The chances are that you have heard about yoga a couple of times (or more) and haven’t had time to learn about it or try some poses. If that sounds like you, you just found the right place to learn about yoga.
We will discuss yoga and its benefits — and yoga poses you can use to get quick relief from back pain. If you are ready, let’s get started.
What is yoga?
As you may already know, yoga involves a series of physical activities or assuming different postures (asanas) to help you relax and master the art of breath control (pranayama). Yoga also touches on positive thinking and meditation (to help you connect and become one with your body, mind and the environment.
Beyond the poses you see make at the beach or on TV, there is to yoga that meets the eyes. Let’s shift our focus to the benefits of yoga for a second.
What are the benefits of yoga?
It may interest you to know that yoga offers tons of benefits and practicing yoga often will do a great deal of good. Some of the health benefits of yoga include:
1. Yoga is incorporated into health programs to help in the treatment of substance abuse.
2. Yoga is used as a complementary treatment for health challenges like anxiety, depression and coronary heart diseases. There are claims that yoga can be used in the treatment of cancers and HIV/AIDS. Isn’t that thrilling?
3. Yoga can be used to improve strength, balance and flexibility.
Yoga involves slow movements and controlled breathing, which helps in improving blood circulation and toning your muscles. Holding poses during yoga helps to build strength.
4. Yoga helps you relax and improve your quality of sleep
Doing yoga before bedtime has been found to help you relax and get the body prepared for sleep. Yoga can also help with stress management, boost energy, brighten your mood, promote self-care, ease arthritis symptoms, and relieve back pain.
Having mentioned back pain, let’s drop anchor and discuss yoga poses and help relieve back pain.
Can yoga provide relief for back pain?
As we mentioned earlier, yoga involves low-power exercises. During yoga, one stretches and holds different positions, which help in easing pain. In addition to relieving pain, doing the right yoga poses can improve mobility in people experiencing lower back pain (also known as lumbago).
While taking over-the-counter medications, topical rubs and ointments, and using muscle relaxants can help reduce back pain, you can also use yoga (asana) poses to treat and manage back pain.
Yoga poses (asanas) that can help relieve back pain
1. The triangle pose (Trikonasana)
The Trikonasana or the triangle pose is an excellent yoga pose for improving body alignment and stretching those hamstrings and calves. It also helps to strengthen your spine, chest, shoulders and legs.
Here is how to do it:
You start by extending your arms sideways and keeping your feet wide apart. With your toes pointing outwards, bend your body at the hip to the right and touch your right foot with your left hand pointing to the sky.
It would be best if you attempted to hold this position for 30 seconds and return to your original standing position. Repeat the procedure five times for your both your left and right side.
2. Salabhasana — the locust pose
This asana will help you build and improve your core strength. It also stretches the spine, opens the chest, aid digestion and strengthen your legs. Even though this pose enhances flexibility and strength, pregnant women and people who have recently done surgery are advised not to sit out this pose.
Here is how Salabhasana is done
You begin by lying on your stomach (on the floor), putting your legs together, and having your hands on your side. While in this position, ensure that your palms are facing upward and your forehead touches the ground.
Now, lift your upper body, arms and legs at the same time. If you did it correctly, you should feel your body stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
This yoga pose is popularly known as the cow/dog pose. In addition to relieving back pain, this asana also massages the spine and enhances mental stability.
Here is how to do it:
Start by saddening the table position with your leg underneath your hips and hands underneath your shoulders — like a cat that is standing. Take a deep breath as you push your chest downwards and exhale as you tilt your head forward and push your tailbone forward as well. Repeat this pose times.
Other yoga poses you should try out for relieving back pain are Adho mukha svanasana (the downward-facing dog) and paschimottanasana, also known as the seated forward bend.
All of these yoga poses are effective for managing and relieving back pain. And you can practice from the comfort of your home with little or no assistance. If you are grappling with back pain and are tired of missing out on fun activities or work, get yourself a yoga mat and get started with these yoga poses.