When you reckon about building strength, your spine may be the last body part that comes to mind. But a strong back can not only reduce your chances of injury; it’s also key for your balance, mobility, and posture. In the video above, Nicole Katz, founder of Yoga 216, takes us through three yoga-inspired moves that help strengthen and stretch the muscles around the spine.
To complete the routine, all you need is one minute, a small space, and a yoga mat. Do each go a few times on both sides, at a relaxed pace.
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Start by putting your knees on the mat and sitting back on your heels. Place your right hand beside you on the mat and raise your left arm straight up in the air. Lean your upper body over to the right, bending your right elbow and curving your left arm over your right shoulder, making a U shape. Hold this position for five seconds. Then switch sides.
Lie on the left side of your body in the fetal position, with your knees together at a 90 degree angle. Place your left arm straight out in front of you and place your right arm over your left arm, so your fingertips. Then slide your right arm across your body back so your right arm and shoulder touch the floor on your right side; your neck should turn to the right side as well. Then slide your right arm back to the starting position and repeat. You should feel this stretch in the upper spine as well as your lower back, says Katz.
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Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing up, and your knees bent. Then, rolling your spine from the top vertebrae, lift your hips in the air, keeping your shoulders on the mat, to form a bridge with your body. Hold the bridge position for a few seconds, then roll your spine as your lower your hips back down to starting position.