Back pain affects most of us at some point in our lives. Sometimes all it takes is an unmindful moment of lifting and twisting or bending forward without good body mechanics and we are out of commission for days or even weeks.
As a sufferer of chronic low and upper back pain myself I know all too well how debilitating it can be. I am so grateful to have found yoga as a practice to keep my back supple and strong. And when my back does "go out" or flares up, I use this series of movements from the yoga medicine cabinet that releases the spasming muscles and the discomfort without relying on anything stronger than a little ibuprofen.
Right Hand: Touch tips of thumb, middle and pinkie fingers together, extend all others.
Left Hand: Touch tips of thumb and ring fingers together, extend all others. Rest with palms up.
Benefits: Directs breath into the spine and back body
Practice Tips: Use with all kinds of back pain
Lie on back with knees drawn into chest. On an inhalation lower knees to the left side. Exhale and engage belly as you bring knees back to the center. Inhale as you lower kees to the right side. Exhale and engage belly as you bring knees back to the center.
Repeat alternately with the breath 5-10 times per side.
Therapeutics: Broadens back of pelvis, stretches outside of legs, gently compresses the abdominal organs
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie on the belly with the hands under the shoulders. Press pubic bone into floor and lengthen legs behind you. Inhale and press upper body away from floor keeping shoulders back and chest broad.
Hold 5-10 breaths and release chest to floor.
Restorative: Can support lower abdomen with rolled blanket
Therapeutics: Opens front body, stretches lower back, strengthens arms
Lie on back with knees bent and feet on floor. Lift hips up and place block under back of pelvis. Turn toes slightly in and allow arms to rest out to sides with palm facing upwards. Rest up to 5 minutes.
Therapeutics: Opens front of belly and solar plexus allowing for increased breath in these areas as well as tractioning the lower spine
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.