It's time to align your spine and get your back on track!
It has been estimated that 84% of adults suffer from back pain at some stage in their lives. Back pain can manifest for various reasons and even be affected by the state of your emotional health. However, there are many levels of back pain to consider, such as a reoccurring condition which significantly gets worst when you're feeling stressed or tired ( as the body feels more vulnerable ). If that's the case, it's advisable to have a routine of strengthening exercises to train your core, recommended by a professional.
If on the other hand the pain is constant, no matter how you move, it could be a chronic condition, therefore abstain from the postures until you have a proper diagnosis.
If your back pain is only felt in certain positions, it's probably more acute and again with a daily practice of yoga postures and exercises, you can hopefully prevent it or at the very least, lessen the frequency of the back pain from coming back altogether.
A daily practice to help you abstain from back pain!
In general, hold these postures for 5 breaths ( excluding the first 2 exercises which are more movement based rather than static )
Go onto all fours. Arms and legs roughly shoulder width wide. Spread your fingers and locate your hands directly under your chest. As you inhale round your back by drawing the navel in towards your spine. As you exhale, release and go into the next posture below ( cow pose ). Do this slowly about 10 times taking 4 counts to inhale and 4 to exhale.
As you release from the cat pose, drop your abdomen down to the floor, bottom away and head up to the sky.
Thread the needle pose
Staying on all fours, slide your left arm through the window of the right arm and gently relax on the side of your left shoulder for 5 deep breaths, then switch sides.
Downward facing dog
Tuck your toes under from all fours and lift your tail bone up to the sky. Spread your fingers and take the shoulders away from your ears, which will help to iron out the crease in your upper back and softens the elbows slightly. Keep pushing your hands down into the mat, and push the energy up your spine from your finger tips. It's not important to have your heels fully lowered. Hold 5 breaths.
From downward facing dog, gently drop down onto your knees, take them as wide as your mat, big toes touching and rest your forehead down on the floor. Your head must stay in line with your spine. If you have high blood pressure, rest your head on a pillow or yoga block so your head remains higher than your heart.
Lie on your back. Legs shoulder width apart and feet parallel. Press your palms down and peel your spine away from the floor, pushing into all ten fingers and toes as you're lifting up. Once you're up, interlace your hands behind your back and squeeze your shoulder blades, tucking your arms underneath you even more to get a bigger lift. Connect the lower rib cage once lifted to keep the spine neutral.
Reclined spinal twist pose
Bring your arms out by your side in line with your chest with palms facing downwards. Gentle bring both knees into you chest and drop them to one side, whilst looking the opposite direction with your head. To go deeper into the posture, place your hand on top of your knees and apply slight pressure.
The postures above will make your spine more flexible and elastic. Please do these poses mindfully with the breath and really listen to your body. You'll know intuitively what feels right and which posture you should eliminate.
Good luck and enjoy practicing :)
Ladan Soltani- 'A dedicated yogi and author of fabulous fitness at 40'
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