Move yourself out of back pain.
When I’m teaching I love my students to engage with me. I like to know how you’re getting on with the postures, so I check in a lot with you. It was during one of these interactions that a great comment came out, which I’d like to share.
I had asked the class to move into a squatting position, where we opened the hips up, moved the feet & toes around, and lengthened our tailbones. Squats always provoke an interesting selection of sounds and grunts! At this point a gentleman commented that this was not the most comfortable of positions and that I clearly didn’t suffer from back ache to be able to get so easily into the pose (I’m paraphrasing here a bit 😉 ). We had a laugh about this but I did reply with all honesty that, no I don’t have back ache because I do my yoga every day. I could see that this was a light bulb moment for quite a few in the class. Yes, I can move comfortably, not because I am a lucky naturally bendy person, but because I practice what I preach.
The truth is that without yoga I would have a lot of back pain. I was born with quite a list of skeletal mis-alignments, including a scoliosis, an extended lordosis, a shoulder that used to freely dislocate itself, rotated vertebrae in my neck and ribs that are the wrong shape. Stretching and movement do not come easy to me. I practice. Every day.
It always saddens me when people tell me that they didn’t come to yoga because they hurt their back gardening (or other activity, but we are into gardening season and is most definitely the biggest culprit), this is precisely the time to do your yoga!
Very few back problems are helped by rest, gone are the days of lying on the floor immobile. The advice now is move. The skeletal muscles are meant to be moved, this will help to stretch and strengthen them and keep your discs plumped up. It is our sedentary lifestyle and lack of movement that is causing the majority of our back problems. The physiotherapist I work with (Liz Benton, Whitehall Physiotherapists) recommends people come to yoga and she believes that the majority of people would not need physio if they moved properly and strengthened their core stability muscles.
Of course if you come to a yoga session with a back problem you probably will have to modify your practice, this is not the time to embark on a 12 rounds of sun sequence marathon, and be mindful as to how you are moving. Never ever tolerate pain (note the difference between a good stretch and a stabbing urgent pain!). You must always let your tutor know, that way we can ensure that we are keeping you safe and able to help you best we can.
Dru Yoga is a fantastic tool to help you keep your back happy. Dru Yoga will help you strengthen your core stability muscles, improve your posture, bring flexibility into the spine and joints, help you to re-align, give you a good stretch and bring strength to areas not used to moving. At Inside Out, all our tutors are sticklers for safe alignments and are well practiced in modifying all the postures so that you are always working to your optimum, within your comfort zone. We work closely with other back health care providers, who we know and trust (I personally use all the people I recommend!), so we are a great resource – use us!
Relax, one of the kindest things you can do for your back
The great thing about committing to a yoga course is that we can teach you movements to practice at home, that will complement exercises you might have been given from a physio, and the likelihood of you having a recurrence of your back pain is greatly reduced. We hear this time and time again from our students, see our testimonials (or add your own!) and I know this to be true myself.
Hope to see you all at classes this week and do talk to us if you need help with back pain. It’s always been my experience that you get out of yoga exactly what you put into it, practice daily and the benefits will increase tenfold. Ix