Yoga is usually practiced to reach a body-mind-spirit balance that improves your general state of health. Yoga instructors also recommend this mild type of physical exercise for weight loss, metabolism improvements and psychological relief (as yoga alleviates anxiety, stress, depression and so on).
Recent studies showed that Yoga can also improve memory better than brain exercises strategies and many Yoga practitioners emphasize on this type of physical training as a healthy remedy for many bone and muscle-related illnesses. And since back pain is one of the greatest enemies of the modern man, it is easy to put two and two together and wonder if Yoga can be used as an alternative treatment for such recurring health issue.
Lower Back Pain and Yoga – What is the Connection?
Chronic lower back pain affects millions of Americans and tens of millions of people all around the world. We sit too much, we don’t exercise enough, we don’t eat and sleep well – such factors cannot be neglected when talking about lower back pain. This condition is, unfortunately, hard to tackle. From an anatomical point of view, we stress and torture our hamstring muscles and the iliopsoas muscles every time we sit for coffee or work endless hours behind the computer. These muscles, not properly trained or, worse, shortened and overly stretched by our body poses and sitting, lead to lower back pains.
In order to alleviate the tension accumulated in those muscles, one should, ideally, work them, flex them and stretch them in a healthy manner to compensate for the stress they endure even when we sleep. But all those who engaged in fitness programs and gym sessions know that the lower back area, the hamstrings and the iliopsoas are not the easiest muscles to train. They are not like our biceps and they need special care as one wrong move can lead to incommensurable health problems.
This is where Yoga comes in: this at home fitness mild program offers some of the best lower back poses which, if performed correctly, offer the much-needed pain release. However, any Yoga practice meant to alleviate lower back pain should follow a set of rules:
- The poses should be mild and from the “beginner” category
- The entire exercise should not last for more than 20 minutes.
- One single pose will not perform miracles – Yoga for lower back pain involves a lot of patience and regular practicing, to teach your body to become resilient to sitting and help your lower back become stronger.
- Always check with your physician before engaging into specific Yoga poses for the lower back – if you have sciatica or a slipped disc, if you suffer from spine illnesses, such physical exercises should be avoided. Only your doctor can tell if it is safe for you to begin a Yoga program.
In case you don’t suffer from spinal or lower back health issues and your physician cleared you for Yoga poses, let’s see together a few simple, easy and comfortable exercises you can start with to alleviate lower back pain – which you can practice daily!
1. The Cow Pose – Bitilasana
This is a gentle manner to warm up your spine and get control of your breathing. The exercise is usually combined with the Cat Pose and is also a part of a beginner’s Pilates program. The pose helps you relax the spine and your full back muscles.
2. The Fire-Log Pose – Agnistambhasana
This is still a gentle pose which helps you stretch your hips, working on your back position and hamstrings. It also works well on your piriformis muscle – often involved in the development of sciatica pain.
3. The Locust Pose – Salabhasana
This is a preparation exercise for beginners, strengthening your torso, lower back, legs and arms. This pose will put you in shape for more advanced back bends and more intense lower back exercises.
These are just some beginner’s poses you can try to alleviate in a simple and healthy manner your lower back pain and work the muscles responsible for it. Remember, however, that a sedentary life, the lack of physical exercise and incorrect body postures cannot be compensated by Yoga poses. The first step to get rid of the pain is to begin making a few smart life changes.