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How to Lengthen the Spine With Yoga

author image Martha Premie
Martha Premie began writing in 2001. She is a licensed acupuncturist in Asheville, North Carolina, where she also teaches yoga and consults individuals on holistic health and nutrition. She has been published by the "Mountain Express Asheville" and "Take 5." Premie holds a degree in literature from SD Mesa College and a Traditional Chinese Medicine degree from the Daoist Traditions School of Chinese Medicine.
How to Lengthen the Spine With Yoga
Practice yoga postures to decompress and lengthen your spine. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Yoga is a practice consisting of a set of postures that enable your body to become more flexible and strong. Certain yoga postures, or asanas, can help you decompress and lengthen your spine, allowing you to have a more aligned posture. You should perform your yoga asanas at your own pace and be gentle with your progress to obtain maximum benefits from this practice. Two of the most beneficial poses for this are Uttanasana and a combination of Marjaryasana and Bitilasana.


Step 1

Stand straight with your hands by your side and your feet touching and firmly grounded to the floor for Uttanasana, or Standing Forward Bend.

Step 2

Inhale, and raise your arms up above your head. As you exhale hinge at the hips and bring your arms down so your fingertips touch your toes. If this hurts your hamstrings, bend your knees as much as needed for your comfort. Your objective is to lengthen your spine and not to stretch your hamstrings.

Step 3

Hold the pose for at least five full breaths, and on an inhale, come back up, lifting one vertebra at a time and allowing your head to come up last. Raise your arms up above your head and back down to meet in prayer position as you exhale.

Step 4

Repeat this sequence two or three times.

Marjaryasana and Bitilasana Combination

Step 1

Get on your hands and knees with a flat spine to begin in a tabletop position. The combination of Marjaryasana and Bitilasana is also referred to as Cat/Cow pose. Your wrists must be in line with your elbows and shoulders, and your hips should be in line with your knees.

Step 2

Inhale, and lower your belly as your chest and sit bones lift up towards the ceiling. Raise your head to look up, and hold the posture for one full breath. This part of the set is called Cow pose, or Bitiliasana.

Step 3

Exhale, and bring your chest and sit bones back down. Once you reach a neutral position with your spine, keep going by rounding your spine toward the ceiling and lowering your head to look at the floor. Hold this posture for one full breath. This is the Cat pose, or Marjaryasana.

Step 4

Inhale, and bring your spine back to neutral position. From here, you can continue on to another set of Cat/Cow pose, and keep going from one posture to the other for up to five minutes.

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