In today’s times, we find more and more people suffer from back ache. Whether it is lower back pain or something more chronic such as sciatica or cervical spondylosis; we find a large number of people approaching us to take up yoga to cure their back problems. In fact even young people, in their twenties complain of debilitating back conditions. A combination of a sedentary job, bad eating habits, immense mental and emotional stress, and inadequate or wrong exercising contribute to your back problems.
In Yoga, the back is given a lot of importance – the back is called the second brain because all the nerves of the body pass through the spinal cord. The spinal cord is often thought of as the Information Super-Highway of the body. It forms part of the Central Nervous system of the body, and hence keeping your spine is good health is necessary to live a normal life.
To strengthen the back, firstly, we need to understand that the role of the abdomen muscles (abs) in protecting the back. As we develop in age there is a tendency to put on what is called the middle age spread – weight around the stomach and sides. This added weight in the front part of the body adds to the strain on the lower back, and we begin to feel backache. Unless the abs muscles can give structural support to the lower torso – in other words the abs are strong enough to enable the body to stand erect – we will be unable to deal with our back ache. So for most people who develop back ache, you need to lose weight and strengthen the core or abs muscles.
Secondly, we need to increase the flexibility and strength of the back muscles. There is a small muscle in the lower back called erector spinae which helps us stand erect. Along with this muscle, the other bigger muscles of the back need to be strengthened so that the body can hold itself straight without strain.
In this article we look at those asanas that will help develop core abs strength as well as back (mainly lower back strength) and flexibility. Remember that this article deals with general back aches and an understanding of how to cope with it. Those who do not suffer from backache can also practice this routine as a precaution against the onset of back ache. People suffering from chronic conditions need to consult their doctors and qualified yoga therapists before undertaking the practices.
Practicing some of the yogasanas will help strengthen the back. At the same time, it is recommended that you practice crunches to tone the muscles. (ensure that you are doing the crunches in the proper manner, and check with a yoga therapist if it the pain persists or increases).
For more details on how to practice these asanas please visit our asana directory http://total-yoga.org/asana-directory/
Slavica Gokul is a certified Vinyasa, Hatha and Power yoga teacher through Total Yoga in Bangalore, India. She has been an aspiring yogi for more than 20 years. She dedicated herself to consistent practice 9 years ago and while residing in India from 2012-14 underwent teacher training.