Your spine is comprised of 33 vertebral bones, neatly stacked from largest, at the bottom, to smallest, at the top. Fluid-filled intervertebral discs separate each vertebra and act as cushioning shock absorbers that support your upright posture. The squishy discs lose some of their fluid throughout the day. Thus, at the end of the day, your spine is slightly compressed from its natural state. In healthy individuals, the intervertebral fluid naturally replenishes overnight with proper rest and hydration.
Increased spine flexibility and stronger postural muscles can help you stand taller. Spine-lengthening yoga postures elongate key muscle groups for improved skeletal alignment and load distribution up and down the spine. Tried and true yoga poses include mountain pose, downward dog, and wheel. Integrating a five minute pranayama before your asana can also expand your practice and literally breathe life into your spine.
Sushumna, the channel of energy flowing at the spine’s core, once ignited through practice, is like the eye of the storm. It is unaffected by the powerful energies of polarity swirling around it. Sushumna is the hub of your life force energy, the empty space of absolute being within you.
To establish sushuman, focus on the stream of energy flowing at your nose to draw your attention inward along the central nervous system channel, which leads from the base of your nose to the center between your eyebrows and down along your spine. Tuck your chin into your chest and press your shoulders back as you inhale and press the crown of your head into the sky. Every now and then throughout the day, repeat these motions to activate the energy that lives within your spine. Stay hydrated, get the proper amount of sleep, and keep stoking the inner fire of sushumna to keep your body connected and awake.
Om Namaha Shivaya