Managing Low Back Pain With Yoga

Those who have experienced low back pain are all too familiar with the feeling of desperation in the search for a cure.  At a time when seemingly nothing can help your condition everything is a option.

Claire Diab, the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center, along with retired firefighter, Dennis Boyle have outlined a simple yoga practice that includes breathing exercises, gentle stretching, and strengthening that can move you toward a healthier body and spine.

The simple practice of Tadasana (mountain pose) throughout the day is something quite useful for all.

  • Begin standing with your feet hips width apart, toes facing forward.
  • Notice your feet on the ground, spread your toes, lift your arch, and balance your weight on all four corners of your feet
  • Draw energy up through your feet, into your legs, and notice your knees.  Stand with your knees straight but not locked.  Soften the muscles to unlock the knees while keeping the knee joints straight and stacked.
  • Next, bring your attention to your low back.  Draw your belly up and in toward your spine, and imagine that you are making your spine longer.  Be sure you didn’t lock your knees in the meantime.
  • Maintain the stability of your lower spine, and lift up through your chest and open your shoulders without loading or collapsing backward in the low back.
  • Tuck your chin to lengthen the back of your neck, aligning your head on top of your beautifully balanced spine.
  • Relax your arms at your sides, palms facing forward.

Breathe deeply in and out as you attempt to hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.  Repeat several times per day, particularly if you have a sedentary job.  Posture interruption/changing positions is extremely important for sedentary workers.  If you want to challenge yourself and it is pain free, you can stretch the arms up overhead as you maintain the posture, inhaling as you reach up and exhaling as your release the hands to your side.