Spine Strengthening with Yoga

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Release, Realign, Relieve | No Comments

By: Dr. Aliya Visram, DC
If you are a Bikram Yoga practitioner, you know what I mean when I say “Spine
Strengthening Series”. However, for the non-Bikram Yogis, here’s a recap. The Spine
Strengthening Series is part of Bikram’s Beginning (Hatha) Yoga Series and includes the
following postures (or asanas):

1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
2. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
3. Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
4. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

You either love them or hate them….but here’s why you need to DO them!

New research has shown that spinal extension often decreases symptoms of lower back
and leg pain often caused by a herniated or bulging disc
(which creates pressure on nerve
roots causing pain radiating down the buttocks and legs).

These four postures all include elements of spinal extension – or back bending – by lifting
the lower extremities (legs), the upper extremities (arms, shoulders), or both.

How does spinal extension help lower back pain? It may seem counter-intuitive, since
we associate spinal extension negatively with “scrunching” or compressing the lower

But consider that when vertebral discs bulge out, they often bulge backward (posteriorly).
Spinal extension wedges open the front of the disc and allows the disc fluid to resettle
into its normal forward position. This helps push the disc back into its original position
and can diminish the intensity or extent of lower back or leg symptoms.

These postures all help stabilize and strengthen your core abdominal and lower back
muscles through the contraction of your paraspinal muscles that support either side of
your spine. ) This helps prevent future injuries.

Love them or hate them, the postures of the Spine Strengthening Series are one of the
best things you can do to maintain a lovely, healthy back!