Move the Spine: Choosing & Arranging Poses

It’s generally accepted that a balanced yoga practice will move the spine in each of its directions:

Forward Bending


Lateral Movement


Spinal Extension / Axial Extension / Elongation


See Also

There is Generally One Spinal Movement at a Time

While we can achieve movements in multiple directions at the same time at the hips, it is much more rare to move the spine in multiple directions at the same time. This fact means that if we want to move the spine through all six degrees of freedom, we will need six postures to do so. However, we can add movements at the hips while we target the spine, as shown in Figure 2 which shows a student in Saddle pose: she is internally rotating her hips while extending the spine. (If she were lying flat on the floor she would have very little, if any, extension occurring in her lower back.) –