Lower back pain has been listed as one of the most common medical complaints in recent years; and regardless of whether you spend long hours sitting at a desk or you exercise as regularly as a professional athlete, this ailment can happen to anyone and everyone.
Common causes are the hamstring muscles and the illiopsoas muscles shortening following many hours of sitting, or by not stretching correctly when working out and doing heavy strain exercise, this strain on the lower back can be relieved by a daily yoga practise. To help you get started, The Centre has put together this list of four yoga positions that specifically combat lower back pain helping to stretch, strengthen and soothe.
Cat Pose – Bidalasana
Coordinating your breath with the movement of the spine, the Cat Pose or Bidalasana not only helps to encourage focus and relaxation; it also stretches the neck, back and torso, gently massaging the spinal muscles and releasing the strain and tension in the lower back.
To feel the benefits of the Cat pose start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees below your hips. As you exhale draw your belly button in and curve your back up towards the ceiling with your head down, on the next inhalation come back to the straight table top position and continue as required.
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana
One of the best poses for lower-back pain is the Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose or Supta Padangusthasana because of the gentle stretch it gives to the area which can help to relieve compression and tension. By doing the pose lying on the ground, your back is supported and you can also benefit from the hamstring stretch without putting stress on the spine. One cause of lower back pain can be irregular alignment causing stress to one side of the body, make sure you do this pose on both sides to ensure you stretch out both sides of the back.
To do this pose with or without a strap, lie on your back with one knee bent and pulled into your chest. Place the strap across the ball of your foot and straighten your leg at a right angle to the body, hold, release and repeat on the other side.
Upward Forward Bend (forward fold) – Ardha Uttanasana
By lengthening and aligning the spinal column the upward forward bend or Ardha Uttanasana pose, helps to strengthen the back muscles in the correct way. This pose will also help to stretch your hamstrings, open the chest, stimulate the nervous system and release tension in the shoulders.
To get into the Forward Fold, stand in Tadasana and on the next exhalation hinge forward at the hips and reach forward as far as you can go. Don’t worry if you can’t touch the ground, the stretch will still benefit you and it’s never a good idea to push yourself too far.
Triangle Pose - Trikonasana
Lower back pain can be caused be a weakness elsewhere in the body on indeed in the back itself. The Triangle pose or Trikonasana is a great position to help you to strengthen the back muscles and the legs, which in turn help to support the lower back.
To feel the benefit of this position, stand in Tadasana, step your left foot back to the width of your outstretched arms, turn your chest and hips to face the side and open your arms. Next hinge to the right, reach your right arm out to the side then lower it to rest on your ankle or shin. Now with balance raise your left arm to the sky and if you can, turn your head to look up at your left arm.