Do you yearn for a strong and flexible back along with a super flat tummy? So, what’s the relationship between a strong back and super flat tummy? When your back is strong and flexible, you will be able to work on strengthening and toning your core muscles. And, when your core shrinks and tones, you will enjoy a flat tummy. Bonus – better posture, better digestion, regular bowels, more energy, and a happier you! Try yoga for strong and flexible back.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some poses, 7 to be precise, that will stretch, strengthen, and tone your back. So are you ready?
Yoga for Strong and Flexible Back
Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle Pose
As the name suggests, it involves a twist. Just make sure you twist from your abdomen while maintaining the length of your spine to reap the most out of this posture.
Stand with your feet together, palms resting along the body. Inhale and separate your feet about 4 feet apart. Raise your arms at shoulder level, palms facing the floor. Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears. Engage your core and lengthen your spine. Exhale and turn both feet to your right. Inhale and square your hips to the right.
Exhale and place your left palm inside your right foot. Inhale, twist your torso and lift your right arm up, fingertips pointing to the ceiling. Gaze at the fingertips. Beginning students should keep their head in a neutral position, looking straight forward, or turn it to look at the floor.
Hold the posture without compromising on your breath for seven breaths. Exhale, release the twist, and bring your torso back to upright with an inhalation. Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed, twisting to the left.
Marjariasana – Bitilasana – Cat Cow Pose
This flow is one of the simplest movements practiced in Yoga Vinyasas to warm up your back and core. But those who practice it daily vouch for its core and back strengthening benefits.
After completing Parivrtta Trikonasana on both sides, join the feet together. Inhale and swing your arms over your head. Exhale and fold forward, placing your palms on either side of your feet. Walk your legs back and drop your knees down to come into Table Top position.
Adjust your knees to stack them under your hips. Stack your shoulders over your palms. Allow the tops of your feet to press on the floor; toes extended backward. Spread the fingers and press the palms into the floor.
Inhale, arch your back, and gaze up, stretching your neck [Cow]. Hold for seven breaths. Exhale, round your back, pull your navel towards your spine, engage your gluteus muscles, and tuck your chin to the chest. Gaze down [Cat] and hold the posture for seven breaths.
Repeat the movement slowly ten times.
Tips: If you have a knee injury, fold your mat or use a folded blanket to add additional cushioning for your knees.
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
This backbend works wonderfully stretching your upper and lower back, toning the muscles, and strengthening them. Just do this stretch after a long day of sitting and experience its soothing impact!
Once you complete Cat Pose for the last time, bring your spine to a neutral position in Table Top. Gently walk your arms forward and lower your body to the floor. Stretch your legs backward. Allow the forehead to rest on the ground.
Adjust your palms to align them along with your chest, wrists stacked under your shoulders. Press the tops of your feet on the floor, toes extended back. Keep your legs active. Roll your shoulders down and away from the ears so that the shoulder blades come closer.
On an inhale, press the palms firmly into the floor and lift your forehead and chest off the mat until your ribs are completely away from the floor. Allow your hips to rest on the ground. Exhale and on the next inhalation, bend backward, tilting your head slightly back.
Deepen the stretch until your experience a tingle on your lower back. Hold the posture, squeezing your gluteus and pulling your navel to the spine, for seven deep breaths.
Exhale and slowly come back to lying.
Tips: Gaze forward if you have any neck injury.
Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Bending your body like a bow improves the suppleness of your back. As you pull your heels away from the buttocks, the legs stretch, and tone. Other benefits – better digestion, flatter stomach, and toned arms.
From Bhujangasana, exhale and lie with your forehead on the floor. Separate your legs as wide as your hips. Bend your knees and allow the heels to come close to your buttocks. Let the big toes to come into contact. Hold the ankles with your palms. Inhale and lift your head and chest off the mat until your entire rib cage is up from the floor.
Balance on your lower abdomen and pull your legs away from your buttocks. Squeeze your buttocks to feel the stretch on your back. Hold the posture, breathing deeply, for seven deep breaths.
Variation: Practice Parsva Dhanurasana by turning your torso sideways on an exhalation. Maintain the legs. Come back to center before repeating on the other side.
Setu Bhandasana – Bridge Pose
This posture strengthens your core, legs, back, and hips. Feel free to use a block or anything else to support your lower back.
Release your legs and palms and lie down on your abdomen, resting the forehead on the floor. Take five deep breaths to relax your body and breath. Turn to your right and lie down on your back, hands resting on the sides, palms flat on the floor.
Roll your shoulders down to rest them firmly on the floor. Bend your knees, separating them hip-distance apart. Allow your knees to fall towards each other slightly. Pressing the feet and palms into the floor, inhale, and lift your hips away from the floor.
Exhale, squeeze your thighs and roll them inward. Lift your hips higher to bring your chest closer to the chin. If possible, interlace your fingers beneath you.
Hold the posture breathing for seven long, deep breaths.
Exhale and slowly release your hips to the floor.
Variation: Once you are in Bridge Pose, inhale and lift your right leg perpendicular to the floor and hold for five breaths. Exhale, release the right leg, and repeat on your left.
Chakrasana – Wheel Pose
It is a complete body strengthener and toner. However, if you have a meniscus, ligament, wrist, or shoulder injury, please refrain from practicing this pose as it could worsen the pain and inflammation.
Keep your legs just as you kept for Setu Bhandasana. Place your palms at shoulder level, fingers pointing towards you. Pressing the palms and feet into the floor, lift your head and body off the floor. Tilt your head backward and gaze up to feel the stretch on your neck.
Stretch your thighs and shoulders. In the final position, your body looks like an arch, almost like a wheel. Breathing deeply, hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
To release the position, lower your body till it touches the ground. Straighten your legs.
Tips: Avoid the posture if you have hypertension or vertigo and during menstruation.
Ardha Matsyendrasana – Half Spinal Twist
Ardha Matsyendrasana translates into the half twist pose of the king of fishes. An excellent detoxifying pose, it works on stretching and strengthening your upper back.
After completing Chakrasana, turn to your right and sit with your legs extended forward. Bend the right leg, lift it and place it close to your left hip. Bend the left leg and place it under the right buttocks. Inhale and lift your left arm up. Exhale and bring the left arm around your right leg and hold your right toes. The left armpit should rest outside the left knee.
Place your right arm on your back, allowing the right fingertips to rest on your left thigh. Exhale and twist to your right. Look over your right shoulder and fix your gaze at one point. Hold for seven breaths.
Inhale and come back to center slowly and stretch out your legs. Repeat on your left side.
While certain poses outlined above might feel terrible during the first practice, regular practice will make you perfect.
So start practicing these poses to tone your back and improve your core!