5 yoga poses for a strong and flexible spine

Yoga poses to help improve and maintain healthy movement, flexibility and strength of the spine.

Esther Ekhart in Downward dog

There is a saying that you are only as young as your spine is flexible. If that is the case, the question arises, what should and can we minimally do every day to keep our spine as strong, flexible and healthy as possible?

There are 5 major movements that the spine makes:

  • Flexion, rounds the spine forward
  • Extension, rounds the spine back
  • Rotation, twists the spine
  • Side bending/Lateral flexion of the spine
  • Axial extension, decompresses and vertically elongates the spine

During a yoga class we usually practice all of these five movements. Unloading the spine through axial extension is what makes us often feel particularly good.

In daily life we tend to forget to take our spine through its full range of movements, the spine as a result gets stiffer and loses its fluidity.

A stiff or misaligned spine also has an effect on areas way beyond the spine.
Chiropractors and osteopaths even claim the health of the spine has an effect on the health of your organs since there are nerve endings or fascia that connect everything together. This would then explain the claim that you are as young as your spine is flexible. 

Flexibility is a personal affair and looks completely different from one spine to another.

Just a side note that flexibility is a personal affair. Flexibility looks completely different from one spine to another. It鈥檚 about maintaining the flexibility and fluidity in your spine. Not to get the spine of your neighbour.

5 yoga poses for a healthy spine

I have included a choice of two yoga poses for each movement of the spine. Pick 5 to do every day, to at least maintain but gradually increase the fluidity, flexibility, strength and health of your spine.


Child’s pose or Cat pose


sphinx cobra or cow
Sphinx / Cobra or聽Cow pose


Simple Seated Twist or Marichyasana

Side bend

Standing Side Bend or Triangle pose
Standing Side Bend or Triangle pose

Axial extension

Upward Salute Pose or Downward Facing Dog Pose
Upward Salute Pose or Downward Facing Dog Pose

Try out this 6-minute practice:

Practice the 5 movements of the spine that will keep your spine young, healthy, strong and flexible. Doing these movements regularly prevents back pain and improves the quality of your experience of your physical body.

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Esther EkhartEsther Ekhart, face and founder of EkhartYoga, brings years of personal yoga and meditation practice, therapy training and study of yoga philosophy into her teaching.