You’re as young as your spine.

Easing into sitting forward bend to help support the liver and pancreas

Easing into sitting forward bend to help support the liver and pancreas

There’s an old adage about aging, something on the lines of  “You’re as young as your spine and as healthy as your stomach”. Well I can’t think of any better tool for looking after your back and tummy (and many other things besides !) than yoga. So, today, I am writing about some practical postures you can practice at home to keep you youthful.

Let’s take the spine then as a starting point. A healthy spine is strong, flexible with beautiful natural curves that allow energy to flow freely. As we get older our lifestyles tend not to help the back quite so much, I’ve written plenty in the past about keeping the back healthy, please do look back at previous blogs if you want further information. For now I’m just going to stick to 3 simple things you can do to keep the spine young.

  • Watch your posture. Standing up properly makes you feel confident and youthful, it can trim inches off your tummy, aids digestion, breathing and keeps your spine extended with the curves where they should be. See previous posts and downloads for guidance.
  • Work on your core muscles every day. This group of muscles needs to be worked everyday, again there are some exercises to do on our downloads. As we get older we may find that we do not move as much as we used to and as a result our core muscles become weak, which contributes to the general aging of our spine.
  • Practice the Cat every day. Classic yoga posture to keep the spine flexible. You’ll also notice too that with regular practice your thinking becomes more flexible too, and youthfulness to me is all about flexibility. Here’s the basic posture:
    • Kneel on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, hips in a neutral position, neck / head in it’s natural line.
    • Engage your core muscles, and as you exhale round / arch your back, starting by tucking your tailbone under and feel the arch ripple like a wave up your spine until you can gently tuck your chin in.
    • With your core still engaged, inhale as you lengthen your spine, again start at the base, flowing up to your crown. You might be able to dip your spine slightly as you ease into this. Be mindful that you do not just “drop” the low back, better extend this area with the core muscles supporting the move.
    • Flow between the 2 moves a few more times.

Combined with a healthy, balanced diet, yoga is a great way to support the digestive system. Include a twist and a side stretch in your daily yoga routine, to keep things moving smoothly! The sitting forward bend is most recommended for supporting the liver and pancreas. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, try working with a back bend, cobra, bow and fish are particularly good for digestion, countering with a forward bend such as child pose. Stress will impair your digestive function so make time for relaxation and meditation. Crocodile is the perfect restorative pose for the abdomen.

I’ve given you a few ideas here for keeping your spine and tummy healthy and therefore youthful. Practice these until next time, when I’m going to share some yoga ideas for reducing wrinkles – although as good yogis I’m sure none of you will be interested in such vain pursuits 😉 Ix

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