One of the best ways to avoid back problems is to keep the spine supple and back muscles toned. Many yoga exercises do just that and a daily routine will help maintain the health of your back and neck. This paritcular exercise called Pavan Muktasan (nose to knee) offers a gentle stretch of back and neck muscles. Lay relaxed on the back with arms beside the body. Breathe in and bend the right leg, taking hold of the knee with both hands. While breathing out, gently pull the thigh towards the chest, at the same time raise the head and draw nose and knee towards each other. The left leg remains straight on the floor. Breathe in again and slowly lower the head back to the floor. Breathe out and release the knee, straighten the leg and lower it to the floor. Repeat the exercise with the other leg. Practice slowly, three times each side.
Benefits: Gently stretches the muslces of the neck, back and hips. Massages the lower abdominal organs, thereby assisting with digestion and may help relieve menstrual problems.
Reference: Yoga in Daily Life – The System by Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. View Level One of the Yoga in Daily Life System online to be guided in exercises to help maintain good back health and learn more about the philosophy of Yoga via www.swamiji.tv