Imagine your back is a landscape. In some places it is soft and hilly, while in others it is fixed and mountainous. There are valleys and troughs, and flowing straight through it all is the river of life: our spine.
Pulsating and vibrating, even at rest, our spine is a dynamic, flexible and high-energy channel that links all parts and information of our self and our being, setting every movement in and around us in motion. Incessantly hike up and down countless impulses of the nervous system.
You can compare the muscles that support the spine with an elastic rope of a bridge. They spread out from the lowest point of our nervous system, the coccyx, all the way up to the highest point, the head.
“Our yoga practice should keep our back soft, supple and strong with gentle muscular exercises and movements.”
Take a moment to observe your daily routine: How much movement do you give your back on an ordinary day? What kind of movements are you doing? How much energy do you use?
How free are you to define your daily routine? Do you sit all day and then join an intense yoga class, increasing your risk of injury? Do you practice a form of exercise or movement that allows your spine to explore all of its movements?
We often fight against our what our body really needs to feel genuinely well. When we feel tired, we consume caffeine and sugar and distract ourselves with television and alcohol instead of giving in to sleep and rejuvenation. When we’re hungry, instead of filling our belly with fresh, whole foods, we snack on fast, convenient food. What we need to be doing, after an exhausting day spent sitting at our desks or on the tube, is to compensate our sedentary day with plenty of gentle, varied movement.
How can Yoga Therapy help my back?
Yoga therapy will help you regain your balance, both in life and on the mat, as well as help cure back pain over time.
If you spend your days sitting, why not start with simple exercises on the chair? If your day is stressful and involves carrying children, remember that you will need more time to calm down and get centered. Begin by slowly absorbing the movements, tuning in to your breath and becoming still. You may realize that the cause of your back pain is more than just your lifestyle. Physical and mental exhaustion or stress can also exasperate back pain. You may need to find a balance between carrying your everyday burdens and letting them go.
Begin your healing yoga with pranayama, the art of conscious breathing. Observe how the breath gently massages you on the inside, how it vibrates around your spine. Feel where you have tension and pain and guide the breath there. Feel an expanding heat there, where was pain before.
Asanas are incredibly healing, and can easily be integrated in your daily life.
Start by gently leaning into a Tadasana, or standing pose, against the wall to ease your back and feel it at the same time. Breathe fully and deeply in this position, as it will massage your back and give you a feeling of stability. It is important that your pelvis rests against the wall and that you don’t arch your back. Keep your stomach muscles active—it can be more strenuous than it sounds!
Utkatasana, or chair pose, can also be performed against the wall in order to help you align your pelvis. The burning sensation of your thighs will be less intense with every practice. HOT TIP: It can help to start on your tiptoes! It is important that your knees create a right angle between your thigh and lower leg. Your shin should be exactly vertical. You can also perform Utkatasana without the wall, moving your pelvis back and forth (a little bit like twerking!).
The “Indian Shower”, when you stand on your toes and slowly climb with the tips of your fingers up the wall, will help you stretch the muscles that are on the right and left side of your spine.
Supported Sharvangasana, or bridge pose, with gradually elevated blankets under your sit bones, will build more flexibility in your entire back.
Remember, there are several asanas, or yoga postures, that should not be performed with acute back pain. Strangely, with all back pain, the most harmful is that what we do intuitively. If our back feels shortened, we try to lengthen it by bending forward. But with back pain, all forward bends are dangerous and carry a risk of injury, so they should be avoided. That makes poses such as Uttanasana and Paschimottanasana poorly suited to alleviate back pain.
- Use blankets in order to support your fond asanas.
- Support your body in order to ease your back.
- Use props to avoid pressure and pulling.
- Practice relaxation. Meditation is more important than fitness!
- Integrate Pranayama as an essential part of your practice and lifestyle. You can perform it anywhere and anytime.
- Develop hopeful and joyful outlook on life.
- Practice letting go and receiving love.
With love and light,
Hello, my name is Manuela, my name is known for precision in Asana adjustment. Yoga is the best way to explore the inner realms of oneself, through concentration, focussing, love and joy. All this should be reflected in a daily self practise. Pain and injuries can be a vehicle for a better understanding of ones needs and options. Learn how to overcome restrictions through yoga therapy.
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