Yoga refers to the spine as the ‘merudanda’ or axis of the body, the pivot around which the torso, head and limbs are balanced. The spine is made up of a series of 33 bones called vertebrae, the arches of which form a bony yet flexible cylinder to house the spinal cord. Many small muscles run down the length of the spine allowing it to pivot about in all angles and in all the geometric planes. The lower part of the spine meets the hip joint to form a unique hip girdle that lets us walk on two legs, run, push, kick, lift, climb etc. enabling us to evolve from apes that crawled on all fours to the civilisation that we are now. Our present lives have literally been built on the strength of our backs. However, many of us are disconnected from this strength and have reduced ourselves to feeling like we are weak creatures with flawed bodies.
Back pain has become a widespread concern with many of us refusing to exercise, dance or hike because we feel our backs are too delicate. Regular practice of the following yoga pose relaxes the muscles of the lower back, removing stiffness and pain. When the body is free from pain, the self imposed limitations of the mind also break leaving you free to explore new horizons.
(Psychic Union Pose)
You will need a yoga mat or towel, a flat cushion and a rolled-up towel.
This is best done first thing in the morning and just before going to bed.
Sit cross-legged on the mat.
If your body feels stiff, sit on a cushion so that you have some back support.
Place the rolled-up towel in front of you.
Push your shoulders back and bring your chin parallel to the floor.
Clasp your right wrist with your left hand behind your back.
Exhale, keep your spine straight and move forward to place your forehead on the towel.
Move slowly. Go to the limit your body is letting you right now.
Hold the pose for 10 breaths.
If your lower back is too stiff, move forward and come back up as you exhale and inhale respectively, at least seven times.