Yoga is a well-known mind and body therapy that helps with back pain and the emotional toll that pain creates. Practicing yoga for just a few minutes a day can support recovery from a back injury and release tension out of the muscles after an exhausting day. Here, Russell Jack, a Southland-based yoga teacher, shares a few beginning yoga poses that will ease back pain and prevent future pulls.
To do this, begin by lying down on your stomach and extending your legs behind you. Tighten the muscles of your lower half and bend your arms to bring your hands under your shoulders. Then extend your arms slowly while lifting your upper half off the floor. Try to relax in this pose with your head facing forward for up to 5 minutes.
Get on your knees, rest your butt on your feet and bend forward as your hands walk out in front of you. If possible, stretch to the floor and lay your forehead on the ground; if not, get as close as you can without feeling pain. Feel the stretch, take ten deep breaths, and then release the pose.
To begin this pose, lay on the floor flat on your back, place your arms out to your sides, palms down. Bring your knees up over your hips and roll them to one side. Only one of your hips should be leaving the floor at a time. Use the hand on the roll side to push down on your legs. If they reach the floor, that’s great, but if not, go as far as you can till you feel the stretch, but not pain. Hold and take five deep breaths, rest, then roll to the opposite side.
This is a backbend of sorts. Once again, lie flat on your back, arms down to your sides. Bend your legs until your knees and feet are aligned. Then press your feet and hands to the floor and bring your hips up as far as possible. Hold for five breaths and then come down and rest for 10.
These poses will stretch your muscles and align your spine and are known to have emotional responses, such as relieving stress, fatigue, and anxiety.
You should get medical advice before trying yoga if an injury caused your back pain. Some stretches, instead of helping, can make an injury more painful. Yoga should not be painful – you will feel stretching and even tension as you build muscle, but if a pose or position is too uncomfortable, you need to remove that pose from your workout plan.
About Russell Jack
Russell Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights protection, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.