The lumbar spine supports our entire body through our every movement, whether we walk, crawl or sit. Strengthening your lumbar muscles and keeping your spine lubricated with yoga prevents later injuries, such as compression fractures and bulging discs. By the time you realize these problems exist, you cannot turn back the clock to prevent them. Use yoga to keep the spine supple and the support the skeletal muscles that keep you strong.
Locust, known as a “baby backbend” according to “Yoga Journal,” offers strengthening of the lumbar spine as well as the abdominal and thigh muscles. Lie face down on the mat, arms to the sides, with your palms facing upward. Raise your head, chest and legs off the floor, bringing your hands off the floor as well by a couple of inches, palms upward. Leave only your hips in contact with the floor. If you feel any pain, release the pose. Modify the pose, if necessary, by only raising the legs, or raising the legs one at a time with the other resting on the floor. Work up to holding the pose for a slow count of 30.
Upward Facing Dog
According to the book “Yoga & Pilates for Everyone,” the upward facing dog pose benefits the spine and relieves back and sciatic pain. Lie face-down on the mat, with your hands at the sides, flat on the mat and next to the tops of the shoulders. Keeping the legs straight and tops of the feet against the mat, push up onto your hands as your back forms a nice, deep back bend. Push up and back as far as possible until your hips are off the floor. Hold for a slow count of 30 and release. Repeat once. Follow this pose with a stretch in the opposite direction for the back, such as a forward bend.
Reclining Knee Twist
The reclining knee twist is a good beginner pose to help lumbar strength. Lie face-up on the mat, hands are at your sides; palms down. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms to shoulder height, keeping them flat on the floor. With knees together, allow them to fall to one side, while turning your head in the opposite direction. Maintain this stretch for a slow count of 30 if possible. Come out of the pose slowly and repeat the stretch on the opposite side. Repeat the entire sequence once.
About this Author
Gloria Attar, RN BSN, has been a professional writer since 1983. Her work has appeared in “A Distinctive Style,” “The Rambler” and “Chocolate for a Woman’s Dreams.” Her online works are at eHow and LIVESTRONG. She specializes in healthcare, wellness and relationship topics. Gloria Attar obtained her BSN from Kent State University.