General reasons for backache*
– Sitting or standing for long hours
– Sitting or standing in an incorrect posture
– Lack of exercise
– Weak back muscles
Do you find your hand often reaching out for your upper back? Unconsciously wanting to soothe it and ease a slight, pulsating pain? You could be in the middle of a kitchen chore or bending over a colleague’s desk at work and are suddenly aware of a slight ache spreading over your lower back?
You might not have a chronic backache. Yet these once-in-a-blue-moon signs could be enough wake-up calls for us to sit up straight and invest 5 minutes every day. Just 5 minutes to strengthen our back muscles by practicing simple yoga postures. Don’t wait until you get a backache. Start now and invest a few minutes daily – the returns are high – a healthy back is yours for keeps.
7 yoga postures to wave goodbye to backache
Our back has three movements: stretching upwards, twisting, and moving forward and backward. Regular practice of the yoga poses listed below ensures that muscles which support these movements are strengthened.
You can practice some of these yoga postures anytime, anywhere! Even if you miss them on the yoga mat in the morning, you can still take out 5 minutes during the day at work or when your back hints that it needs them.
What’s more – in the airplane yoga sequence, we have customized these yoga postures so that you can do some of these yoga poses for backache even on an airplane! Let’s see the yoga postures and how we can practice them.
#1 All Direction Back Stretch – Designed by Dr. Sejal Shah, Art of Living Yoga teacher, this sequence stretches your back in all directions and is very effective in providing relief from backache. After driving for a long duration, hop out of the car, keep your feet firmly on the floor and do these stretches.
#2 Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – Helps tone the arm, leg and abdominal muscles and makes the spine flexible. If you have been standing in the kitchen for a long time, take a break for a few seconds and do the Triangle Pose. Now, do where is the backache?
#3 Pavan Muktasana (Knee-to-Chin Press) – Increases blood circulation in hip joints and eases tension in the lower back. Try this one on your yoga mat. You can do a variation of this yoga posture sitting in a chair as well. Did your lower back muscles thank you?
#4 Katichakrasana (Standing Spinal Twist) – Increases flexibility of the spine and strengthens arm and leg muscles. Stand up tall.
#5 Ardh-Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half-Spinal Twist) and
#6 Marjariasana (Cat Stretch) – Makes the spine supple and elastic. You can practice variations of these yoga postures in a chair! Check Airplane Yoga for instructions.
#7 Bhujangasana (Cobra posture) – Massages back muscles and lends more flexibility to the upper back. Have you seen kids watching TV or doodling in this pose? Get off the couch and join them.
Other benefits: These yoga poses help tone and massage various organs in the body such as pancreas, kidneys, stomach, small intestine, liver and gall bladder.
Tip from Art of Living Yoga teachers: Don’t restrict yourself to practicing only certain yoga postures. Add variety to your yoga routine. The postures described above help strengthen your back muscles. But we need to attend to all parts of our body to keep the whole body healthy. For this, it is important to practice a variety of different yoga poses and breathing techniques each day.
Keep these points in mind while practicing yoga postures to relieve backache:
How you can avoid backache?
- Balance your body weight equally on both legs
- Practice yoga postures regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Practice breathing techniques to energize the system
- Strengthen your back muscles by stretching regularly
- Practice these yoga postures gently with caution as doing them incorrectly might result in serious back problems.
- It is advised to learn yoga back postures from an Art of Living Yoga teacher before practicing them on your own at home.
- Respect your body. Each body type is unique with different flexibility. Only do as much as you comfortably can.
- These yoga postures are helpful in strengthening the back and maintaining general health of the spine. If you have a serious back issue (slip disc or arthritis), we strongly recommend that you consult your doctor before trying out any of these yoga postures.
- Pregnant women should consult a doctor before doing these yoga postures. Most women accept backache as a common symptom of pregnancy but it is important to attend to it so that your back does not trouble you even after delivery.
Based on inputs by Dinesh Kashikar, Senior Art of Living Yoga teacher, and Dr. Sejal Shah, National Coordinator for Art of Living Yoga, India.