Whether it’s from working long hours hunched up over our laptops, or lifting weights at the gym, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position, back pain is something that we all have had to deal with. At the very least, it can be frustrating and even exhausting, because it causes so much pain and loss of much-needed sleep.
Fortunately, yoga can come to your rescue at times like these.
5 Ways Yoga Exercises Can Help Cure Back Pain
When done correctly and practiced regularly, yoga can teach our body to get itself accustomed to proper, healthy posture and movement. For more advanced students, yoga can even promote body flexibility and boost concentration. All of these things come together to relieve back pain and can even serve to prevent future back injury.
Here are five ways yoga exercises can help cure back pain.
1. It Helps Build Strength
Most times, back pain is a direct consequence of some sort of muscle tension. It need not always be your back muscles that are undergoing tension; sometimes even the muscles that support your back – for instance, your hamstrings or your abs could start feeling tight.
Yoga poses, when used in conjunction with its movements, can be of great help in strengthening the back by gently working on the muscles that assist the spine. Yoga is nothing but gentle self-application of muscle tension, specifically designed to prepare your muscles for greater physical endurance or strength. This way, yoga strengthens your back without really adding extra pressure or causing more pain to the practitioner.
2. It Protects Your Muscles
Bad posture directly results in back pain by putting unwanted strain on your muscles. Applying sudden jerks while moving or working your muscles in an uncoordinated manner can also cause serious injuries and sprains.
Yoga teaches you to concentrate on the postures and movements so that you learn how to move your body correctly and what you can handle. Practicing yoga over a period of time plants the knowledge of proper muscle movement into your habitual manner of movement. This protects your muscles, including those that support your spine, and also helps you maintain a healthy posture naturally at all times, without you even being consciously aware of it.
3. It Promotes Stretching
Yoga is all about well-guided stretching exercises that promote blood circulation throughout the body and infuses it in the muscles and the brain. Yoga is different from conventional stretches because it also involves concentration, an element that has a relaxing effect on the mind and the body. This makes yoga even more effective in curing back pain.
4. It Infuses Your Body With Oxygen
An important element of yoga is the practice of Pranayama or systematic breathing. With “prana” meaning “life force” or “something that is believed to have come from the breath” and “ayama” meaning “control”, Pranayama in Sanskrit means “controlled life force”. Focusing and being mindful of our breathing has great benefits for our health.
The oxygen that you breathe in, purifies and enriches your blood, thus giving your body energy. This oxygenated blood also enters your brain, your muscles (these include your back muscles and those that support your spine), releases strain and tension, and repairs damage.
5. It Promotes Relaxation
So many of us battle some form of stress of the other on a daily basis. It could be caused by our jobs, by spending hours in slow traffic, by a strained relationship. All these add up over time to cause us to zone into “flight” or “fight” mode, otherwise known as the sympathetic nervous system. Our heartbeat increases, our breathing gets quicker, we lose our appetites, and our muscles get tense – all of which come together to cause us or aggravate back pain, since the central nervous system is working overtime. Over long periods of time, this can really wear the body down and lead to other illnesses as well.
By channeling your thoughts on breathing and posture, yoga makes you aware of your body and every other movement. Through slow, steady, and fluid movement, yoga helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counter the sudden adrenalin flow, stress, and muscle tenseness during “flight” or “fight” mode.
Since so much of our day is filled with activities that trigger the sympathetic nervous system within minutes, knowing certain yoga techniques will not just help you “switch off” from all that stress, but will also help relieve your body including your back muscles of all that tension!
The best thing about yoga is that it is accessible to everyone. It doesn’t charge you a hefty membership fee, you can practice is anywhere, anytime, and most importantly, you can do it regardless of what your age is. Therefore, anyone and everyone can benefit from yoga, provided they understand and follow the instructions well.
A healthy person is a happy person and embracing yoga and its teachings will not only ensure that your body stays fit and healthy but will also keep your mind relaxed and stress-free!