11/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Everyday Yoga: Roll With It, Baby

Your spine is literally the backbone of your health. One of the keys to aging gracefully is keeping your spine flexible. Whether you are 22 or 72, when you engage in movements that bend, arch, and twist your spine daily, you will enjoy more physical energy, mental clarity, and emotional wellbeing.

Try this simple exercise to awaken your spine.

1. You can do this sitting at your chair (a better option if you suffer from low back pain) or standing. In both cases, bring your feet hip-width apart with the outer edges parallel.

2. Stay here for a few moments, sitting or standing tall, and start to bring your attention to your breath. Gradually let your breath extend until your inhalation and exhalation are about five counts each.

3. From where you are, on your next inhale, sit or stand a little bit taller. Lengthen from your waistline to your shoulders. On your next exhalation, lower your head so the chin folds over the chin. Then round your shoulders forward. Let each part of the spine gradually roll forward, letting your upper body fall through your thighs. You may be able to reach the floor with your palms flat. Otherwise, try to hold onto your ankles or shins. The idea is to let your head drop lower than your hips. Stay here for a few breaths. If you are standing, feel free to bend your knees if you like.

4. On an inhale, slowly roll up, bit by bit, so that your head is the last to come up and you find length in your spine once again. For more support, place your hands on your thighs.

5. Continue this for 3-5 minutes. Then sit quietly with your eyes closed, bringing your attention back to your natural breath once again. Notice any differences between how you feel now and when you first began.