There is nothing worse than the sheer agony that comes from back pain. Can you relate? Back pain is debilitating, exhausting, and can turn even the healthiest person into a couch potato. Believe it or not, the less we move, the worse back pain gets. There is a time for rest, ice, and heat, and there is a time to move. Movement is essential for mobility, flexibility, and feeling good.
One of the reasons I started my practice was, in fact, my brush with back pain. I refused to believe that I would spend the rest of my life in pain, and I set out to do something about it. Enter Yoga. And now my back feels better than it has in years.
In this post, I will explain the top three yoga poses that I like to do for back pain so that you too can keep the pain at bay and live your best life.
Cat-cow is a pose we do in every class. To do this pose, go down onto your hands and knees. If you have knee pain when you kneel, place a blanket under them.
To go into Cat, tuck your tailbone in, drop your head down, so you are looking back at your legs, and arch up through the upper back. Hold here for a breath, then do the reverse coming into Cow by bringing your head and tailbone up, moving one vertebra at a time until your spine is curved downward and you are looking forward. Breathe in and out as you move.
Repeat both poses eight times. This gentle pose increases blood flow to your spine and is the perfect pose to do when you get up in the morning, after a long car ride, or after sitting a long time at your desk.
2. FORWARD FOLD
One of the reasons you can have low back pain is from tight hamstrings, so doing a forward fold pose can be a great way to stretch those muscles out and give some relief to your low back.
You can come into this pose two ways; from Down Dog, walk your hands and feet towards each other till you find yourself in a Forward Fold. Or from standing, inhale your arms up above your head, and as you exhale, with a straight back, hinge forward at your hips, allowing your body to go down as far as possible, then bending the knees slightly.
Allow your back to round as you hang forward. Ensure you drop your head down to look back at your knees and not at the floor, releasing any tension you are holding in your neck. Hold the pose for eight breaths, and then, bending your knees and lifting with your legs, slowly bring yourself back up to standing.
The sphynx pose is a gentle backbend lengthening the abdominals and strengthening the spine. Since we spend a lot of time hunched forward (at our computers, on our phone, cleaning, gardening, poor posture, etc.), this pose helps to bring back your spine’s natural curve. You may remember laying like this to watch TV as a kid.
To do the pose, lay on your stomach on the ground with your legs stretched out behind you. Come up on your forearms, with elbows under your shoulders and palms facing down on the floor. Set your gaze on the floor in front of you and hold for eight breaths.
For blood to flow to your spine, you need to move! I leave you with this thought.
*Though these poses can significantly help with back pain, please make sure to speak with your doctor first to determine the cause of your back pain.