Nancy Kelly is a yoga teacher and personal trainer who teaches hatha, vinyasa, prenatal, restorative and children’s yoga. She encourages her students to use their yoga practice as a method to improve their mental, physical,
emotional and spiritual health. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments and one of the primary reasons people take up yoga. Yoga can be helpful in both preventing and healing back pain because it can gently stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hips, legs and back as well as the abdomen, which supports the lower back.
If you are familiar with yoga, you may have already experienced the benefits of the poses listed below. If you have never done them before, please be careful to perform them correctly and to listen to your body. It might be helpful to use props (pillows or folded blankets) for support.
1. Child’s pose – come onto hands and knees and carefully lower hips down toward your heels. Let the entire spine lengthen and, if possible, extend arms forward and sink hips down even more with each exhalation. If back or hips are tight, spread knees further apart or use a prop under hips to prevent straining.
2. Cat and cow – on hands and knees, be sure to stack wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Begin by lowering head toward the floor
3. Knees to chest – on back, carefully draw one knee at a time into chest. Bring hands or arms around to hold bent legs and try to bring knees closer toward chest. Gently rock from side to side or bring head toward knees to stretch your cervical spine.
4. Supine twist – on back, bend knees with feet on floor and extend arms out to each side at shoulder height. Move both knees to the left, carefully lowering toward the floor while shifting upper torso to the right. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor and gaze toward your right hand. Stay here for several breaths, and bring knees and torso back to center. Repeat the twist on the opposite side. For more comfort, place a prop under knees for better support in the twist.
To feel the benefits of yoga it helps to practice as often as possible. If you suffer from or want to prevent back pain, try to make this sequence a part of your daily routine.