OmLight Photography by Jim Campbell
[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Lexi of Lexi Yoga.]
Back aches and pains are pretty common these days. Pills and medications can bring immediate relief, but may not be enough to remove the root cause for such excruciating pain. The cause could be due to any number of reasons – being overweight, living a sedentary life style, crouching in front of your computer for too long, or even having an upset stomach.
Yoga is a natural remedy that cultivates a balance between flexibility and strength in your body, which is usually the root cause of back pain. Many people have tension along the spine, hips and shoulder area. Including yoga in your daily life can do wonders to any type of pain, either physical or emotional, as yoga helps to release all the stress and toxins within your muscles and organs.
Here are some specific yoga postures to help relieve back pain. Please consult with your doctor if you have any specific injuries or sharp pains. There are various variations and props that a qualified teacher can provide for any circumstance.
Supta Matsyendrasana helps to release any cramps and tension along your back and helps to clear your bowels. Lie straight on your back, hands by your side, inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth. Bring both knees to your chest. Turn both legs on one side while you turn your head and upper body towards the opposite side; breathe normally through the nose in this state for ten counts. Slowly come back to original position after ten and relax. You can repeat both sides a few times. This is a wonderful posture to do before you get up in the morning, and before bedtime, as it helps to re-align your spine.
Padahastasana is a standing pose, so stand straight with bare feet on even ground. Raise your hands straight above your head, inhale through your nose and exhale through mouth. Now bend forwards and try to touch your toes, breathe normally in this position to a count of ten. Slowly come back to the standing position while you are exhaling, place your hands down by your side. Repeat this posture 2-3 times if you feel fine.
The next posture is Anuvittasana, which flows nicely after Padahastasana. Remain standing up straight, grounding your feet to the floor, place the palm of your hands on your lower back behind you, inhale through nose and exhale through mouth; bend backwards as far as possible arching your body. At the same time try to bring both the elbows as close as possible behind you; stay and breathe normally for ten counts in this position. Do not swing back, but come back slowly and gently, to your regular standing position. You can repeat this 2-3 times, depending on how comfortable you feel.
Bhujangasana is a great back strengthening pose. Lie on your stomach, rest your head on your hands folded under your head; rest on your chin, inhale through nose and exhale through mouth. Place the palms of your hands close to your chest with the elbows striving to meet behind you, now raise your head and bend backwards without lifting your stomach. Try to look back as much as possible. Stay in the position and breathe normally for ten counts and then gently come back to original position, put your hands under your head and rest it on one side. You can repeat this asana 2-3 times and even increase the counts if you feel comfortable doing it.
All the above asanas work to stretch out your back and release tension along the spine, shoulders and hips. The sequence of postures help to revive the blood circulation to areas where it is scanty or has been blocked. Blockage of blood circulation is almost always a primary cause for health ailments. Practicing yoga on a daily basis can be your natural remedy to back pain relief.
Yoga not only helps with aches, pains, and discomforts, it can also lengthen, tone, and stretch your body from head to toe, improving your posture, which can naturally make you look and feel taller. [For more, check out – Can Yoga Make you Taller?]
Written by: LexiYoga