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  • Anatomy of the Spine

    December 31, 2019 2 min read

    The spine runs vertically up and down the back of your body. It consists of bones, ligaments, a spinal cord, nerves, muscles, intervertebral discs, and other connective tissue. It also contains your cerebral spinal fluid.

    Anatomy of the Spine l The Community Hub l Mukha Yoga

    The vertebral column is comprised of 33 spongy bones stacked upright from largest at the bottom to smallest at the top. The C1 vertebra at the top of the column, directly underneath the base of the skull, is like Atlas: it holds up the world. The axis is vertebral body C2. Located immediately under C1, it enables our ability to turn our head from side to side and nod our head up and down.

    The articulating vertebrae of the spinal column are divided into three distinct sections: the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. The cervical spine has seven vertebral bodies, numbered C1 - C7, and can be found in the neck. The thoracic spine is where the ribs attach. It has twelve vertebrae, T1 - T12. Five strong vertebral bodies make up the lumbar spine at the lower back. Under the articulating vertebrae, the sacrum integrates five fused bone sections, S1 - S5. And finally, the coccyx, known as the tailbone, is four small bones fused together in the shape of an upside down triangle.

    Anatomy of the Spine l The Community Hub l Mukha Yoga

    There are four curves in the human spine. The cervical curvature is the nape of the neck. The thoracic curvature creates the strong chest container. The lumbar curvature creates the pelvic bowl which houses the reproductive organs along with some organs of elimination. The lumbar vertebrae are made of strong hard bone. They are thick and dense based on their design and function to bear the weight of the entire upright spine. Four spinal curves make up the sacral curvature, which tells the sacrum to point the tailbone downward.

    Intervertebral discs are found all along the entire spine in between each bone. These spongy circles have a fibrous outer container and a pulpous central nucleus. They act as shock absorbers and expand and contract based on the water content of the body, so drink more water to protect the health of your spine. Proper postural alignment combined with proper hydration, muscle tone, and connective tissue elasticity are key for a long healthy spine.

    A complex network of spinal nerves and nerve roots travels up and down the spine, allowing the brain to regulate all living systems for homeostasis, optimal function, and wellbeing. Information perpetually travels through this complex fiberoptics superhighway at processing speeds yet to be rivaled by any computer. This living information is relayed throughout the body in the form of electrical impulses, chemical exchanges, neurotransmitters, transporters, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. The spiritual channel, sushumna, taught by the ancient yogis, is the vagus nerve of the central nervous system, which connects the brain to every organ in the human body, including the skin, which is the largest organ of all.

    The human spine is a work of architectural design, a state of the art in terms of form and function.

    Zia Estrella l Mukha YogaBy Zia Estrella; All Rights Reserved @2019