4 Ways To Move Your Back For Better Health

kelli russell side stretch

4 Ways To Move Your Back For Better Health

Ever wonder how different movements of your spine effect you? Understanding specific benefits can help you determine which movements to prescribe yourself in order to meet your needs during certain times of the day. Feeling sluggish and need a pick-me-up? Overstimulated and need to calm down? Something you ate isn’t sitting well with you and you’re uncomfortable?

Read on to find just what you need to balance your system and get back on track!

Forward Bends:

  • Soothe the nervous system
  • Quiet the senses
  • Provide a feeling of shelter
  • Cultivate inner awareness


  • Enliven the nervous system
  • Energizing
  • Can be vulnerable and/or freeing
  • Heart/Chest opening


  • Unravel deeply held tension in the back, torso and shoulders
  • Stimulate digestion -assisting in peristalsis, the body’s process of moving food and liquid along the digestive tract
  • Improve spinal mobility by increasing space between each vertebra

Twists are good neutralizers – great to prepare for either forward or backward bending.

Side Bends:

  • Bring balance to the whole body by lengthening abdominals, hips and thighs while improving spinal flexibility.
  • Improve posture by stretching intercostal muscles (between ribs) which get short and tight from prolonged sitting/slouching.
  • Increase range of motion for full breathing capacity.
  • Stretch the abdominal muscles and digestive organs. This aids digestion and elimination.

Now that you know the four movements of the spine and what they can do for you, utilize them for your home practice as suited to your needs. If you’re in a group class setting, you can ask your teacher to include one of these to reap immediate benefits : )

No matter what, keep your spine moving multidimensionally for optimum health!


Kelli Russell
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