Written by Alix Rassel
This week we are going to look at 5 yoga postures to help your back. Back pain is a very common problem in society today, where we sit for such extended periods of time. Here are just 5 Yoga asana’s (postures) you can do to help prevent and minimize back pain.
1) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This asana stretches chest, shoulders, ab muscles & neck which can relieve tightness in lower back.
- Lie down on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor, soles facing upwards; rest your forehead on the ground.
- Keep your legs close together, with your feet and heels lightly touching each other.
- Place both hands in such a way that palms are touching ground under your shoulders, elbows should be parallel and close to your torso.
- Taking a deep breath in, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen. Keep your navel on the floor.
- Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands. Make sure that you are putting equal pressure on both the palms.
- Keep breathing with awareness, as you curve your spine, vertebra by vertebra. If possible, straighten your arms by arching your back as much as possible; tilt your head back and look up
- Maintain the pose while breathing evenly for 4-5 breaths.
- Now, breathe out, and gently bring your abdomen, chest, and head back to the floor and relax.
- Repeat 4-5 times.
- Then rest.
2) Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
This asana strengthens abs and back muscles. It tones leg and arm muscles while adding flexibility to the back.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet apart, in line with your hips, and your arms by the side of your body.
- Fold your knees, take your hands backward, and hold your ankles.
- Breathe in and lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and towards the back.
- Look straight ahead with a smile on your face.
- Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your body is now curved and as taut as a bow.
- Continue to take long, deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But bend only as far as your body permits you to. Do not overdo the stretch.
- After 15 -20 seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
- Then rest
3) Shalabhasana (Locust pose)
This asana is a gentle backbend that strengthens torso, back, legs and arms, helps relieve fatigue and lower back pain.
- Breathing in, raise the right leg up. Keep the leg straight and do not twist the hip.
- Hold and keep breathing.
- Breathing out, bring the right leg down.
- Repeat steps 3-5 with the left leg. Take 2-3 deep breaths.
- Breathing in, and with some momentum, lift both legs up, as high as possible, keeping the knees straight.
- Breathing out, bring the legs down, take the arms out from underneath, and rest.
- Repeat the above sequence with hands facing down in step 2.
- Then rest.
4) Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
This asana ignites and strengthens the core abdomen which is essential for controlling pelvic tilt. It relieves back pain by stretching the spine.
- To begin, lie on your back.
- Fold your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis with knees and ankles in a straight line.
- Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down.
- Inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest to the chin without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Feel your bottom firm up in this pose. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and to the floor.
- If you wish, you could interlace the fingers and push the hands on the floor to lift the torso a little more up, or you could support your back with your palms.
- Keep breathing easily.
- Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release this pose.
- Then rest.
5) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
This asana strengthens ab muscles which Is the key for a good lower back posture. This pose relieves back pain and sciatica
- Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.
- As you breath out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body.
- Hands are shoulder width apart; feet are hip width apart and parallel to each other. Toes point straight ahead.
- Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms.
- Hold the downward dog pose and take long deep breaths. Look towards the navel.
- Exhale. Bend the knees, return to table pose. Relax.
- Then rest.
Alix Rassel (EYT® 200, RYT® 500, YACEP®) is a registered Yoga teacher who has been teaching in Luxembourg, Radhadesh,Belgium and Scotland for the last 7 years. She currently teaches at Urban Leaf Yoga and in Parc Tony Neuman. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/StralaAlix/ or https://www.instagram.com/rasselburton/?hl=en