Build support around your spine using deep core work and exploration of all the movements of the spine. The six common movements of the spine in yoga include flexion (forward bending), extension (back bending), lateral flexion (side bending) right, lateral flexion (side bending) left, twisting right, and twisting left. Many yoga teachers also refer to a seventh movement of the spine called axial extension, which is an overall lengthening of the spine by reducing the curves in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) sections of the spine. The human spine is made up of different segments that have gentle curves to create suppleness and flexibility for yoga movements. The lowest part of the spine includes the coccyx (tail bone) as well as the sacrum, five vertebra fused together into one triangle shaped bone at the base of the spine. Above the sacrum is the lumbar spine, made of five large vertebra that have a moderate amount of movement and flexibility. Above the lumbar spine is the thoracic spine made of 12 vertebra connected to the ribcage that have more range of motion than the lumbar. The cervical spine includes the top seven vertebra in the neck and has a large potential range of motion. Yoga for the spine can be beneficial to find healthy spinal movement to support your yoga practice and other activities in your life. Gaia’s online yoga practices for spine strength and flexibility range from slow yin-style practices to more active vinyasa yoga practices. Remember that there are no quick fixes for back pain - listen to your body during your yoga practice. If you have specific questions about your spinal health, please consult your doctor.

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