ex­ten­sion, lat­eral flex­ion and ex­ten­sion, and spinal ro­ta­tion—with these poses.

Yoga Journal - - Practice Well -

For spinal flex­ion, try ... SASANGASANA Rab­bit Pose This sim­ple pose places you into a static som­er­sault po­si­tion, help­ing you ex­pe­ri­ence spinal flex­ion (rolling for­ward), par­tic­u­larly in the tho­racic spine.

HOW TO Come to Balasana (Child’s Pose), then grasp your heels with your hands. Ac­ti­vate your ab­dom­i­nals and round your spine, set­ting the top of your head on the ground while lift­ing your butt away from your heels. Mind­fully breathe into the back of your body, and iso­met­ri­cally ex­pand the dis­tances from your crown to your sacrum and be­tween your shoul­der blades. Stay here for 8–12 breaths. For spinal ex­ten­sion, try ... STAND­ING BACK­BEND This pose re­sem­bles the be­gin­ning of a drop-back into Urd­hva Dha­nurasana (Wheel Pose) with­out ac­tu­ally drop­ping back. It helps to sta­bi­lize the tho­ra­colum­bar junc­tion (where T12 and L1 meet), which can be hy­per­mo­bile if your tho­racic spine lacks mo­bil­ity.

HOW TO Stand in Tadasana (Moun­tain Pose) and in­ter­lace your hands be­hind your head. Ac­ti­vate your ab­dom­i­nals and gluteals to pos­te­ri­orly tilt (tuck) your pelvis. In­hale, and feel your ribs ex­pand; ex­hale, and feel your lungs de­flate. You may feel like you’re fall­ing back­ward, but with sup­port. Lengthen your spine up and away from your pelvis, and con­tinue to lean back: Re­sist the urge to back­bend at the tho­ra­colum­bar junc­tion by con­tract­ing your abs and trans­fer­ring the bur­den of the back­bend to your tho­racic ver­te­brae. There is no rush to progress more deeply into the pose. In­stead, wit­ness the ef­fect each breath has on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween your rib cage and tho­racic spine. Stay here for 8–10 breaths. For lat­eral flex­ion and ex­ten­sion, try ... PARIGHASANA Gate Pose This tra­di­tional asana hon­ors your body’s abil­ity to lat­er­ally flex and extend. In other words, it helps you side-bend.

HOW TO Place your right knee on the ground and plant your left foot 2–3 feet to the side. Place your left hand on your left leg for sup­port as you bend to­ward your left side with your arm over­head, lat­er­ally flex­ing your spine to the left. Keep your ab­dom­i­nals braced, and pull 8–12 full breaths into your ribs. Then, switch sides. Vari­a­tion: In­stead of plac­ing your left hand on your left leg, place your left palm on your left rib cage and nudge your ribs sky­ward. This will in­crease lat­eral ex­ten­sion on the right side and fa­cil­i­tate a ma­jor stretch in the in­ter­costal mus­cles on your right side, mo­bi­liz­ing your lat­eral-flex­ion ca­pac­ity.

For spinal ro­ta­tion, try ...

VRSCHIKASANA Scor­pion Pose, vari­a­tion This pose improves ro­ta­tion in the tho­racic spine and can help re­verse a slumped up­per back.

HOW TO Lie on your stom­ach with your arms out­stretched on ei­ther side of you (in a T po­si­tion). Ac­ti­vate your ab­dom­i­nals to limit back­bend­ing at the tho­ra­colum­bar junc­tion. Turn your neck to look to­ward your left hand and roll onto your right hip. Keep your glutes ac­tive, pos­te­ri­orly tilt­ing your pelvis and drift­ing your left hip and foot be­hind you while your left shoul­der stays fixed on the ground. You should feel this ro­ta­tion only in your up­per back. If your flex­i­bil­ity per­mits, touch your left foot to the floor. Take 8–12 breaths, breath­ing deeply into your tho­racic re­gion, then slowly switch sides.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.