Expanding on spinal health, side flexion of the spine is a move that I love to incorporate in my practice and when I teach. I like to visualize we are creating space for our organs to work effectively and efficiently. We can flex the spine while we are in a seated posture, table top, but my favourite way of flexing the spine side to side is when I am standing.
Ground down both feet, hip distance apart, reach the arms above your head, clasping the fingers and release the index fingers. Feel length of the spine as you inhale and then side bend to one side keeping your nose, heart, and belly button facing forward. Visualize the space between the ribs are expanding and making space for the lungs and other organs to do their job. You can choose to hold there for a few breaths, thinking length versus crunching in the side. I like to inhale lengthening up and bending to the side with an exhale. Inhale lengthen back to centre and then make my way to the other side. Imagining that you are between two panes of glass to ensure it is a true side flexion. Containment of the abdomen will also protect the lower back.
In addition to side flexion of the spine, I like to look down and bring the top should down to get a stretch diagonally across the back. Breathing in space towards the back of the ribs and lungs. It appears to look like improper form, but should feel nice and juicy. I encourage my yogis to do this if they need to get oxygen to their brain after sitting down for long periods at time. Keeping the spine limber is essential to overall physical and mental health. Healthy spine, healthy life.
Below is a video of the movement I do to explore side flexion of the spine in my practice and in my classes. I invite you to press play and come play! Namaste.