Many studies have credited yoga as a helpful tool in relieving back pain. The practice of focus and controlled movement and transitions done through meditative breathing can help loosen stiff muscles, increase mobility and reduce symptoms of arthritis in the joints by encouraging good posture and improving overall muscle tone. If you find yourself dealing with mild chronic back pain, due to inflammation or stiffness, try these three simple poses for a bit of relief.
CAT AND COW POSES
TRY IT: Starting on all fours, move into cat pose by dropping your head forward and slowly pressing your spine up towards the ceiling, contracting your stomach as you round your back. Hold for a few seconds before moving into cow pose by slowly releasing your stomach muscles and pulling your navel to the floor. Lift your head and arch your back as you press your shoulder blades back and push your tailbone up. Hold for a few seconds and repeat the sequence 10 times slowly and fluidly moving from cat to cow and back again. This movement helps ease the tension along your spine, relaxing the muscles along your back.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
TRY IT: Starting in cat pose, plant your toes on the ground. Inhale as you use your arms to push yourself up and back straightening your legs. With strong arms stretched out in front of you, exhale as you lengthen by tucking your head between your shoulders and pushing back into your heels lifting your tailbone to the sky. Feet should be flat on the ground as your push through your heels into the floor. Breath and hold for about 30 seconds or 25-30 breaths. To come out of the pose, inhale as you move forward and back into cat pose.
TRY IT: End the sequence in child’s pose. Start on all fours with your back parallel to the floor and your knees a little more than hip width apart and big toes touching. Slowly bend forward, stretching your arms out straight in front of you, resting your torso in the cradle between your inner thighs. Lengthen your spine by pushing your tailbone out away from your back. Drop your head between your shoulders as you reach your hands forward on the floor in front of you, lengthening by pushing out through your fingertips. With each breath, rest the torso deeper into the cradle of your thighs. Hold for 3 minutes or 45 breathes. To come out of the pose, inhale as you slowly roll back into a sitting position by contracting your core.