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Alleviate Back Pain By Strengthening the Core

The human body is a dynamic framework of many complex systems. Any imbalance within this can lead to certain physical and physiological problems. Let us understand some of these commonly prevalent issues and take necessary steps to rectify them.

Many people suffer from back pain. When our back hurt, we feel uncomfortable while sitting, standing, walking or doing any exercise. Surprisingly for some, back pain is related to weak abdominal muscles. Since abdominals are the front anchor for our spine, if the stomach muscles are weak then there is an additional pressure on other structures supporting our spine, especially our back muscles. Let us therefore practice the following Yoga techniques to strengthen the core and reduce our back pain:

Special Core Strengthening Flow

Perform five rounds of this flow every day and experience the difference it makes in your life.

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Inhale and lift both hands into Namaskara Mudra above the head.
  • Exhaling, bend forwards from the hips until the fingers or palms of the hands touch the floor on either side of the feet.
  • Without moving your feet, walk your hands forward until you reach the Plank pose.
  • Inhaling, bring the body forward and let your chin, chest, palms, knees and toes touch the floor. Raise your posterior. You are now in Ashtanganamaskar asana. Exhale deeply.
  • With hands under the shoulders, elbows close to the body and heels together, inhale and press the pelvis to the ground and lift up into Sarpasana.
  • Exhale and lift your body back up to the Plank pose.
  • Breathe normally and walk your palms back along the floor until your hands reach your feet.
  • Inhale and again lift both hands into Namaskara Mudra above the head.
  • Exhale and come back to Tadasana.

Vasisthasana (The Side Plank)

Vasisthasana strengthens your wrists, forearms, shoulders and spine, and opens the hips and hamstrings. This pose tones the abdominal muscles and improves balance, concentration and focus.

  • Sit in Vajrasana.
  • Inhale and place your palms on the ground, shoulder width apart, in front of your knees. Exhale and stretch both your legs back, coming into the Plank pose.
  • Keeping your feet together, inhale and slowly shift your body weight onto your right hand and the outside of your right foot, gently stacking your feet on one another.
  • Exhale, extend your left hand upwards and hold this position for about 30 seconds.
  • To release this pose, come back into the Plank pose and then back into Vajrasana.
  • Repeat the same on the left side.

Core Exercises

Another great way to strengthen the core is through a combination of the following breathing and abdominal exercises.

Legs Up and Down

  • Lie down on your back, keeping your body in a straight line.• Place your hands below your thighs with palms facing downwards.
  • Inhale and slowly lift both legs up to 90 degrees without bending the knees. Also bring your head up with the leg raise.
  • Exhale, drop your head, and bring both legs down to just a couple inches above the ground.
  • Repeat this exercise for 15 rounds, three times a day.

Arrow Shooting

  • Lie down on your back, keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Bend the knees and bring them close to the chest while bringing the head off the ground and closer to the knees. Hold this position for a few breaths.
  • Inhale deeply. On the exhalation, keep the left leg bent and stretch the right leg outward keeping it almost parallel to the ground.
  • With the outstretched leg stationary, inhale deeply again and on exhalation, stretch the left leg outward while bringing the right knee back to the chest.
  • Repeat this exercise for 12 rounds.
  • Release the legs and arms on the last exhalation and relax.

Even daily actions such as bending to put on your shoes or to pick up a package, turning to look behind you or reaching overhead rely on a strong back and core. Practice these exercises, stay active and enjoy the benefits of a healthy back!

– Atmarpit Shraddha Kothari, Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance

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