Posts In: Tips & Tricks

Yogic tips and tricks to help you live a better, happier, and cleaner life.

person standing under waterfall to show spine back

So, you have back pain? First, where in the spine is the pain?

Lumbar – low back
Thoracic – mid back
Cervical – neck

Ask yourself: what could be causing my back pain?

-Bones not receiving enough nutrition (stress, poor diet, imbalance in the body)
-Weak back and abdomen muscles
-Sitting down for long periods of time (desk job)
-Poor posture
-Poor form working out / weight-lifting
-Tight muscles in legs and/or hips (tight muscles can pull on the back and cause pain and discomfort)

Considering your specific situation, use caution, consult a professional before doing any of these yoga postures, and LISTEN to your body. Does this feel good? Does this make it worse? Move into each posture slowly. Listen to how your body reacts.

The main objective in relieving your back pain is to bring energy, nutrition, and light stretching to the spine and surrounding muscles.

1. Cat / Cow – dynamic movement

Why: improves flexibility, gentle warm-up, brings energy to the spine

How: On all fours, make a slow wave with the spine: start at one end of the body and end at the opposite. Inhale through nose when chest is open & exhale through nose when spine is rounded.

2. Downward Dog – breathe in stillness

Why: Lengthens spine, improves hamstring flexibility, improves shoulder strength

How: Alternate lifting the heals (walk it out) to warm up and bend knees if hamstrings are stiff. If you have trouble doing down-dog it is either because your hamstrings are tight or your shoulders are weak (maybe both!). Take your time in this one. Breathe in and out of the nose.

3. Forward Fold – hang out

Why: Lengthens spine, relieves pressure off of stacked vertebrae, increase flexibility in hamstrings

How: Pull belly button in and dive down. Bend the knees to start. Let upper body hang from the weight of gravity. Grab elbows and sway. Nod the head yes and no to relieve neck. Breathe!

**Do not roll up without first engaging the core**

4. Triangle – tone & lengthen

allyson anatra traveling yoga triangle pose philippines

Why: Stretches spine, side body, and leg muscles. Tones abdomen, legs, arms and back.

How: Feet 3 feet apart. Front foot pointed forward. Back foot parallel with the back of the mat. Both heels in line. Hips are open. Arms extended. Reach forward first with the front arm, pull the belly button in, and drop the back of the front hand against inner calf. Back arm extends above. Look up to the thumb and lean back so that shoulders are stacked (like you would be if you were pressed up against a wall). Breathe! If uncomfortable, use a block to support your bottom hand and bend the front knee.

5. Half Moon – untwists spine from the base up

Why: Untwists spine from the base up. Tones legs and abdomen. Unlocks hips. Improves balance

How: Plant front foot with hands on the hips to start. Hinge forward at the hips while back leg extends behind (body is a T). Front arm (same side as standing leg) drops to the ground. Open hips and extend opposite arm to the sky while gazing to the line of your thumb. This is a balance pose with a lot of benefits. If you fall, get right back in! And don’t forget to breathe!

man sitting in chair reading during quarantine

First of all, everything is going to be okay.

Repeat and feel that belief sink into your bones. The world is not ending and we will all be okay.

In tragedy and failure, there is growth & transformation. Have absolute faith that whatever is going on right now is leading to something better. That this time is going to help the world heal, improve, and evolve.

Not saying that this pandemic is awesome, but that we can find something positive from it.

The whole world is feeling what you are feeling.

It may be comforting for you to know that we are all worried about ourselves and our loved ones getting sick. We are all worried about our finances due to work being cancelled. We are all going a little mad because we lost our routines and we are stuck inside for the most part. World-wide, we are experiencing the same emotions: fear, anxiety, boredom . . .

The first thing that we must focus on is what we can control in this situation. We can use this extra time to exercise, make healthy meals, be creative, and catch up with friends and family. We are rich in time.

How anxiety affects us:

When our minds and bodies are filled with fear and anxiety, we lower our immune system, raise our blood pressure, trigger cortisol (stress hormone) levels and this results in trouble sleeping, gaining weight, etc.

How can we expel all this pent up energy?

With movement followed by meditation! If we are stuck inside, we likely will not be feeling limber. Use yoga to not only stretch, but to build muscle and release pent up energy (like anxiety). Recommended dose of yoga is 15-20 minutes minimum, ideally 40 – 60 minutes.

Once you’ve been flowing and your body has been buzzing, you can go into a deep meditation lasting 5 – 15 minutes in corpse pose. This meditation is what is really going to put your body and mind into a relaxed state where you can function normally, feel good, and manage your anxious thoughts.

yoga students lying down in corpse pose final meditation savasana

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