3 Yoga Poses that will heal your back pain fast (Pt. 1)

GARY DIXON, Seniors Instructor, United Kingdom

15th November 2016

The next time your back pain sends you to the GP Surgery; several recent studies have indicated your doctor may look to provide you with a new kind of prescription – Yoga. However, here’s how to make sure you know the right poses to use and to know exactly which ones I recommend and why.

Studies have shown that Yoga may be one of the most effective exercises for back pain relief original site. In fact, twisting your body into those sometimes awkward positions may actually be just the thing for lower back pain.

However, as effective as Yoga may be to reduce the pain of back problems, knowing exactly what poses to use, for how long, what to offset the poses with, and in what sequence to execute them, are other crucial factors that should be taken into consideration before using it as a therapeutic relief from back pain. I can see a reader go ‘Wait a second, if I have to go through all that, then maybe I should just take some painkillers and call it a quits.”

If that applies to you, it is not my intention to scare you away from Yoga for back pain, in fact I’d rather you embraced its use as an alternative to drugs or massage therapy for your problems, however, for your success with its use, a little bit of awareness of the correct poses to use for back pain is required and will come in handy for a lasting use of this drug-free and perhaps more significantly cost-free alternative.

In these two posts, I will go over the common, simple yet very effective poses for back pain and also give you instructions on the proper poses to offset the spinal motions when applicable. Moreover, I will discuss the duration of time needed when executing these poses as well.

Though some of these poses may best be learned under the supervision of a Certified Yoga Instructor, with the descriptions given below, I believe you should be able to grasp the mettle enough to at least be able to practice these poses at home.

Here are some of the best poses for back ache, and since the aim here is more so back pain relief versus exercising, it is not mandatory that you hold them more than 5-15 seconds, depending on your level of comfort. Moreover, a use of a yoga mat or any other soft surface is highly recommended in the execution of these asanas.

Pigeon pose or Ardha Kapotasana

This, folks, is a not a panacea for all human ailments. It’s a nice easy yoga pose to open the hips and will do wonders for your back ache. Don’t panic, it is extremely easy to execute, however, depending on the severity of your back ache, use some discretion here.

a) Begin in a table top position, with two blocks nearby. Take a deep inhale. Focus your mind’s eye on the hips and pelvic girdle. On an exhales slide your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Comfortably align the right heel over towards the left hip without letting the knee slide to the side. Be comfortable. No pain. No strain. Just allow that right leg to sit there comfortably.

Check the back leg and make sure you are on the top of the knee and thigh, your foot is laying flat and the leg is in line with its own hip socket.

c) Inhale and begin to draw your torso upright, taking hold of your blocks either side of each leg to allow you more stability and support the body. Draw your attention back to the pelvis and activate your pelvic floor to adjust the pelvis from a largely forward tilted position to a more upright position, this will take the load out of the lower back and also direct the stretch more fully across the front inner groin.

Remain here for seven slow steady breaths. Remember to keep the shoulders relaxed and the abdomen active and the outside of the left hip (back leg hip) moving forward, and at the same time feeling the hip of the front leg moving back.

Now exhale, keeping the pelvic floor active walk your hands forward of your shoulders and being to come forward keeping your front thigh bone in line with your hip socket. If you feel the need for more stretch draw the right foot forward of the left hip a few more inches, but still not allowing the knee to slide out.

h) Flex the front foot and lengthen the back foot a bit more by rolling the toes under and drawing the leg back a few more inches, after which extending through the toes and pressing through the top of the foot.

Work to sit your right hip back even more, and draw the left hip even more forward. Do not fall into the right hip, instead prop up the hip with a block or blanket to stay aligned.

e) Extend your arms as far as you can forward, when extending the arms you better lengthen the spinal muscles. Use head support if needed not to strain the neck and to add pressure to the third eye point, sending a signal to the central nervous system to relax.

Repeat on the other side. Now that you have the form, in the next part of this post I’m going to show you how to adjust your form using PNF techniques and resistance stretching. I’m also going to issue you with very specific meditation guideline for this pose, which are the keystone to back pain relief.

“Not in every case, but typically it’s tight hip flexors and hamstrings that are the root cause of our lower back pain”

From the Pigeon position, come back to a table top and then come to a resting position lying on your back.

Bridge Pose (Sethu Bhandasana)

b) Bend the knees and keep both feet flat on the floor.  Your legs should be parallel to one another and no more than a hips-width apart. Slide your arms alongside your body with both palms facing down. The fingertips should be lightly touching the heels if you have the depth. If not, don’t panic, just rest them gently to the floor.

a) Press both your feet down into the floor and make a move as if to draw them towards you –  as if you were dragging them in towards your buttocks. But don’t allow them to move. Dig your heels in firmly. At the same time take a deep inhale and lift the hips up off the floor towards the ceiling, slowly rolling the rest of your spine off the floor.

c) Exhale. And Inhale again. Press down into your arms and shoulders to lift your chest up slightly at the sternum. Engage your legs and buttocks to lift your hips higher.  Interlace your hands together under your back, walk the shoulders in and press down with the arms and shoulders. Extend the tailbone toward the knees as you roll the inner thighs toward the floor.

Breathe easily and hold for seven breaths.

To release, on an exhale slowly unfurl the spine back to the floor.

Notes: Height doesn’t matter. Pressing and dragging the feet is more important. Use a block between your knees to keep your legs active throughout the pose. You can use a strap between the hands for greater purchase. Keep your chin tucked.

In Part 2 we’ll be looking at the functional aspects of these two great poses. Meantime, if you have back-ache right now I urge you to consider practice – take these two simple forms and work daily to help you relieve your symptoms at the cause (not in every case but typically it’s tight hip flexors and hamstrings that are the root cause of lower back pain).

Consult your GP if your symptoms persist following a week of practice with these asana.

Look out for Part 2 – these two asanas can be a gateway to the root and sacral chakra energy/power.

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