Besides allowing you to sweat out toxins, certain asanas of yoga also help relieve tension and improve your body’s functionality. For instance, Meditation Talks previously listed helpful poses that can provide migraine relief. It’s a good alternative for those who don’t want to take medicine.
Similarly, yoga can help relieve back pain by improving mobility. Many people complain about back and neck pain as a result of working in front of their desks the whole day. Others also partake in physical activities that can damage the health of spine. Yoga is a great remedy because a flexible back is a strong one – it improves posture, reduces back pain, and prevents spinal injuries.
Taking that into account, here are poses that boost back flexibility.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
Many sequences start with this flow. It’s a good warm up for your back, which prepares it for movement. Do You Yoga claims it as the perfect pose for increasing spinal flexibility and shoulder mobility. It relieves stiffness and the slow pace allows you to pay attention to areas that hurt after getting stretched out. In most cases, this asana re-calibrates the spine.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Twists are amazing when it comes to the spine, and they gives additional benefits, too. Aside from increasing back flexibility, the seated spinal twist massages the organs and stretches the neck. It releases tension from the lower back, which usually suffer during heavy core work.
3. Wheel Pose
One of the most basic back bends, the full wheel removes stress from your entire back (upper, middle and lower). The reversed orientation allows your spine to reset, giving it a break from it’s usual curvature. After the pose, you’ll immediately feel that your shoulders have opened a bit more and you can sit a tad straighter. Pop Sugar also recommends this pose if you want to strengthen your upper body.
4. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
Arching your back during a one-legged king pigeon pose allows you to decompress your middle and lower back. Plus, the hip opener feels good, too. The more advanced version of this pose requires you to make the crown of your head and toes touch. Similar to wheel, it’s great for spinal alignment. Its ability to target the often-neglected middle back is what makes it special.
Very Well Fit talked to back pain expert Anne Asher, who explained that “extending the spine strengthens the back muscles, the abdominals, and the pelvic muscles.” Cobra pose helps relieve disk pain and improves your upper back strength.
Having a strong back is especially important because it accounts for most of the movements that people do. These include everything from simple twists and turns to engaging in highly physical activities like sports. When your spine gets even a minor injury, mobility becomes limited and the overall quality of life is greatly affected. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why many athletes incorporate yoga in their training – to avoid injury as well as back pain and all other kinds of discomfort.
For instance, the Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard relies on the exercise to open his back. The NFL star explained, “When you play linebacker and your job is to do nothing but tackle, you tend to have a few misaligned bones in your back and rib area, which can cause back pain.” A similar opinion is echoed by Kate Richardson-Walsh, which Coral identified as one of the most accomplished women in sports. She stated that doing yoga is important to maintain flexibility and total body strength. The British Olympian shared her fitness routine with the Telegraph, and they include asanas that focus on keeping her back in the best condition. Mainly, the effects of yoga in strengthening the back help them stay on top of their game. Athlete or not though, anyone will benefit from the poses listed above.
Of course, consistency is vital to be able to reap the benefits of the poses. Making the practice a part of your morning or simply doing quick stretches when you feel back pain can already help. Just remember to take it easy. Don’t push yourself to do the poses which are not yet advisable for your skill level. In such cases, it’s best to work with your instructor.
Written by Aisha Chello
Exclusive for meditationtalks.com