Yoga helps you fight back (pain)

  • By Team TDO

Almost 7 out of any ten people suffer or have suffered some form of back pain in their lives. Back pain is an all comprehensive term to refer to any chronic pain suffered in the neck, shoulder blades, cervical spine, lumbar spine and lower back. Back pain affects us in almost everything we do right from the way we walk, sit, stand or bend down. It is indeed a living hell for those who have to go through back pain day in and day out.

However, most people tend to take back pain in their stride attributing it to age or their career choice or bad posture. Only when the pain becomes unmanageable do they get themselves to a doctor for a check-up. The health of the spine is the most vital thing that every person should be aware of. The spine and its amazing network of nerves play important role in a person’s longevity and well being. “You are as good as your back” holds true here.

Use serpent power to cure back pain. Here are best of 3 poses that can make you flexible enough to kiss back pain goodbye forever.
Research has shown that yoga can be the best possible way to deal with back pain. If you have been suffering from back pain and haven’t found an effective cure in conventional therapy like traction, painkillers etc, you should enroll on a good yoga course specific to your condition where you will be evaluated for the degree of damage or intensity of pain before recommending the necessary postures.

While you can easily get information off the net for those postures, we recommend that you take the advice of an expert as you could end up injuring yourself or making the pain worse by trying something out without supervision. The following yogasanas will be an effective way for those who wish to avoid back and postural problems but for those with chronic back pain should use their discretion before attempting due to what we said earlier.

  1. Bhujangasana
  2. Paschimottanasana
  3. Tadasana

Bhujangasana: Serpent Power

If you want to avoid back pain or any spinal complaints then Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose is quite the thing you need to practice and master.

How to perform the Bhujangasana

  1. Lie flat on your stomach preferably on a yoga mat. This asana is best done on an empty stomach in the morning.
  2. Your feet should be straight with the tops flattened on the floor not on the toes.
  3. Touch your forehead to the ground and place your palms at chest level flat on the floor.
  4. Tuck your elbows in to your midribs and take a few deep breaths.
  5. Now you are ready to strike the cobra strike!
  6. Slowly raise your head the way a cobra would raise its hood gracefully in to an arc.
  7. Slowly from the neck down feel each vertebrae getting stretched as you raise your chest and necks in to an arc.
  8. The neck might be stiff so don’t push or crane it up beyond what you can endure.
  9. As you raise your chest and neck in to an arc mind that you don’t straighten out your hands at the elbow, as that might feel uncomfortable. Instead, try to keep the upper torso as low as possible and go in for the arc with the neck.
  10. With regular practice, you should be able to stretch your neck back far enough to be able to see the ceiling.
  11. The pelvis should not leave the floor.
  12. Feel the stretch all the way from your lower back to your neck.
  13. This pose is quite difficult to hold initially for more than a few seconds so don’t push yourself. If you can hold to the count of 15-20 initially with no discomfort then you are doing well.
  14. This pose stretches the entire back and exercises the spine by allowing a better flow for oxygen and blood into the pelvic and spinal areas. It massages the abdomen and keeps the heart pumping healthily. It makes the neck and shoulders strong and massages the throat and the thyroid gland. The cobra pose looks beautiful and provides equally beautiful benefits as well.

Go West with Paschimottanasana

Paschim literally means the direction west and aptly named, thus as in this seated pose the back or west side of the body is stretched and bent towards the front or the East. Paschimottanasana can prove to be a panacea for people with back pain all over the world.

How to perform Paschimottanasana

  1. This is a seated pose so sit on the floor with feet outstretched.
  2. Now the pose requires you to hold your toes with the respective hand all the while keeping the legs absolutely taut and straight.
  3. Bend forward from the hip keeping shoulders square (without drooping) and try to clutch your toes. If you are flexible then the entire spine can drop down towards the legs in a sort of a fold. This isn’t the easiest of poses and that’s why it figures tops in ‘Hatha Yoga’ or one of the yogic disciplines.
  4. Bend forward from the hip rather than forcing your waist down. That way you will be stretching the hips and the hamstrings as well.
  5. Your hands can be straight out while clasping the toes or bent at the elbows with you breathing evenly.
  6. When you have managed to touch your forehead to the knees without lifting your legs then that’s where you should try and stay as long as your flexibility allows.
  7. Your hamstrings and knees might hurt initially so do not push yourself forwards. Even if you can barely touch your toes with hands extended its all right. You will still benefit from the pose. Gradually you can feel your body opening up bit by bit to help you master the pose.

Paschimottanasana offers tremendous benefits to the practitioner in terms of exercising the spine, the hamstrings, the viscera, the lower back, the arms and the knees. The spine will feel relieved of tension and will certainly be strengthened with regular practice. Other than removing postural defects and relieving sciatica it can cure constipation and bowel conditions and even help control serious conditions like diabetes.

Tadasana: The Mountain Pose

Tadasana: One of the simplest of poses to look at and one of the most difficult to master. Most people throw their weight on one side of the feet (Either on the inner or outer edges) causing bad posture and spinal deformities or bad alignment of the spine. Tadasana can help a person improve posture and stand strong much like a mountain - stable, unswerving and fearless. It helps to improve balance and concentration as well.

How to perform Tadasana

  1. This is a standing pose. So pick your favorite spot to stand and put your feet together keeping the head tall and the back straight.
  2. This pose is all about understanding how to put your feet firmly on the ground to build a strong foundation. Much like a mountain.
  3. Now raise your toes for a couple of seconds and your body will move along the waist and pelvis to find its balance. Now keep the toes back and raise the heels for a couple of seconds.
  4. These adjustments are necessary for the body to find its ideal position where the weight is distributed equally along the feet. Here the body isn’t tilted towards any one side, as is the habit with many people. That’s precisely what gives them back pain and bad posture.
  5. Tuck your neck back in and square up the shoulders with your hands straight at your side and stand in that pose without moving.
  6. Soon you will find the thigh muscles twitching to go somewhere. So pull them right up. Pay attention to your hands that they are absolutely straight and you will find your breathing goes deep and steady.
  7. This is the ideal pose where the abdomen and thighs are pulled right up and the gaze is straight ahead with the neck lengthened.

As said earlier this pose isn’t one of the easiest to hold. It will improve posture quite like nothing else can and hence can be used as a foundation pose easily by everybody with or without back pain.