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News and views from the yoga world

How to look after your spine!


Your precious spine

The spine is the central motorway for the nervous system of the body. It delivers messages from every part of your body, directly to your brain.
Keep the spine healthy and flexible and you will be looking after and nourishing your nervous system.

98% of people have stiffness in the lower spine. Stiffness can also be found across the collar bone. 

Yogi’s say that you are only as young as your spine is flexible.

Benefits of mobilising the spine

People often store stress in their body that then manifests as knotted muscles. Releasing the trapped energy increases confidence. 

A lot of stiffness that manifests as pain and discomfort, is often rooted from a deeper feeling of fear. The fear builds up in childhood. As an adult this tension becomes a habit and one may continue to hold all fear in the body. It then becomes locked in.

During mobilisation of the spine, it is this trapped energy that we are trying to release through the gentle practice of yoga. When fear is released  from along the spine, you will feel free and energised. 

Use the breath to help open and release the body during your yoga practice.

Things to remember when practicing a Spinal Twist

A spinal twist will wring out your body and release tension.

On the release of the twist the organs and muscles are cleaned and nourished as freshly oxygenated blood flows in.

The entire spine is involved. Muscles linking the vertebrae are toned, balanced and strengthened.

The spine is the M1 of the body.  Looking after the spine is nourishing to the whole of the nervous system. All the senses are energised. It is most important to relax and lengthen the spine first before attempting deeper postures.

Lengthening creates space between the vertebrae which allows the twist to be stronger and deeper and therefore more beneficial.

Rotating the spine to its maximum releases tension and so not only improves circulation but also releases a lot of trapped energy.

The position of the legs also helps to massage inner organs to improve digestion and elimination.

In every good Yoga class there will be a spinal twist, a forward bend, a sideways bend, a back bend and postures in which you would lie down, sit and stand.

Every Yoga session will contain BLISS
B – Back - floor based postures
L – Lying on front
I – Inverted (i.e. dog)
S – Standing
S – Seated

Spiritual benefits of looking after the spine

The spine is an important part of our spiritual development. We have 7 chakras situated along it. When working with the spine we are working on these 7 chakras.

The body sends energy around its system through the nadis. You could think of them in a similar way to blood being transported through veins and capillaries. The nadis entwine round the spine, and use it to carry prana (energy) throughout our bodies.

Kundalini energy lies at the base of the spine in the form or a serpent. As you practice yoga and cleanse the body, the practice will begin to raise this energy so that the serpents head moves towards the crown chakra, leaving its tail at the base.  It is also said that Shakti, the female god resides at the base of the spine, while Shiva the male god resides at the crown. When you raise kundalini, Shakti and Shiva meet, this is known as a cosmic orgasm and brings self realisation.

Anatomy of the spine

The spine is made up of three sections;

Cervical – the seven vertebrae of the neck.

Thoracic - twelve chest vertebrae that support the rib cage. 

Lumbar – the five vertebrae of the lower back. This area of the spine supports the weight of the head and the torso.

There is also the Pelvis and the Sacrum. 

The sacrum is five bones that are fused together. There are also three to five bones that form the coccyx. 

The pelvis is not as likely to be damaged during a yoga practice, but it does form the base to most postures.

Posture safety


Postures such as headstand and shoulder stand can damage the cervical vertebrae by grinding them into the floor and over time wearing them.

Use a blanket under your neck to help cushion the bones from rubbing on the floor. You must also avoid turning the head whilst in a shoulder stand, headstand or bridge. This can damage the vertebrae, tendons or ligaments that run throughout the length of the spine. 

Backbends and Twists

Backbends and twists are centred round the thoracic vertebrae, so over twisting or bending can cause damage here. You should always be body aware and never twist further than is comfortable. When performing a spinal twist, the spine must be fully extended. As people age, their vertebrae can knit together. This means that any twist that is performed without having released the spine first, won’t be fully beneficial. It could also put pressure on the spinal column and trap or damage some of the delicate nerves that run along it. Do not use the arm to mobilise a twist, it should only be used to support it.

The lumbar region of the spine is barely able to rotate, its main purpose is supporting weight. Over twisting in this area will place a greater strain on the lower thoracic vertebrae. 

Forward bending

Always remember to keep your head lifted and your spine extended during forward bends. This helps bear some of the weight that your lower back has to endure when carrying the weight of your head down to your toes. 

If your hamstrings are tight or if you have a tender lower back, bend your knees when practicing forward bends; whether standing or sitting or lying flat on your back.

Spinal movement

The spine is self supporting. The structure of the ligaments, cartilage and bones mean that it does not rely on the muscles surrounding it to keep it together. Freeing the tight muscles that surround the spine frees the spine by giving it back its natural movement and energy. 

Without the restriction placed on it by the tight muscles surrounding it, our spine can return to its natural alignment. 

The spine can bend in four ways, forwards, backwards and from side to side.


It is always important to counter pose postures in a yoga class. If you have done a spinal twist or a back bend, you can counter pose this with a forward bend, or the coil position. Downward dog is an excellent position for realigning the body.

If you have any questions regarding the benefits yoga can bring to your back, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Love Carrie-Anne. x

Valentines Yoga - Bring your partner or guest - No charge


Hello Yogis.

It is always a pleasure to share yoga and meditation with you each week. 

In celebration of Valentines day, the yoga classes I offer on week commencing Monday 11th February, will be offered for FREE to any partner/guest of a paying guest; subject to booking and availability and excluding the Gym classes I teach.

Spots will be offered on a first come, first served basis!

Why not share the love and benefits of yoga with those nearest and dearest to you!

Find and book a class.

*places are non transferable or refundable

Forgiveness - A poem



For me to forgive you, I must first forgive myself. 

Each time you make me angry, I am angry within myself. 

Each time you cause me pain, I place the pain within myself.

Your negative words, I hear through my inner voice inside my own mind. 

Even when you are far away, I keep your painful reactions so close to my heart. 

I choose to sit quietly with the calming flow of each healing breath. 

I choose to feel the loving and forgiving beat of my own heart.

In this space, in this moment, I see you as the hurt inside your own heart and offer compassion. 

Sending a healing light of unconditional acceptance to the inner child you are. 

I release your pain back to the Universe, asking the light of the moon’s motherly love to dissolve it for you. 

Illuminating a new road ahead, where you are free to step into your own loving power and where I feel free to be my energy, free from holding that which is not mine. 

With love and light - May you shine! 

Xxx written by Carrie-Anne Bridel

Spring Equinox Celebration Evening - 20th March


The spring equinox is a time for celebrating the place of balance between darkness and light, as the days and nights become equal in length, there is said to be a fight between these forces.

This is a time of great spiritual significance; as we are drawn away from the darkness, by the light as it battles for dominance. 

Reflectively, this is often the place we find ourselves in when moving into a more awakened state of consciousness. 

Our darkness become illuminated as the light draws forth. At this point it is important to turn towards the light for guidance, whilst accepting the duality and lessons learned as we move slowly away from the unconscious beliefs we have been holding.

In light of this, we will be looking to create balance and to find a true footing within our practice, our life and our relationships.

You will enjoy an evening of gentle yoga that is designed to bring a balance between the body, the mind and emotion.

While flowing gently through some postures, and delicately holding others with the use of props for an effortless feel, you will watch your body and mind disappear into a well of space and deep inner peace.

The yoga will be followed by a calming meditation and soothing gong bath to celebrate the clearing away of darker traits to make way for illumination and connection to one’s inner light.

You may choose to receive Reiki while the gongs are being played softly and soothingly.

We will then close the event with some nibbles and a cup of tea or coffee and the opportunity to chat.

You will need to bring 2 large bath towels, 2 blankets and a pillow with you for use during the session. Please do bring your yoga mat if you have one, alternatively please do let me know prior to the event if you need to borrow one so I can ensure I have enough,

I anticipate this event to fill quickly so places are secured on receipt of payment.

If you would like further details prior to booking, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Event Schedule:

6.15pm doors open for a prompt start at 6.30pm.

Yoga 6.30pm-7.30pm
Guided meditation 7.30pm-7.40pm
Soothing Gong Relaxation with optional Reiki 7.40pm-8.40pm
Tea and Nibbles 8.40pm-9.00pm


Church of the Holy Trinity
Balmoral Road

Early Bird Booking Price of £25 before 28th February
£30, thereafter.*

Should you prefer to pay via bank transfer, please do contact me for details.

*Payment is non-refundable and non-transferable. 

Yoga is for life - Not Just for Christmas - Timetable Changes



Yoga & Sound Relaxation

Time: 7.30pm-9.00pm

Venue: Church of the Holy Trinity, Balmoral Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, NN2 6PQ

Cost: £9.00 drop in or £30 for 4 weeks

Contact me to book your place

No Classes on 24th December and 31st December
Classes Open Monday 7th January 2019



Time: 11.30am - 12.30pm

Venue: Wootton Community Centre, Curtlee Hill, Wootton, Northampton, NN4 6ED

Cost: £8.50 drop in or £30 for 4 weeks

Contact me to book your place

No Classes on 25th December and 1st January 
Classes Open Tuesday 8th January 2019


Yoga & Relaxation

Yoga: 6.30pm to 7.45pm

Relaxation: 8:00pm to 9:00pm

(7.45pm-8.00pm - Tea and Biscuits are provided)

Venue: Church of the Holy Trinity, Balmoral Road, Northampton, NN2 6PQ.

Cost: Yoga £9.00 drop in £30 for 4 weeks


Meditation FREE

Gong £10

Contact me to book your place

No Classes on 26th December 
Classes Open Wednesday 2nd January 2019


Friday Yoga Mornings

Time: 11.00am - 12.00pm

Venue: Wootton Community Centre, Curtlee Hill, Wootton, Northampton, NN4 6ED

Cost: £8.50 drop in or £30 for 4 weeks

Contact me to book your place

No Classes on 28th December 
Classes Open Friday 4th January 2019

Don't forget about the 2 wonderfully relaxing evenings I have planned on the run up to Christmas.

To join me on any of the above classes, please do not hesitate to make contact.

Please note that the 4 week block payments are non-redundable. You can however join us for one of the other weekly classes running within that same week, subject to availability. Block booking price is valid for a minimum of 3 weeks and payable on week one.

Love Carrie-Anne. X

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