Bending over backwards does wonders for your back!

by admin

Simple yoga exercises for the back and their benefits

Yes, yoga can be simple. Don’t get psyched by all those images you may have seen of people practicing yoga, who look like they’re tied up in knots. Yoga definitely isn’t as complicated as it looks – in fact, it can be quite simple and extremely beneficial for your health. Especially if you have back problems. And the best part is that it’s something you can do yourself, at your convenience and without depending on a physiotherapist.

The most important aspect of yoga is discipline. You need to do it every day, preferably first thing in the morning, to truly experience the benefits of your practice. The other important aspect is breathing – if you don’t breathe correctly while practicing your asanas, you could injure yourself.
Yoga exercises for the back | Life Hyped

So, what is an asana?

*Āsana is a generic term for postures used in the practice of yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘seat’. While many of the oldest mentioned asanas are seated postures for meditation, asanas may be standing, seated, arm-balances, inversions, prone and supine postures as well. There is limited uniformity in naming postures since there are many competing schools of postural yoga. Different authors or schools of yoga may have different names for the same asana while many asanas have multiple names among different practitioners.

Back to basics

* Source:

So, how does your back work? Or not! It basically has certain individual components that comprise the vertebral column, supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments. Over time, these are affected by your posture and lifestyle. For instance, do you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer? Or do you carry a lot of heavy weights in your daily life? Do your daily activities involve a lot of bending and straightening? All of these can lead to stiffness, poor posture and excruciating pain.

Relax. There’s no need to panic. Let’s look at some specific backward bending asanas that can help you deal with your back issues. Just remember, regularity is key to your practice. Also, if you strengthen the muscles of your abdomen, it helps you cope with back issues too.

Let’s start with some simple, basic asanas.

Leg Raising:

Lie down flat on your back, stretch your legs out but keep them together, and keep your palms flat on the floor.

Inhale while you raise your right leg as high as possible but keep it straight. Maintain the posture with your leg almost perpendicular to the floor for a count of 3 seconds and exhale while lowering your leg to the floor.

This would be 1 round. So, do 3 rounds with your right leg and 3 rounds with your left leg. Gradually increase your practice to 5 rounds.

Note: You must keep your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed and keep your hips anchored to the floor when your leg is raised.

Leg Rotation:

Continue to maintain the same posture (lying down on the floor), raise your right leg around 2” off the floor and do a large circle clockwise with your outstretched right leg. Repeat this movement 10 times while you ensure that your heel doesn’t touch the floor when you describe the circles. Then do 10 anticlockwise circles.

Repeat the same with your left leg.

Over time, try to do the rotations more slowly without straining your abdominal muscles.

Note: Leg raising and rotation must be done on the floor and not on a bed.

The Sphinx

Lie down flat on your stomach, resting your forehead on the floor, with your legs outstretched and feet together with the soles facing upwards.

Keep your arms close to your body, and bend your elbows with your forearms resting on the floor. Keep your palms flat on the floor on either side of your head, and your fingertips pointing straight ahead.

Keep your whole body relaxed in this position.

Then, while inhaling, raise your head, shoulders and chest off the ground, and keep looking straight ahead, but avoid straining your neck muscles. Your forearms and hands need to stay flat on the floor. In the last position, your upper arms must be at right angles to your body.

Stay in this position for as long as you can comfortably, then exhale while you lower your trunk back to the starting position.

This will be 1 round – you need to do 5 rounds of this.

Note: Do remember, only use the muscles of your lower back to raise your chest off the floor and use your arms only to support your trunk.

The Cobra pose

Lie down on your stomach, with your legs outstretched, and your soles facing upwards. Place your palms flat on the floor slightly to either side of your shoulders and your bent elbows close to your body. Rest your forehead on the floor and close your eyes. Relax the muscles of your lower back consciously.

Now inhaling, slowly begin to raise your head, neck and shoulders, using the muscles of your back. Straighten your elbows gradually, and raise your trunk even higher. Form an arch with your back, tilt your head back, and gently compress the back of your neck. Maintain this position for a few seconds.

Then exhale, and straighten your head, bending your arms at the elbows, and slowly lower your trunk. And finally, rest your forehead on the floor. Then relax the muscles of your lower back consciously.

This comprises 1 round. Repeat 5 such rounds, while gradually increasing the amount of time you spend in the final pose.

Note: In the final position your pubic bone must remain in contact with the floor and your navel must not be raised more than 1” off the floor. This asana is contraindicated for people who suffer from glaucoma, hernia, peptic ulcer, or hyperthyroidism.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that your back was not designed to rest on 12” of soft plastic foam and springs. It needs to rest horizontally on a firm surface. Any kind of depression in your mattress or if your bed sags, will distort the alignment of your vertebral column horizontally, and over time, this will result in back problems. So, do try to get used to lying down on a firm mattress and a thin pillow.

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