Asanas for back pain Relief
After making it to the big leagues – aka cubicle life – I noticed a major shift in my overall energy and health. The key driver behind this shift was – drumroll please – sitting.
We all sit.
We sit in our cars.
We sit on our couches.
We sit at work.
We sit while eating.
We sit. We sit. And then we sit some more.
But here’s the scary part. Sitting is leading to a nationwide epidemic. Millions of people suffer from back and neck pain every year with most cases stemming from our modern sedentary lifestyles.
To drive this point home, below are a few factoids on this sitting epidemic:
Sedentary lifestyle contributes to or can be a risk factor for:
- Organ damage: heart disease, over-productive pancreas, and colon cancer
- Muscle degeneration: mushy abs, tight hips, limp glutes
- Leg disorders: poor circulation and soft bones
- Foggy brain, strained neck, sore shoulders, and back
- Bad back: inflexible spin and disk damage.
How the back suffers:
The back suffers from the neck down to the tailbone; it’s an all-over crisis. I know ‘crisis’ sounds extreme, but truly, sitting is the new smoking. Let’s examine this a bit deeper:
While sitting at your desk, the neck is strained from the constant craning action towards a keyboard or computer screen. The shoulders are overworked from the constant rounding action of the back, which results in poor posture.
And our spines – aaaaah!
The spine becomes inflexible due to lack of movement and fresh blood pumping through the system. This “lack” then leads to the discs becoming squashed and uneven, eventually leading to hardened collagen in all the wrong places.
So how can we relieve and ultimately reverse the aches and pains from our sedentary lifestyles?
Here’s what professionals recommend:
- Sit on something wobbly like a stability ball.
- Stretch the hip flexors often.
- Alternate between sitting and standing.Take frequent walks.
- Try doing yoga – duh!
That last bullet point is why I’m writing this article and why you’re here. I love yoga, you love yoga, now let’s use the beautiful practice to heal our bodies and reverse all that damn sitting!
Below are 12 yoga poses to help relieve tension, circulate the blood, create space in the body, and most importantly – help our backs feel young again.
Psst… Want to take the class? Watch the free video tutorial at the bottom of this article.
- Begin lying on your back with legs and arms extended long.
- Exhale – bring both knees into the chest and clasp your hands around them.
- Keep the back flat on the mat and draw the tailbone and sacrum toward the ground to lengthen the spine.
- Release the shoulder blades down and broaden across the collarbone.
- If comfortable, rock gently from side to side to massage the spine.
Benefits: helps keep the low back long, often used a counter stretch to backbends and spinal twists, and used as an eliminator of waste, toxins, and tension.
Cautions: avoid if recovering from abdominal surgery, hernia, spinal, knee, or hip injury.
2. Ardha Apanasana
- Hold the right knee into the chest and extend the left leg long.
- If comfortable, rock the knee from armpit to chest, then find stillness wherever is comfortable.
- Keep the back of the neck long and shoulder blades pulled down away from the ears.
- Stay for a minute, and then switch to the other leg.
Benefits: helps release tension in the lower back, hips, and thighs and aids in stiffness of the spine.
Cautions: avoid this pose if you have spinal injury or sciatica.
3. Supine Spinal Twist
- Begin from the pose above and with the right knee into the chest.
- Exhale – roll onto your left hip as the right knee softens toward the ground.
- Extend your right arm out along the floor, shoulder-width height.
- Keep the left hand resting gently on the right knee.
- Let the right knee become heavy, slowly releasing further towards the floor.
- Stay for 10 – 30 breaths.
- Inhale – gently engage the low belly and bring both knees back to center.
- Repeat the above steps on the left side.