Gravity compresses the discs of your spine during the day, regardless of whether you are lying on the sofa, sitting at your desk or standing in line at the grocery store. While spinal compression is normal, discomfort and pain can occur when we remain in any position that does not allow for disc movement and normal spinal fluid circulation. Yoga and stretching exercises can move the spine into positions that allow spinal fluid to circulate.
Stretching exercises throughout the day can help prevent neck or back pain. Standing in front of a wall, place your palms flat on the wall so they are shoulder-width apart. Step back until your arms and spine are extended straight. Keep pressing your palms into the wall while you simultaneously extend your head up and back while drawing your hips away from the wall. Remain in this position for a few seconds before resting. This provides decompression throughout the length of the neck and spine.
Always stretch upward before performing in any kind of twisting stretch or yoga pose. While sitting, interlace your fingers and press your feet into the floor. Extend through the top of your head and turn your chest to the right, remaining for five breaths. Return back center, uncross your fingers and interlace them in the opposite direction to create symmetry and turn your chest to the left. This creates decompression in the upper midthoracic spine, the area where many people are less flexible.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Place your hands on the floor so they are shoulder-width apart and walk your feet back until your legs are nearly straight. Slightly bend the legs and extend the heels down, keeping the front and back of your thighs, quads and hamstrings stretched. Continue to press your palms into the floor and aim your pelvis straight away from them, then straighten the knees. Remain in this position for several breaths before lowering your knees to the floor to rest. This classic yoga pose creates decompression along the entire spine.
- Yoga image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.