Achy back? Give yoga a go. Seriously, study after study have shown the power of the practice, which emphasizes stretching, strength, and flexibility, to relieve back soreness and improve function. I can tell you first hand this is what finally helped end my chronic back pain once and for all.
I read an article the other day that talked about how researchers are also starting to discover how yoga’s effects on the brain may contribute to decreased pain. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in May 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, scientists found that there were significant differences between the brains of those with chronic pain and the brains of regular yoga practitioners. Those with chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain, but those who did yoga had more — which suggests that yoga may be not just physically but neurologically protective. Isn’t that so cool?! This deepened my love for yoga even more so after reading this.
As you can see there are so many benefits to practicing yoga. One of the main reasons I practice regularly is to keep my back pain at bay. Here are some of my favorite poses and how to do them to help you soothe your back pain away.
From a tabletop position (Pictured) on an inhale sink the belly, lift the chest and tailbone toward the sky. Exhale and reverse the motion curling the spine as you tuck the chin and tailbone. (think of an angry Halloween cat) Repeat moving back and forth from Cat to Cow as you breathe in and out of the mouth.
Balancing Table Top
1. On your hands and knees in Table pose, inhale the right leg up parallel to the floor, reaching the toes towards the back wall. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. To release: slowly exhale and lower the knee down, back into table position. Repeat on other side.
Half Pigeon Pose
Start in table top position. Slide your right knee to your right wrist. Bring the right ankle toward the opposite wrist. Take a big step back with you back leg and untuck the toes. Slowly start to lower down to find your edge. Come down to forearms, stack the fists or stack the palms. Stay here 1 min. Repeat on other side.
From tabletop position slide one foot in-between the hands. Slowly start to sit the hips back sitting down on the back heel (sort of like your sitting down on a bike seat) keeping the front leg straight. Slowly start to fold over your straight front leg. Hold this posture for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Seated Supine Twist
Starting from a seat on your mat gently pull your right knee into your chest with the sole of the right foot down on the mat. Keeping your other leg straight. Place your right hand back behind you down on the mat. Cross the left elbow outside of the right knee. Inhale for length and as you exhale twist deeper taking your gaze over your right shoulder. Inhale and return to your seat. Repeat on your left side.
Spend a few minutes in a resting pose to seal your practice.
*You can repeat any of these poses as often as you’d like. I love to practice these poses first thing in the morning to get things loosened up or before bed to help me relax and unwind.
If you have a favorite yoga pose for back pain, leave a comment below, in fact take a pic of you doing your pose and tag your pictures #saluslifestyles on Instagram! We’d love it!
Denise and Emily