Every cell, organ and tissue is controlled by our nervous system. Our spine protects it, wouldn't is be a good idea to keep it strong and healthy? Our spine holds us up, supports us, and allows us to be mobile and active. In order to age gracefully we need to make it strong and agile.
Here are some simple exercises that you can do at home to achieve strength and grace.
1. Plank Variations- If you are a beginner then always start on your knees. Otherwise get into a basic push up position. Hold for 30 seconds. Firm your arms and legs, lift up through your abdomen (navel to your spine) and push back into your heels. Kneck long and breath. After 30 seconds, lower half way to (chaturanga) so that your arms are at a 90 degree angle and elbows hug into your midline (ribs). Hold one breath and return back to plank or push up stance for 30 seconds. Repeat 3x taking breaks in downward dog or child's pose in between but only take a maximum of 3 breathes in a resting pose.
2. Belly time- Lay on your stomach, arms along side your body and feet flat so that you can feel all ten toes on the ground( inner thighs rotate up towards the ceiling) On an inhale lift your chest up off the ground as well as your legs. Try to keep big toes touching, neck long (don't crank neck up, keep eye line down) and draw your tailbone down to protect lower back. As if doing snow angels bring your arms all the way up over your head, with your palms facing each other, then bring them back down and do that 3x. Repeat entire exercise 3x taking a maximum of 3 breath breaks in between, rotating the position of your head. For instance, your first rest you will have your head turned to the right, the next rest to the left and so on.
3. Staff Pose/Upward Plank- Start sitting on your bum with your legs together and straight out in front of you. Arms alongside your body, directly underneath your shoulders, palms flat with fingers pointing forward. First create as much length as you can in your spine, then on an inhale reach your hips high up towards the ceiling. Arms and legs are both straight and do not move. Ideally your big toes are touching and strive to have the soles of your feet, flat on the floor, but this takes lots of practice. Lift your hips up as high as you can and let your head follow, as long as it is comfortable. This looks like a reverse table top position and is called Purvottanasana in yoga. One breath up and one breath down as slow as possible. Start with 3x in a row and build up to ten. Taking a maximum of 3 breath breaks in between with your chin to your chest.
*You are only as young and healthy as your spine is strong and flexible.