Acupoints along the Du Mai meridian are often leveraged to increase back and spine strength and alleviate pain associated with bulging discs and arthritis. In between your acupuncture appointments, there are many simple stretches and poses you can do at home to lengthen and strengthen the muscles along your spine. Even a few minutes each day can make a big difference. Here are two simple yoga poses to build back strength, supporting you in all you do each day.
A staple of many modern yoga classes, flowing through cat and cow poses is a great way to slowly warm up your spine and introduce gentle movement. Set up this pose by kneeling on your hands and knees, making sure to stack your knees directly below your hips and your wrists directly below your shoulders to protect your joints. On your inhales, drop your belly toward the floor and bring your gaze up toward the ceiling. On your exhales, arch through your spine, bringing your gaze in toward your belly button. Flow through these two postures, inhaling into cow pose and exhaling into cat pose as many times as you like. Try to move through each vertebrae each time you transition to access movement and stretching along the entire length of your spine.
Another very common pose, cobra pose is a great way to strengthen your spine without putting too much pressure on your joints, keeping you safe from injury. For this posture, lie flat on your stomach, and bend your elbows to place your hands directly under your shoulders with your forehead resting on the ground. As you inhale, lift your head and upper back off the floor, keeping your chin slightly tucked so your spine is still in one long line. Don’t use the strength of your arms to lift you off the ground, but rather just use the strength of your spine. It’s okay if you don’t lift up very far; you’re building muscle no matter how far off the ground you get.
These two poses are a very low-impact way to incorporate movement and spinal strengthening into each day. Just like eating well after working out will support your muscles in growing even stronger, stretching and exercising in between acupuncture appointments will have a cumulative effect on each treatment, allowing the therapy to do even more for your health.