“Sorry I cannot do it, I am having back pain”, is a commonly heard alibi nowadays. Back pain is increasingly common amongst 25-45-year-olds. One reason could be the high use of technology and a sedentary lifestyle. While the other reason could be increased physical activity. Back pain can begin as an occasional spikes of pain and may go on to become a chronic condition.
There are many ways in which you can take care of your back. Yoga is one of the safest and a very popular form of exercise. Contrary to the popular perception of only being a good medium to relieve stress and tension, yoga is equally effective to help you reduce pains and aches. It can help you reduce back pain and maintain a healthy spine. Yoga poses, called asanas are important as they help stretch and strengthen important back muscles. If the poses are followed correctly and with concentration, it will help strengthen muscles and help your body to release the pain. That’s the great benefit of yoga, you can release your pain not just physically but also mentally with the power of concentration.
The form of your body is very important in any yoga pose. Especially for the back pain, use your muscles to create a strong footing and then slowly lengthen and stretch your body. Lengthening your spine with yoga provides natural traction, which helps your spine relieve stress and give strength to back muscles. Try to use a cushioned cork yoga mat or a non-slip yoga mat to help support your body while practicing. Steadiness and balance are very important in yoga.
A healthy painless back is wishful for many. It is advisable to consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise if you suffer from any aches and pains. Follow yoga under the guidance of a trained instructor. Begin with the simple yoga poses & mindfully practice these using a good eco-friendly yoga mat and say goodbye to a bad back.
Here are 5 simple yoga poses to begin with. Follow these for at least a month and see your back strength improving.
- Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose as the name suggests is forming a triangular pose with your body. It is one of the popular poses with yoga practitioners, as it is approachable for most people and also helps to build a solid foundation for advanced yoga postures.
- Stand straight and separate your feet comfortably wide apart.
- Turn your right foot out at a 90-degree angle and left foot at 45 degrees.
- Lift arms to shoulder height and turn and place palms down, while keeping your back straight.
- Turn your chest to the side and stretch your right arm towards the ground and your left arm toward the sky. Make sure your body is bent sideways and not in front or back.
- If you cannot reach the ground, slowly stretch and bend only as much as possible. Gradually you will be able to stretch to the ground.
- Gaze upward toward your left hand. You must keep your eyes open to maintain balance and also use a non-slip yoga mat to help maintain your balance.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and then reverse the pose and repeat with the other side.
- Strengthens the thighs, hips, knees, and ankles
- Stretches the thigh muscles
- Opens your hips, groins, hamstrings, shoulder, chest, and spine
- Stimulates abdominal organs and helps improve digestion
- Helps relieve back pain
- Helpful for anxiety, stress, and sciatica.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra pose is known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit. This reviving backbend reflects the posture of a cobra that has its hood raised. The Cobra pose opens your chest and extends and strengthens the back. It is a step of the popular sequence Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation.
- Begin this pose by lowering your belly to the ground and lying flat on the floor.
- Place your forehead on your mat your palms facing down by your chest, directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your legs together and your feet top facing the floor, inhale and lift your upper chest off the floor.
- Use your back strength to lift yourself and don’t put any weight on your hands.
- Hold the position for 5-10 breaths and exhale and slowly come down.
- Ensure you use a non-slip yoga mat to prevent the risk of any injury
- Repeat this 3-5 times.
- Stretches and opens up the shoulders, neck, chest, and lungs
- Tones the abdomen and hips
- Improves blood circulation, resulting in good skin
- Strengthens the spine
- Improves flexibility of the upper and middle back
- Good for people with asthma
- Eases stress and exhaustion
- Downward facing dog pose (Adhomukhasana)
Like how a dog stretches itself after a nap with head and forelegs down and hind legs up, this pose follows a similar action. This pose lengthens the spine, strengthens and rejuvenates the whole body. It is calming for the mind and stimulates blood circulation.
- Come onto all fours and form a tabletop with your hands and feet.
- Breathing out, lift the hips, forming an inverted V-shape with the body.
- Keep your knees and elbows straight.
- Toes should be pointing straight.
- Press your hands into the ground and widen through the shoulder blades.
- Keep the neck stretched and lengthened. Your ears should touch your arms.
- Hold the pose and take deep breaths and gaze towards your navel.
- Exhale and slowly release the pose and come back to the table pose.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
- Strengthens arms, shoulders, legs and feet.
- Lengthens the spine.
- Increases lung capacity by strengthening them.
- Eradicates stiffness in shoulder blades.
- A good stretch for heel pain.
- Rejuvenates the body.
- Increases circulation to the brain and stimulates the brain.
- Relaxes and calms the mind and hence good for insomnia and exhaustion.
- Cat and cow pose
The cat and cow pose is the coming together of two asanas – Marjaryasana, also known as the cat pose, and Bitilasana, also known as the cow pose. Done together for synchrony of breathing movement., this pose is simple and perfect for a sore back. It improves spinal movement and awareness.
- Begin this pose by coming on all fours, the hands and the knees.
- Inhale and extend your spine by arching your back and gaze at your belly. Think of pulling your navel towards your spine.
- Exhale and flex your spine by scooping your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades, and your head looking up.
- Now slowly and smoothly shift between the cat and cow and ease any tension in your spine.
- Using a cork yoga mat or any other non-slip yoga mat is beneficial to maintain balance and form in the pose.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
- Makes the spine flexible
- Tones abdomen muscles
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens and stretches the spine and neck
- Stretches the hips and back
- Calms your mind
- Child’s Pose (Shishuasana):
The resting pose, just like how a child rests. This pose stretches various parts of the body and allows you to reconnect with your breath. It is a good break between tougher poses. While you may feel like you are resting, you are actually stretching. Child’s pose stabilizes the spine and is a great de-stressor whenever you have had a long tiring day.
- Begin on all fours and straighten your arms and stretch them in front of you.
- Your chest will be off the mat.
- Bring the hips to rest on your feet.
- Avoid touching your heels.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat a couple of times.
- A good eco-friendly yoga mat is always helpful when you are doing poses that require you to put your face down on the mat and breathe.
- This pose feels like you are resting, but is great for a good back stretch.
- Stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
- Deeply relaxing for the back
- Lengthens and stretches the spine
- Aids in digestion and relieves constipation
- Calms down the nervous system
- Helps normalize your breath
Note: If you suffer from any major back ailment, please consult your doctor and only then practice any pose. Maintain proper balance and posture by using a good quality non-slip yoga mat. Ensure proper stretchable clothing is worn for yoga practice. A well -ventilated room or open space is also suggested for doing yoga.