Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yoga Exercises for Preventing Back Pain 

preventing back pain
By Faye Martins


The human back is a miraculous assembly of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Backs should be both incredibly strong and supremely flexible at the same time. The back supports the whole body from the neck, through the upper back into the lower and then to the bottom of the spine. We use it for every single movement we make. If your back is hurting nothing seems to go right. Your back is the entire support system for your body and keeping it strong and supple is important for your overall wellbeing.

“You’re only as young as your spine is flexible,” this quote was said repeatedly by Richard Hittleman in his 1970s PBS television series, “Yoga For Health.” He was one of the first people to bring the ancient science of yogic methodology into living rooms across the United States. Now, 50 years later, yoga has mushroomed into a movement of health and spirituality practiced by millions of people at all levels of adeptness. Yoga is one methodology that focuses attention on the back. There are many postures or asanas that strengthen it and keep it supple. Once you know the basic movements yoga is a gentle way to wake up in the morning, stretch after sitting or to wind down after a hectic day. 



The entire body benefits from these traditional yogic asanas. From the head to the feet, there is a beneficial posture. Yoga is inclusive, benefiting the whole body. But sometimes our backs need special attention. Here are some classic yogic exercises that can strengthen, stretch and tone your back to prevent pain and to ensure you can move and play at will.

Cat/Cow pose – This exercise is done on the hands and knees. The stretching and curving in this asana helps slowly and surely to work out the kinks in your back.


Downward Facing Dog – Getting into this triangular pose is a great stress reliever. Holding this position helps your back relax and let go of tightness. This inverted posture allows blood to flow into the head while at the same time it stretches the back muscles.

Cobra/Locust/Bow – These three complementary movements are centered on strengthening the back. You alternately tense and rest the muscles and ligaments that support the spine. This is an advanced posture so go easy and rest in between. The Cobra/Locust/Bow is yoga at its finest.

Head to Knee Forward Bend (Also known as alternate Leg Stretches) - This is a wonderful asana that may take you years to master, but every time you do it your back will benefit.

Spinal Twist – this was the exercise Richard Hittleman suggested most often to bolster the back. He unfailingly emphasized the importance of a supple spine.

There are many more yogic asanas that can help tone, strengthen and stretch out the important bones and muscles of our back. Attending a yoga class is a great way to learn this valuable tool to back health. Regular yoga classes can teach you the proper way to do the postures and connect you with other people who are interested in not only the physical but also the emotional and spiritual components of this five thousand year old practice. Once you learn the postures you can practice at home so that you are helping yourself stay young and fit every day.

Our modern lives are busy and filled with much sitting around and lots of stressors. Our bodies and especially our backs take that inactivity and stress and do their best to keep us going. The wise and ancient practice of yoga can help keep our backs limber and our spirit strong.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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