The Spine and its Health
Very few people realize the role of the spine in physical and mental health. Thousands of years ago the Yogis gave great importance to the development and protection of the spine. A healthy spine is one which is erect and flexible. It is essential to maintain correct posture when sitting, standing, walking, etc. You are as young as your spine is flexible, is a popular yogi saying.
The spine is part of the central nervous system that is responsible for all of the body’s functions. The spinal cord connects nervous energy from the central nervous system (Brain) with the peripheral nervous system (Nerves) A defect in the spine’s structure due to wrong posture or lifestyle or even stress, can cause problems in the nervous system and lead to many diseases. Modern medicine can only treat the signs and symptoms of such problems and try and rectify the damage through surgery. But if the root cause is not removed, more problems will always arise. Yoga aims at prevention of such a situation. In Yoga we move the spine in every direction, we work with elongation of the spine, especially from the waist area. The lumbar vertebrae suffers the most when standing incorrectly or sitting for long periods. It becomes misaligned and crushed together by tension. These compressed vertebrae pinch the nerves that pass through the corresponding vertebral cavity, causing pain and muscular spasm. There is a thick and strong network of muscles around the spine which helps in it in moving in different ways. Yoga asanas were formulated by Yogis to include these specific movements of the spine. These Asanas help in maintaining the inter-vertebral space, improving blood circulation in the muscles and increasing muscle strength, recreating the proper space between vertebrae so that the nerves can be released and health re-established. This in turn helps protect the spine and keep it healthy.