Yoga for Back Pain, Part 1

Back in college I started studying yoga. Now I have in no way kept up with it consistently but I believe the practice I had in place for 3 years taught me a lot about myself and it greatly influenced my life. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at a variety of different areas of Yogic practices and how you can incorporate some of the more simple techniques into your life.

While it may at first seam that with back pain challenges you need to focus your movement patterns around the back. While this can be helpful, focusing on your hips will give you a stronger foundation to relieve back pain. For most individuals, general pain in the back is due to poor alignment of the body. This can easily become a long term issue if alignment is not repaired in every day life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChiropractors can be helpful at fixing alignment but there is a lot you can do at home. To get the hips used to being in proper alignment (forward and back) begin by lying on the ground, preferably a harder surface, on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Already this may feel like a different angle for your hips and back if you are used to slouching in a chair all day. The small of your back, right above your tail bone, should feel like it is gently lifted off of the floor. Now for myself and others it will not actually be lifted but you want to think of gently pulling your belly button upwards in this position.

Place your hands on your hips and use your hands to guide your hips to rock forward and backwards. You will notice the small of your back getting further away and closer to the ground. Practice about 20 rocks a day while breathing easily. This will encourage more fluidity in your hip movements which may be tight right now.

img_2607-300x284When your body becomes familiar with this movement you can also practice it standing up. This is much harder but should be done with the feet at hip width apart (usually 1.5 lengths of your foot) and the knees slightly bent. Once standing, you can use the hip rock to continue a rolling motion up your spinal column. This can be done lying down but requires leg strength to lift your back off the ground. We will look at this technique next week.

Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations visit The Dancing Herbalist.com.

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