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Yoga for Spinal Health

Ropes Dog Pose to stabilize the pelvis & lengthen the spine

Spine health affects our whole being (physical, mental, and emotional). When the vertebrae aren’t doing their designated tasks then the organs, our thinking and our emotions can all be severely compromised, in many cases without our conscious awareness.

Each region of the spine has its own essential function and way of moving. When compromised by poor posture, accidents, health issues, or lack of exercise, the nervous system becomes frayed; we can experience exhaustion, heaviness, and lack of enthusiasm for life. Yoga encourages overall well-being through spinal health. Individualized problem areas can be identified and students can move in the direction of optimum health and vitality.

Spinal Regions & their Purposes

Coccyx (tailbone) is integral to balance and to the strength of the floor of the pelvis. This strength is what makes it possible for us to stand upright.

Iliac Bones (hip bones) are the wings of the pelvis. The frontal hipbones should go up toward the chest. The “sits bones” – the bottom bones of the iliac – should point straight down toward the earth. These bones serve much as the foundation does to a building.

Sacrum (sacred spine) is the naturally fused part of the spine (5 vertebrae) just above the tailbone serving as the bridge between the remainder of the spine above and the pelvic girdle (iliac bones) and legs below.

Lumbar vertebrae are thick, wide and broad allowing them to effectively carry the gross weight of the body.

The Thoracic Spine serves as the scaffolding for our lungs and heart. These smaller vertebrae have longer attachments to ribs, muscles and connective tissues permitting greater mobility and flexibility where it is needed. (Think of how each breath causes the torso to move outward and inward!)

The Cervical Spine provides mobility and stability for the head, giving critical support for our vital sense organs, the nervous system, vascular system, lymph system, etc.

When Vertebral Regions Don’t Function Well

Tailbone: The tailbone belongs tucked inside the body. Injury or postural misalignment here can disturb balance and weaken the pelvic floor.

Iliac: Poor habits of posture often misalign these pelvic bones causing spinal compressions, core strength weakness and sometimes neck/shoulder pain.

Sacrum: The sciatic nerves weaves through the sacral joints. When out of alignment, pain can be quite severe, radiating into the front of the hips and down the legs. This subsequently can affect pelvic strength as well as the natural circular movement of the pelvis when walking.

Lumbar: Low back pain is a leading health problem around the world. When the legs don’t properly support the trunk then the lumbar vertebrae weaken; we lose the proper balance of core muscles, leg muscles, and hip muscles.

Thoracic: Heart and lung function as well as digestive and endocrine organs (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen) are all impacted by the lack of movement in this upper spinal region. Misalignment of the neck and head often originate in this region.

Cervical Spine: The essential tasks of the arms, the head and the sense organs (taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing) are vulnerable to reduced mobility and instability in the cervical spine. Misalignment of the head in relationship to the neck and torso puts unnatural pressure on the brain and its optimum functioning.

The Yogic Approach

Yoga helps re-educate the body so that optimum postural alignment is attained. Through dynamic, expressive poses, learning to give focused attention over longer periods of time, discovering how it feels to be in proper alignment, and coordinating breathing with movement, we train the body how to stand, move, and become more balanced and harmonious with strength and flexibility … naturally. With a light-hearted attitude and an increased ability to concentrate, we can change the habits of a lifetime, improve our health, reduce pain and uplift our spirits.

OSYC Specializes in Individualized Instruction

Whether in our regularly scheduled weekly classes, specialized classes or workshops, at OSYC instructors prioritize student-specific modifications. As practice improves, more advanced/subtle coaching is provided that helps each student progress at a healthful pace. Private Sessions are available for those with issues that need ongoing, hands-on attention; something that cannot be provided in group classes. A weekly Yoga Therapeutics class is also available for those who aren’t able to join general classes due to limitations in movement, surgery recovery, etc. Sometimes even case-specific attention for ongoing students is needed for a period of time, and these issues can be addressed in the weekly therapeutics class as well.

Upcoming for the Spring

Please see our website for details:; or call Lauren at 928-367-4636.

• Yoga for the Spine (Fridays, Mar 20-Apr 24, 10-11:30 am) A 6-session yoga therapeutics class for all levels and abilities; Special rates apply

• Yoga and Your Spiritual Path (Wednesdays, Apr 22, 29 & May 6, 9:30 – 11 am) A 3-session living philosophy class drawing from the Bible, Yoga Sutras, Buddhist & Taoist teachings

• Yoga for your Bones (Friday & Saturday, May 1 & 2) A 2-day yoga workshop for Osteopenia & Osteoporosis with Special Guest Instructor, Josie Lazarus (Santa Fe, NM)

• Tai-Chi (Saturdays, beginning May 9th, 11am-12noon) Two 6-week class series covering the first thirteen postures and movements of the long Yang form

Please view our year-round Weekly Schedule that includes yoga classes for beginners, intermediates and seniors. We also offer expert meditation instruction for all levels each Sunday from 9-10:15 am. In the summer we offer Flow Yoga and Yin Yoga classes. Join us anytime.

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