Flexible Spine Exercises

Yogis say that your true age is reflected by the flexibility of your spine. Yoga exercises and back stretches help keep your spine flexible and strong. Exercises for stretching the back also help release stress that may contribute to pain, especially in the shoulders, upper back and lower back. Pain in one area of your back or neck may be caused by tight muscles or fascia in any part of your back. Therefore, stretches should be done to elongate all of the areas of your back along your spine.

Full Back Stretch

The full back stretch exercise stretches the latissimus dorsi muscles of the middle back, the erector spinae of the lower back and connective tissue of the back, such as tendons. A strap is needed for this exercise so you have something to hold onto. Do the full back stretch by securing a yoga strap to a stationary object such as a wooden beam, high pulley or doorway and then grabbing the ends with both hands. Your palms face inward as you stand tall. Then, bend your knees and lower your hips to squat toward the floor. Keep your arms extended over your head, and lower until you feel a stretch in your back.

Spinal Flex

The spinal flex exercise is a Kundalini yoga exercise. It stretches your lower back and is also believed to encourage energy to move up and down your spine. To perform the spinal flex, sit on the floor with your legs crossed comfortably. Sit up straight and grab hold of your ankles. Then, breathe in deeply through your nose as you arch your back. Breathe out and then round your lower back. In yoga, you are also instructed to try to bring energy up your spine to your third eye as you breathe out and to guide the energy back down your spine as you breathe in.

Spinal Flex on Heels

The spinal flex on heels is another Kundalini exercise for the spine. This exercise targets the middle of your back. To do this exercise, kneel on the floor or a yoga mat and sit on your heels. Relax your hands on your lap and sit up straight. Look straight ahead with your chin level to the floor. Then, breathe in deeply through your nose and arch your back. Next, breathe out through your nose and round your back. Keep your shoulders pulled back and down away from your ears during this exercise. You can also try to circulate your energy up and down your spine as described above.

Side Bend

The side bend in this case refers to an exercise that stretches your spine through lateral flexion. Flexing your spine laterally means to bend sideways. This exercise is done standing up tall. Reach your arms toward the ceiling and interlace your fingers. Then, lean to the right by bending at your waist. Your hips and legs do not move. Stand back up tall and then slowly lean to the left.

About this Author

Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since graduating cum laude from Syracuse University in 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor.