Overcoming lower back pain with Yoga

If you’ve suffered from lower back pain, you’ll know from experience that it’s downright miserable. And often more than you would like it to, it restricts you from enjoying the simple things in life like playing with your kids, heading out to the beach, joining in the activities you love such as dancing, gardening or the humble outing with friends and family.

Tried and true remedies such as ice packs and massages to relieve the pain are not uncommon. These are great ways to alleviate the discomfort however they treat the symptoms rather than the root cause which generally leads to a vicious cycle of repeatedly experiencing back pain.

You’ll find that Yoga and Pilates go a long way in overcoming the pain in the long term because they focus on balance, strength and circulation of blood and oxygen. Yoga and Pilates are also fantastic at reducing tension from poor postures, footwear (here’s looking at those high heels) and postnatal stress which play a role in contributing to back pain since the body naturally becomes rigid and tense to protect itself from perceived danger. It’s similar to an Armadillo rolling into a ball. If you’ve lower back pain as a result of an injury, Yoga and Pilates are infinitely known to help too.

Most postures or poses (Asanas) can and are modified or substituted so that you get the most out of your Yoga and Pilates classes while taking good care of the risks of increasing further injury or pain.

So as we mothball like an Armadillo, you’ll find that one of the primary causes of back pain is muscle tension and tightness in hips and shoulders, which are often common culprits that affect the spine.

Imagine a tight screw. Unless you have the right tools or know-how of not stripping its head away (literally), it’s a nightmare to unscrew them. Having battled countless screws tightly fastened around the house, it’s when you realize that you need to look at ways of loosening it before applying more pressure. Now what does this have to do with Yoga and Pilates?

As you work through the various Yoga and Pilates poses, blood and oxygen circulation in your body naturally increases. This helps your muscles stretch and to loosen up. A form of Yoga that we practice and teach in our classes at Salus Yoga Pilates is Hatha Yoga. It’s known to focus on gentle postures and poses that support relaxation, tension release, rest and restoration which are a perfect blend to the road to back pain recovery and strengthening.

Another element of Yoga and Pilates is the emphasis on alignment or the concept that all parts of the body affect other parts of the body. It’s the sum of the parts that makes the whole. Since it’s based on the idea that the body is interconnected and interrelated, you’ll work not on just your back but also other parts of your body but also in calming your mind. An increase in strength and flexibility in one area of the body will positively influence other areas of the body.

Whether you are a beginner starting out or a regular Yoga & Pilates warrior, breathing is key to back care as Yoga breathing techniques are used to improve the circulation of oxygen throughout the body allowing for deeper and longer stretches. You’ll also find that breathing is foundational to many practices such as meditation to bring a sense of calmness and serenity as well as relaxation as the focus on the rise and fall of your breath brings about an awareness and mindfulness of your mind and body.