Long office hours, sedentary lifestyle and tedious hours of travelling takes a toll on our body. The result- lower back pain. According to a report published by Science Daily, lower back pain causes more disability around the globe than any other condition and accounts for a third of all work-related disability. According to research by the Global Burden of Disease in 2010, it was found that almost one in 10 people worldwide suffer from low back pain.
Yoga expert Shammi Gupta opines that lower back pain is also the result of wrong posture or postural misalignment. Shammi explains some easy yoga exercises you can do in your living room to relieve your back pain worries.
We are going to divide the exercises into a two-part series so that our readers first get acquainted with the first exercises before practicing the rest of them.
The yoga got its name according to the shape it takes i.e. a bow. The main benefit of the exerciseis to give a full backward bend to the entire length of the spinebuilding both strength and flexibility in the back, bending the back in the opposite direction of the seated forward bend.
How to do the exercise
- Lie on your stomach with your feet hipwidth apart and your arms by the side of your body.
- Fold your knees and hold your ankles.
- Breathing in, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
- Look straight ahead with a smile on your face. Curve your lips to match the curve of your body.
- Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your body is now taut as a bow.
- Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But don’t get carried away. Do not overdo the stretch.
- After 15 -20 seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
Other benefits: Good for treating stomach upsets and respiratory problems.
Caution: Ladies should avoid practicing this yoga pose during pregnancy.
Tadasana or The Mountain Pose
Tadasana in Sanskrit means mountain, and performing the asana helps you in having a straight posture like a mountain.
How to do the exercise
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Press your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet. Breathe steadily and rhythmically.
- Press your big toes together (separate your heels if you need to). Lift your toes and spread them apart. Then, place them back down on the mat, one at a time.
- Draw down through your heels and straighten your legs. Ground your feet firmly into the earth, pressing evenly across all four corners of both feet.
- Bring your palms above namaste mudra above your head, eyes are fixed.
- Lift your ankles and the arches of your feet. Squeeze your outer shins toward each other.
- Draw the top of your thighs up and back, engaging the quadriceps. Rotate your thighs slightly inward, widening your sit bones.
- Tuck in your tailbone slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Lift the back of your thighs, but release your buttocks. Keep your hips even with the center line of your body.
- Bring your pelvis to its neutral position. Do not let your front hip bones point down or up; instead, point them straight forward. Draw your belly in slightly.
- As you inhale, elongate through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist.
- Broaden across your collarbones, keeping your shoulders in line with the sides of your body.
- Press your shoulder blades toward the back ribs, but don’t squeeze them together. Keep your arms straight, fingers extended, and triceps firm. Allow your inner arms to rotate slightly outward.
- Elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in one line.
- Keep your breathing smooth and even. With each exhalation, feel your spine elongating. Softly gaze forward toward the horizon line. Hold the pose for up to one minute.
Other benefits: The pose strengthens the thighs, knees, ankles, abdomenand buttocks. It is also helpful for reducing the affects of flat feet.
Caution: Due to the balancing nature of the posture, do not practice Tadasana if you are experiencing headaches, insomnia and low blood pressure.
Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward facing dog pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog pose clearly puts you in touch with the inherent isometric or push-pull dynamicswhere a movement in one direction is balanced and enhanced by an action in the opposite direction. This has deep philosophical and spiritual significance, corresponding to the meaning of hatha yoga as the union of the sun and moon, the masculine and feminine.
How to do the exercise
- Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.
- As you breath out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body.
- Hands are shoulder width apart, feet are hip width apart and parallel to each other. Toes point straight ahead.
- Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms.
- Hold the downward dog pose and take long, deep breaths. Look towards the navel.
- Exhale. Bend the knees, return to table pose. Relax.
Other benefit: Helps relieve headache, insomnia and fatigue.It lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.It brings strength throughout the body, especially the arms, shoulders, legs and feet.
Caution:Avoid doing the exercise if you suffer from high blood pressure, carpel tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhea.
Vyaghrasana or Tiger Pose
The most recommended exercise for the back muscle, Vyaghrasana or the tiger pose simulates the stretching movement of a tiger when it wakes from deep sleep.
How to do the exercise:
- Maintain equal distance between knees and hands.
- Hold the arms straight and keep the eyes open.
- This is the primary position.
- Inhale deep.
- Slowly raise the right leg towards the back when it gets parallel to the back.
- Then raise the lower knee and bring it towards the head.
- Turn the neck towards the back.
- The sole gets towards the back.
- Balance the body in this pose.
- Place any soft matter if you realize any knee pain.
- Exhale and bend down the neck and the right knee.
- Bring the right knee between the arms and attempt to touch the nose.
- Raise the back upwards.
- Hold yourself in this pose for a while.
- Place back the leg near the knee and straighten the neck.
- Similarly repeat this with the left leg and complete the cycle.
- Initially practice this five times and slowly increase it.
Other benefits: Tones the spinal nerves and vaginal passage after child delivery. Promotes digestion and improves blood circulation. Also helps in reducing weight from the hips and thigh.
Caution: Doing this posture incorrectly can also affect the lower back.