Yoga for Back Pain
People who suffer from ongoing or recurrent bouts of back pain often have to try a number of different forms of exercise to find the most appropriate therapy to manage their pain. For many, yoga has proven to be a safe and effective way to finally alleviate many forms of back pain or neck pain and help prevent ongoing problems.
How Yoga Can Help?
Yoga can provide several healing benefits for people with various types of back pain. For example, yoga can help by:
Healing injured back muscles
Speeding time to recover from an injury
Helping maintain a regular level of daily activities and avoid disability
Among other things, yoga helps ease lower back pain by gently stretching and strengthening the muscles of the lower back and legs and increasing blood circulation, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the injured tissues.
In general, yoga is a very safe form of exercise for most people. For those with specific back conditions, it is advisable to speak to your doctor prior to starting yoga.
Many conditions can cause back pain. Depending on the individual's specific diagnosis, a yoga program can often be modified to maximize the benefits of yoga and avoid aggravating the condition. A good yoga teacher can usually provide instructions on special modifications for specific medical conditions.
Yoga to Help Bad Knees
Yoga is highly beneficial for the knee joints and the muscles that support them. Yoga postures strengthen the inner and outer thigh muscles, so they exert an equal pull on the ligaments.
One way yoga can negatively impact your knees is if you throw yourself into a mixed- or intermediate-level practice without learning the basics of good knee alignment in beginner’s classes. Learn the basic building blocks of yoga, and advance gradually to more advanced poses that can challenge the knees (Lotus Pose, for example).
Book a private session for input on how to modify your practice to promote healing. If you end up with a hot, swollen, hard-to-bend knee, get off your feet for a few days. Play around with reclining yoga pose variations, keeping your knees straight until the swelling and pain subsides.
Your knees are something to really listen to. If there is any pain, even a twinge before an injury, listen and turn down the level of yoga or other excersise you are practicing.
Yoga for Stress Relief
Somewhere along the line you may have decided you are simply not the yoga type. Sure, you've heard the raves about yoga for stress management, but you can barely touch your toes. So there's no way you're going to stand on your head or twist your foot behind your neck like a human pretzel. And meditate? Last time you tried to lie still for three minutes you ended up obsessing about the stack of work on your desk and what to have for dinner. Not exactly Zen material.
"The benefits of yoga include decreased stress and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels,"
It's Never Too Late to Begin Yoga!
The first step is to give up all the preconceptions that are holding you back. First big myth: you have to be flexible to do yoga. People who aren't flexible will actually see results faster!
Steps to get you on your way to living with the benefits of yoga practice
Take a Beginner's Class
It's the first step. Don't try to jump in at the deep end, even if you are a champion athlete in other areas.
Don't Worry About Whether You're Doing It 'Right'
Yoga is a practice. I practice daily and I learn more and more about myself and yoga the more I do it. People have different strengths, and in time, all strengths will become more balanced.
Listen to Your Body
If you feel tired, have any tweaks in limbs or joints, out of breath or perhaps a little emotional. Take a rest.
Concentrate on Your Breath
Breathing is the main ingredient to a good yoga practice. Moving with the breath and listening to it throughout will keep you focused on your own practice and keep you calm throughout the class.
Let Go of Competitiveness
Yoga is not an olympic sport! Stay focused on your own level of practice and take from it your own body's personalised benefits which result after your class.