The spinal six plus 1 . . . . . .

Asana is designed to improve and to maintain the resilience of the body. The various asana are actually  modes of re-positioning the body. This facilitates a more expansive blood flow to areas that are typically not thoroughly reached and assisting one to open up the body from several directions. With increased blood flow come oxygen and nutrients  The six movements of the spine, forward bends, back bends, left and right lateral bending, left and right rotation) along with inversions can be beneficial to the body and mind. Their use imbues various corners of the body with this increase in blood flow, nutrients and oxygen.  Thus, by extension, this can slow the adverse effects of aging and improve bodily health..

Forward Bending (Spinal Flexion)

Intense Seated Forward Bend
This pose is great for taking breath into the backside of the body. Even so, there must still be breath going into the front side of our body as well.

Forward bending is used to release tension and tightness in the back of the body. This movement can be passive or active, the active aspect bringing more tone to the front body musculatures. Many people carry tension around throughout the day. A stressed out demeanor tends to emotionally become lodged into the back in the form of tightness.  Forward bends can be a useful tool in releasing that tightness in the back. In addition to the physical release of tightness, forward bends facilitate a calming effect on the nervous system

Backward Bending

The stability of the shoulders and the hips enables us to open the chest and the heart in this position.

Gravity is a relentless taskmaster. In addition to keeping things grounded, it requires the body to continually expend effort in maintaining the bi-pedal, upright posture. Many unknowingly drop the ball in this regard. People in modern society are functioning with less than optimal posture because many activities are encouraging of it. Backbends to the rescue. Backbends can be restoratively releasing to the front of the body or engagingly stimulating to the back of the body. Backbends are also charging to the nervous system   

Lateral Bending (Left and Right)

Sidebends balance the body in that that lengthen the abdominal muscles, hips and (lateral) thighs. They also improve spinal flexibility. The cage is opened up because the intercostal muscles are released  by sidebending. This is very beneficial for breathing, in general. They also help to relieve respiratory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and colds. Good for the smaller intervertebral muscles that stabilize the spine during various movements Good for releasing the (outer) Hip joint.

Twisting (Left and Right)

Photo by Miriam Alonso on

Rotation is important for stretching and strengthening the torso to increase both movement and health of the spine.

Rotation is supplemental to flexion (forward bending) and extension (backward bending). It is proper rotation of the spine that stretches and strengthens all the muscles through the torso resulting benefits include: greater mobility for all exercises in all planes of movement, as well as greater awareness in finding the deeper spinal muscles for support and stabilization during other exercises. Proper posture, shoulder placement, and breathing are key in aiding the body’s ability to rotate freely.


Read a book while upside down.
Upside down is the right thing to do . . . .

To be in an inversion, being upside-down, is to aid the body in reversing the pull of gravity on the body and on the mind. The body must work overtime to pump the blood upward towards the heat. The lack of physical movement, that is endemic in modern society, adds to the challenge of getting the blood back to the heart. Inversions position the body Blood pressure profile of the body is reversed and eases the flow of blood from the extremities to the heart. Inversions are also good for bolstering a more positive life outlook.

The six movements of the spine plus inversions are important for spinal health and, by extension, for all health. The movements that address these spinal positions do not need to be extreme. Everyone can do something to maintain the health of their spine.    b

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