El Paso, TX. Chiropractor Dr. Alex Jimenez looks at yoga for back pain.
Yoga increases strength and flexibility, but some find it to be a spiritual experience that brings serenity and delight.
I attended my first yoga class after I was 21 years old. At the time the goal was purely to appease my self so that I really could tell my family, buddies and coworkers that “I do yoga”. In my experience, yogis were “cool” and I enjoyed being linked with that healthy lifestyle. My twenty-something year old mind was in a self absorbed place and that I totally enjoyed the freedom of dedicating myself to yoga and other enjoyable ways to fill my time.
Yoga in its purest form is intended to help the individual’s head and body and is likely to be practiced without ego.
My First Yoga Course
I loved her gentle encouragement. As I visited my weekly yoga classes, bending and twisting and telling myself “I can perform this,” I began to reap the benefits. I was sleeping better. My body felt less angry and I noticed a calmness come over me. I felt more patient coping with the irritations of life, too.
Here is The Irony
Yoga is not something you do. It’s a thing that you encounter. Because over time, it gets engrained in you it’s called a practice. The teachings of Maureen were put in me like little seeds which didn’t actually completely thrive until much later in my life. To jogging, though I did not intentionally give up my usual yoga practice, around along the way it took a back seat. Those little seeds were there but lay dormant for now.
Running Was Different
I felt free moving swiftly across the road. Being goal oriented, I found monitoring my mileage to be a pleasing achievement. Running was pleasing for another reason, too. My best friend Linda was also a runner, and we’d meet most Sundays for long runs. We’d participated in occasional half marathons and put in 15 to 20 miles each week. Running that distance took time — two hours or even more.
Those small seeds were there all along. Like I mentioned, yoga has a way of becoming engrained in you.
My Back Pain & Yoga
If you’ve been following my site, you understand that I’ve had back pain through most of my entire life. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, my little friend “yoga” softly arrived back on the scene. My pain riddled body seemed to intuitively understand it needed yoga again. I began feeling the requirement to roll over on my back and pull my legs towards my chest, before getting out of bed in the early hours. (The knees-to-chest pose extends your lower back muscles and is a gentle, soothing approach to begin your day.) The reach that was straightforward felt energizing and really good.
There are quite a lot of advantages of yoga, especially for maintaining well-being and managing low back pain. A follow up experiment was conducted after 26 weeks, and those same yoga participants were experiencing increased function and less pain. For me, the continual practice of yoga has relieved my pain to the point that I no more need pain medication to get me.
Other Ways Yoga Relieves Back Pain
- Yoga strengthens abdominal muscles both of which help support the spinal column and builds flexibility in the rear, when practiced regularly.
- Holding yoga models, for up to a minute, helps stretch the muscles over time.
- Properly stretching the muscles in the low back reduces stress over the area.
- Yoga offers relief from pain, stress and anxiety. All low back pain suffers know this is a vicious cycle. You start with pain that doesn’t go away. You find out there is an anatomical reason for the pain. But, you still have the anxiety, and stress of worrying about how long this may last. Yoga can counter that triple threat.
- Yoga improves posture. To maintain a strong, fit, flexible backbone great posture is vital. Seated and standing yoga poses help improve the alignment of the spine and also posture. Proper bearing reduces back pain and removes some of the pressure from your spinal column.
Yoga For Beginners
Thus, let’s get started with a couple of poses which are a cinch to do and great for preserving flexibility in your spine.Try these three poses daily for increased flexibility and your spine will thank you!
Knees to Chest Pose (Picture below)
- Lie on your back with legs and arms stretched
- Bring both knees to chest as you exhale. Clasp your hands around legs
- Back is flat on the floor (mat)
- If it’s comfortable for you, gently rock back and forth, which gives you a little massage
Cat/Cow Pose (Images below)
- Begin on all fours in a tabletop position
- Place your hands under your shoulders along with your knees under your hips
- Like a cat, round your back up to arch on the exhale
- Bring your chin to chest
- On the inhale, drop your abdomen and raise your head, extending your sitting bones (sits) back up
Child’s Pose (Picture below)
- Move from table top to a kneeling position. Rest your arms by your side, press your shoulders down and simultaneously reach your head tall
- Slowly lower your buttocks towards your heels feeling a nice stretch in your lower back/hips.
- Let your forehead rest on the floor
- Place arms resting alongside your body
- Or you can place arms above head, gently stretching as they are placed on the floor
- If it is easier too, you can widen knees as you stretch out
Those small yoga seeds—put by my first teacher long past — have continued to grow/flourish. I’m a fully certified yoga teacher and revel in sharing my practice with students every week now. May you find peace on your own journey and pain relief too, one pose at a time. Namaste.