Back pain is experienced by many and can make even the most mundane tasks difficult to complete. If you have ever experienced back pain, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. Yoga may be the answer to finding relief from your discomfort. Yoga increases flexibility in the body and is able to help relieve pain through gentle movements that relax and stretch stiff muscles. It also helps to increase bodily awareness which can help you to notice where you are holding tension and when you may be overworking or straining your back before the pain becomes exasperated. Follow along with the following sequence for relieving back pain.
Begin in a table top position, placing your palms underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. On an inhale, drop your belly and direct your gaze to the sky. On an exhale, press the mat away and arch your spine, directing your gaze toward your navel. Take slow, small and gentle movements, paying close attention to any sensation that arises and be mindful of any pain or discomfort in the back. Continue this pattern, linking your breath to your movement for 10 rounds.
Child's pose (Balasana)
From your table top, extend your knees out mat’s width and sit your seat back onto your heels, extending your arms out long on your mat and planting your forehead to the earth. Allow your body to relax and be heavy. Hold for 10-20 breaths.
Downward facing dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
Press into the palms and straighten your legs, creating an inverted V shape with your body. Straighten out through the spine and extend the hips toward the ceiling, finding downward facing dog. Invite in gentle movement, straightening one leg and then the other. Find stillness and hold for five breaths.
Happy Baby (Ananda balasana)
Come down onto your back bring your legs in toward the chest and reach for the outer edges
of your feet, directing your knees toward your armpits. Keep your spine firmly planted on the mat as you open up through the hips. You can invite gentle movement into the posture by rocking back and forth on the spine, gently massaging out the back. Hold and explore the posture for 10 breaths.
Supine twist (Supta matsyendrasana)
Come to lie down on your back. Bend both knees and bring them through center. Scoot your hips a few inches to the left and drop both knees belly button height over to the right. Extend your arms out at shoulder height in a T shape and gaze over your left shoulder. Hold on this side for 10 breaths before coming through center to repeat the same on the opposite side.
Supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana)
From your back, place both feet on the ground and bend the knees. Press into your feet to lift your hips off the mat and place a block beneath your sacrum. Allow the sacrum to heavy down onto the block as you allow the back to gently open. If this is too much sensation for the back, you can decrease the height of the block or use a blanket. Hold for 10 breaths before slowly returning back down to the mat.
Bring your knees in toward the chest and wrap your arms around the legs. On an inhale, squeeze the legs and bring your forehead to the knees, starting to tense every muscle. Breathe in one more sip of air as you engage the entire body and on an exhale release your grip, coming to lie down on the mat. Extend your arms and legs out long, taking up as much space as you want. Let go of any breath control or attempt to control the mind and allow your body to melt into the mat, relaxing deeply. Stay here for up to 10 minutes, gently coming up when you are finished to resume your evening.