In terms of our anatomy, the spinal column is an engineering work of art. Getting up on two legs – evolving from bipeds to quadrupeds – allowed us humans to see further and freed up our hands to carry tools and perform other tasks. It also conserved energy. Comparisons have shown that humans walking on two legs consume only a quarter of the energy that chimpanzees use while knuckle-walking on all fours.
The changes in the spine’s relationship to gravity did, however, come at a cost. Because the spine developed into a weight-bearing column from the ‘suspension bridge’ design of our distant ancestors, it is a structure that can become stressed more easily.
In yoga when we do forward bends, we need to be respectful of the natural curves of the back and be especially aware when, as more than not, our backs don’t conform to those natural curves. Some yoga practitioners may be over-flexible and need to develop back strength; others need more suppleness.
Supta padangusthasana 1
Virasana, with arms o/head
Adho mukha virasana/Adho mukha svanasana x 5
1. Tadasana/Urdhva hastansa/Uttanasana x5
2. Tadasana/Utkatasana/Uttanasana x5
3. Tadasana/Utkatasana/Uttanasana/Urdhva Prasarita ekapadasana – both sides
Sirsasana or Adho mukha Vrskasana & Pincha Mayurasana
1. Dandasana/Paschimottanasana/Navasana x3
2. Dandasana/Paschimottanasana/Ubhaya padangusthasana x 3
3. Dandasana/Paschimottanasana/Malasana x 3
4. Dandasana/Paschimottanasana/Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana
Upavistha Konasana 1 & 2
Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana
Bharadavajasana 1 & 2
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1