People experience back pain so often, that it can almost be called a universal issue. Girls just starting their period experience lower back pain. And then as we go on in life, when we are pregnant, when we loose weight and when we gain. Athletes, commonly experience back pain. Office workers can experience back pain. It has become such a wide spread issue that it often goes unnoticed or uncared for.
Over my career I have had the pleasure of meeting so many different types of students that have come to me for advise on a range of topics including this one. Which is why I took time to constructs out a routine that considers the anatomy, the spiritual body and the essence of yoga combining them to get your healthy back.
Sukasana: Begin by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. Start from concentrating on your breathing and think of getting in the right mind space. You should think of the term “Ocean breath” when breathing, your aim is to breathe as deeply and calmly as possible, in a way that almost sounds like waves crashing ashore. Inhale and the abdomen has expanded. Exhale and the ribcage should lower and the abdomen should contract. Your back should be straight and your shoulders straight but relaxed. The back of your hand should rest on your knee.
Cats position: Roll forward into the familiar tabletop position and from there inhale and arch the back and exhale while round the back. Push your shoulder blades up and engage your core muscles.
Twist: Stay in the tabletop position but move your arms slightly closer together. From there raise first the left arm. Take five breaths. Then the right arm and do the same. X3
Anahatasana: or puppy pose. From the last position, walk your hands forward and eventually place your chest on the floor. Keep you thighs above your knees and keep the hands at shoulders width. (Several breaths)
Child pose (stay here for 5 breaths)
Spynx: Push yourself forward and straighten your legs behind you. Push up to rest on your elbows, which should be brought an inch forward. You should try to engage the muscles in your lower body to help relive the sensations in the spine. This pose also cleans your kidneys ;) (stay as long as you feel) Push your arms to the sides and lay down with one side of your head on the mat. Focus on the sensation in the spine; attempt to feel the energy levels moving.
On the next breath bring your arms forward and lower your head down straight. Straighten the right arm and the left leg simultaneously while keeping the neck and head straight. Stretch on exhale while contracting the outer buttocks and inner leg muscles. Lower your self and on the next breath switch the arm and leg.
Locust: This time when you lower your self, instead of raising an arm and a leg you will raise both legs. Place your hands under you, contract your lower back and swing both legs as high as possible. Keep the legs straight and point the toes. X3-5
Cobra or variation of cobra: In the picture you see the cobra pose, in order to do the variation of this pose you should: inhale, roll back you shoulders by bringing the shoulder blades together which opens your chest, contract the upper body and then lift your upper body with your arms behind you and tightening your upper back. Hold for the whole exhalation and then lower you self. X3-5
Now, this time on inhalation you will simultaneously lift both of your arms and legs as high as possible. Relax the neck and the shoulders while balancing the pose on the pelvis. X10
Child pose (until breathing is balanced again)
On the next breath we sit into the hero pose. Shift your awareness to the back muscles, make sure you fully place you intention on the back muscle to prepare for the next pose. (several breaths)
Remain sitting in the same pose but raise your arms over your head. Now imagine you were trying to pull your self up, strengthen the back and shoulder muscles as you lower your arms to your sides. On exhale we push down the muscles in the back by lowering the hands while contracting the upper back.
Camel: Kneel on the mat and by slowly bending backwards place your hands, one at a time, on your ankles. Push the pelvis backwards and make sure to contract the back of you thighs and above in order to allow you to lean further. Hold for a few breaths (3) all the while pushing the head and the pelvis further away from each other.
Child pose. Connect with your breath.
Parighasana: Kneel on the mat, shift your weight onto your right knee and the left leg should be extended to your side. Inhale and raise your right arm next to your ear, with the right arm forward. (5 breaths for each side)
Pigeon: extend your right leg behind you and, along with the floor with the toes pointed, keep the back of your left foot in front of your right hip while steadying your self using your arms. Open the chest and tighten the back and lower back muscles. To go deeper, with next inhale bring your awareness back to your back muscles, on the next breath raise your arms and then lower then once again like you were pulling. Squeeze the lat’s muscles.
Knee to chest pose: Bring knee to chest while lying on your back and roll in a circular motion very lightly in order to release the tension.
Bridge pose: Start of by lying on your mat and activating your abdominal muscles. Bend both legs and place your arms under you. Tighten you buttocks and then inhale, lifting your hips. Extend the pose. Breathe carefully. (Stay for 5 breaths, then relapse and repeat) To go deeper, you can lift one leg up holding your self up with the other.
Knee to chest pose.
Shoulder stand: From lying down straight, you will want to place your hands on your buttocks and gently push the body by walking the hands down the back. Continue doing so until you are supported by your shoulders. Keep the legs together and straight. Keep the shoulders not to far apart and breathe. 10 breath
Plough: Once again lie flat on your back. Station your upper body while gradually rising the legs higher, aid your self by placing your arms on your back while you gradually move your legs over your head. Focus on slow breathing, keep your back straight and keep your arms as close to each other as possible behind your back. Stay in this pose for 5- 10 breaths. To come out, gently bend your knees and gently roll your spine down the mat until you are lying down.
On the next breath pull your knees to your chest and roll to your right side, move the top leg down until you feel comfortable while the other remains at 90 degrees. Then lower your self onto your shoulders. (few minutes) Focusing on the twist and the sensations in the body. Repeat the other side. To come out lay down on the side then roll back.
Downward Savasana: Lay down on your abdomen with your hands at your sides. Rest all of the tissues and ligaments; focus on the sensations in the body after the practice.
Final relaxation: at the end you should practice relaxation for about 10-20 minutes. This will bring your practice to a close and bring about physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation.