Yoga and Muscle: Erector Spinae

Yoga and Muscle: Erector Spinae

Erector spinae is a group of three variations of muscles directed upwards, like the spinalis for lateral flexion, Longissimus for the spinal extension, Iliocostalis for extension and lateral flexion. Overall this muscle is responsible for the extension of vertebral column and lateral flexion. Another short and deepest muscle which is Multifidus, responsible for a little rotation to the same side. If the movement is an only extension (large muscle) all the times, then the rotation (small muscle) may be disappeared and eventually leads to displacement of vertebral bones or inter-vertebral disc in sideways. That leads to the different conditions like the simple low backache and disc bulge or a hernia. All these lead to a serious condition called Sciatica in future. This muscle especially near to the Center of gravity region (2nd Sacral) may be prone to pathological changes.


Lumbar facet joints are responsible for the vertebral motions and transfer the body weight properly on to the feet. The force because of the gravity and the body weight is more at this region and leads to lumbar pathologies like Spondylosis (degeneration) and degenerative Spondylolisthesis (slipping of vertebral disc or vertebra). The degree of movement is more in the front-back direction (Antero-posterior) (1500-1700) than transverse direction (100-150). Transverse direction movement gradually becomes front-back direction with age. This change is more in the Asian population. This is because of the Erector spinae muscle and its strength. Hence the physical involvement of lumbar region must have the twisting activities in day to day activities. Especially the yoga practices have the counterpose to protect such range of motion. If this point is in mind, people can avoid the most common problems like Low back pain.

Postural problems are progressive in nature, hence the Yoga techniques have to be practiced with awareness on small joints like the vertebral column in the final pose. This should be in association with long deep breath to have the gradual pressure changes (thoracic, pelvis).

Yoga Teacher Training on Erector spinae

Asana: Hastottanasana (Hand stretch pose), Ushtrasana (Camel pose), Chakrasana (Wheel pose) are few different poses in standing, sitting, supine positions, uses the part of all these three varieties of erector spinae and Multifidus muscle. The outward look will seem correct but the inner adjustments cannot be seen. Hence the learner has to take care of such minor actions of these small joint (Inter-vertebral joints). If the learner bend from the only lower part, then there is a chance of the wrong posture over a period of time. At last the wrong pressure on the vertebrae and the inter-vertebral disc leads to Lower back pain, Sciatica etc.

Kriyas: Shankha prakshalana, Nauli and Agnisara are considered to be beneficial as they release the tone of surrounding muscles by fluid changes, energy changes and improved awareness.

Pranayama: Kapalabhati and Bhastrika Pranayama can give a backward pressure to the lumbar region and activates the Erector spinae and Multifidus muscles passively (if they are free). But if the lower lumbar region is already tense, then the benefits will be less and the tone will be more and more. That is how the lumbar Lordosis also develops over a period of time.

Bandha: Uddiyana Bandha and Maha Bandha, Maha mudra will also help allot physically and mentally. These practices will the keep the erector spinae muscles tonic according to the length-tension relationship of an individual.

Chanting: Resonating the body has plenty benefits. That too, the Sanskrit letters, mantras and hymns creates the equilibrium that further enhances the homeostasis.

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