All You Need to Know About Working with The Lumbar Spine in Yoga

Coordinating steering, pedals, and shifting to drive a vehicle, practicing yoga, walking upright, and performing fancy dance movements—the human body is capable of so many types of movements. How we move or do any of those things highly depends on our anatomy. Even seemingly straightforward movements like running or walking require the complex coordination of several body parts.  

One such part is the lumbar spine, which is critical for our movement, including how we move during yoga. It easily does side-bending, extension, and flexion to help us twist, forward bend, or back-bend. The vertebrae’s shape and arrangement support the ease of movement. In a nutshell, the greater the vertical facet joint orientation and space between the spinous processes, the more backward and forward direction becomes possible.

Due to the lumbar vertebrae’s spacing, orientation, and shape, twisting through the spine’s lower section can be restricted, potentially more than in other parts of the spine. We’ve broken down the categories further to help you understand how the lumbar spine potentially restricts or contributes to the movement.

1- Back Bending

A person can backbend quite easily in the lumbar spine. However, sometimes that’s precisely what gets one in trouble, as being able to bend easily can lead to the practitioner overemphasizing it.

This might sound like one needs to de-emphasize it. But in reality, one must intentionally maximize their ability to back bend throughout the entire spine, including working with the elusive and difficult thoracic spine.

When the pelvis is free to tilt posteriorly, the back-bends activate from the pelvis. This means overemphasis on back bending from the lumbar spine could lead to excessive compression, causing pain or discomfort.

2- Forward Bending

Forward bending is also fairly easy in the lumbar spine, given that the tight hamstrings that hold the pelvis in place or other factors don’t prevent it. A person’s capability to access the hip flexion may diminish if the hamstrings are tight.

Imagine your torso and head’s weight in a forward bend, pulling forward in a single direction when your tight hamstrings also simultaneously prevent the pelvis from rotating frontward at the hip joint. The lumbar spine curve will be abridged, and the forces pulling in contradictory directions can potentially result in pain or discomfort in the lumbar spine area.

3- Twisting

The direction of the facet joints means we don’t twist with ease through the lumbar spine. The bony connections of each vertebra can bump into one another during twists. That’s why it’s essential to be intentional when twisting through the thoracic spine, which allows more easy twisting.

Make sure you’re aware and don’t force more twisting than easily possible through the lumbar spine, as it could induce immense stress on the sacroiliac joint on and below the thoracolumbar junction. Therefore, the goal is to avoid long-term injury or pain by being aware and preventing force when twisting through the lumbar spine.

Wooden yoga blocks

Practicing Safe Yoga

The lumbar spine is inherently a unique human anatomy part that impacts how we move in forward-bends, twists, and backward bends. A deeper understanding and mindfulness during the yoga practice helps conceptualize how you can disperse movement evenly throughout the spine in various poses.

Many Yoga accessories and blocks are available today to help reduce injury chances and increase the ease we feel in yoga. Yoga wrist support blocks by Feelio Blocks help elongate the spine, aid proper alignment, prevent muscle straining, and deepen stretches during restorative yoga sessions. They provide the ultimate wrist support, acting as the perfect tools that aid strength building and balance, from beginner to more advanced poses.

We’ve got a range of innovative products such as yoga wrist support blocks and push-up stand parallettes to assist practitioners in their yoga practice. They’re excellent for relieving the stress on the wrists, making yoga much more enjoyable, and also improving the longevity of one’s practice.

Explore our collection to buy yoga parallettes or yoga block wedges. Get in touch with our experts or subscribe to the YouTube channel to learn more about adding resistance, strengthening grip, and relieving pain, stiffness, and pressure in the wrist, elbows, ribcage, shoulders, and other body parts.