4 Secrets of How Yoga Prevents Spinal Deterioration As You Age




It should come as no surprise to you that joints and bones deteriorate as we age. Mainstream media would have us think that we can look and feel eternally youthful until we die. But that simply isn’t true.

Aging is natural. Aging gracefully takes work!

One of the biggest struggles many people face as they age is back pain due to spinal deterioration and degenerative disc disease. 

Even long time practitioners of yoga will, eventually, experience back pain and spine limitations.

We love a good group yoga class as much as the next yogi, but sometimes we need more guidance in our yoga practice to help us navigate the physical changes and challenges that present themselves during our later years of life.

The good news? Yoga helps prevent back pain due to spinal deterioration. As a matter of fact, yoga delays – and can prevent – the onset of spinal degeneration. And we’re going to dish the deets on how!

If you’re on the hunt for more guidance on how to cure back pain and prevent spinal deterioration, or just looking for expert instruction and personalized attention, we invite you to check out MyYogaTeacher’s 1:1 classes with your 2-week free trial here! 

With MYT’s 1:1 Membership Plans, you get private, personalized sessions with your favorite yoga teachers, unlimited group classes (over 35 different ones), and recordings of your 1:1 sessions and group classes! 

This is especially helpful for yogis who are experienced but are ready to up their yoga game and experience even more benefits from their yoga practice.

Now, on to the secret sauce to how yoga helps prevent late-life back pain and problems.

Prasarita Padottanasana

 1. Yoga elongates your spine.

One of the primary sources of degenerative disc disease is spinal compression. Spinal compression increases inflammation in the spine and causes friction in the discs.

Studies show that yoga instructors who have been practicing yoga for 10 years or more have significantly fewer signs, if any, of degenerative disc disease compared to those who don’t practice yoga or those who haven’t practiced yoga long or consistently.

With the number of people in the United States spending more and more time sitting for work or leisure activities, it’s a fair assumption that diseases of the spine may well be on the rise.

Of particular note, these same studies discuss the importance of proper alignment when practicing yoga and how inadvertently doing poses wrong can harm your spine. 

So if you’re unsure about whether you’re aligned or not during your practice, we encourage you to seek out a yoga teacher or advanced yogi who can help with that!


2. Yoga decreases weight-bearing on the spine.

Your skeleton literally bears a lot of weight, particularly your spine. Think about how much weight your cervical spine holds – an average of 11 lbs!

That’s right. Your neck is composed of 7 vertebrae and is responsible for holding up (and keeping safe) your head, which averages about 5 kg or 11 lbs. While the rest of your spine is pretty sturdy and capable of holding up to about 1,000 lbs, it is still significantly affected by the weight it carries, especially if there is excess weight around your midsection.

Reducing the weight on the spine allows for more nutrients to diffuse into the discs. Ever wonder why you feel so light and airy and radiant when you finish your yoga practice? 

Yep, it’s because you gave your body more nutrients and oxygen!

Sounds simple, right? But sometimes you just don’t know all the right moves for your body to get the most out of your yoga practice.

If that’s the case, regular 1:1 sessions with an experienced yoga teacher (either virtually or in person) might be exactly what you need!

Chaturanga Dandasana

3. Yoga increases muscle strength.

If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you already have firsthand experience with how yoga improves your strength and mobility.

Yoga not only strengthens the tiny muscles surrounding your spine, but a regular yoga practice protects your spine from deterioration by building up your core and improving your posture. Two things that definitely impact your spinal health.

Degenerative disc disease and spinal deterioration are considered a “normal” part of aging. By the age of 40, most people have at least one degenerative disc. By the age of eighty, 80% of the American population has severe spinal deterioration.

Exercise of almost any kind is shown to help reduce signs of aging, particularly in your spine. However, yoga has an even greater positive impact on spinal health because of the multi-faceted benefits it provides!

While Hatha yoga is the most popular form of yoga because it’s gentle and slower, experienced yogis may practice other forms of yoga that benefit spinal health, such as Ashtanga and Iyengar.

However, if practiced wrong, those practices may injure instead of heal and prevent spinal disease, causing back pain and limited movement.

If you’re interested in growing in your yoga journey but are not sure about the quality of your form, your alignment, or are trying to cure your back pain, we encourage you to check out the 1-on-1 plans MyYogaTeacher has available!

Making personalized attention from expert yoga instructors affordable and accessible is important to us because we truly believe in the power of yoga to heal!

Not all forms of exercise specifically improve posture and muscle strength around the spine like yoga does.

Viparita Virabhadrasana

4. Long-term yoga practice reduces inflammation

We’ve talked about how yoga reduces inflammation in the body before. But when we think of inflammation, we don’t tend to think about the spine.

Stress responses produce systemic inflammation, which means no area of the body is immune. Injuries and surgeries also cause inflammation. Pain, in general, emotional, mental, or physical, increases cortisol levels.

When the muscles surrounding the spine are inflamed, back pain ensues, even if that inflammation isn’t directly from spinal issues.

A regular yoga practice reduces back pain. Yoga cures back pain too!

One of the primary benefits of yoga is reduced inflammation in the body, a result of lower stress levels. Spinal deterioration is often more progressive when there is consistent inflammation in the muscles surrounding the spine.

This means that the more you regularly practice yoga, the less back pain you will experience.

Not only are you preventing back issues by strengthening your spinal muscles and core, you're relieving tension with stretches and reducing friction between the vertebrae and discs due to reduced levels of inflammation.

Maybe you’re an experienced yogi who knew this already. Maybe you’re not! Or maybe you are at an age where protecting your spine and preventing spinal problems is more challenging than it was a decade or two ago.

Whatever the case, MyYogaTeacher is here to help! When you sign up for a 1:1 membership with us you get:

  • 102 expert, highly qualified yoga instructors to choose from
  • The ability to switch instructors or take classes with only your faves

  • Access to unlimited group classes, taught live

  • Personalized instruction and work out, diet, and lifestyle plans

  • To be a member of a HUGE community of happy yogis from around the world

  • Yoga teachers who become friends, who truly care about you!

If you haven’t checked us out already, grab TWO FREE 1:1 sessions with your 2-week free trial here!

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