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Taking on lower back ache with Yoga and Pilates


If you have 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 such as playing with your kids, heading out to the beach, participating in activities you love such as dancing, gardening or the humble outing with friends and family.

Having had close encounters with those that have fallen prey, tried and true remedies such as ice packs and massages to relieve the pain are not uncommon. These are great ways to alleviate the pain however they treat the symptoms as opposed to 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 since they focus on balance, strength and circulation of blood and oxygen as well as the lurking stranger aptly, stress such as poor postures, footwear (here's looking at those high heels), postnatal, etc which happen to play a role in contributing to back pain since the body naturally becomes rigid and tense to protect itself from perceived danger. It's akin to an Armadillo rolling into a ball. This doesn't discount lower back pain as a result of an injury and Yoga and Pilates are infinitely known to help as well.

In fact, at Salus Yoga Pilates, most postures or poses (Asanas) can and are modified or substituted so that you get the most out of your Yoga and Pilates classes bearing in mind to manage the risk of increasing the 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 are often common culprits that affect the spine.

Imagine a tight screw. Unless you have the appropriate 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 anymore 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 and improves, your muscles loosen up and begin to stretch. A form of Yoga that I practice and teach in our classes at Salus Yoga Pilates is Hatha Yoga which is known to focus on gentle postures and poses that support relaxation, tension release, rest and restoration which is a the perfect blend to the road to back pain recovery and strengthening.

Another aspect 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 the premise is that the body is interconnected and interrelated, in Yoga and Pilates you'll work not on just your back but also other parts of your body and equally importantly 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 breath brings about an awareness and mindfulness of your mind and body.

Before embarking on the journey, it's important to talk to your doctor as well as informing me of your well-being and injuries at the start of the class to that I can guide and support you through the appropriate postures.