Back pain comes in all shapes and sizes but most often it involves the lower back. The description of pain in this area varies from a sharp pain to a constant dull ache. In the past, my backache used to drop me to the floor when the muscles simply refused to let me walk forwards. Looking like an old witch from the fairytales of childhood, I would try and grab a table to steady me while i lurched to a chair. Sitting wasn’t great but lying down was so much worse, if only because it meant that at some stage I would have to get up again. 30 years old going on 80 is how it felt. That was a normal though thankfully infrequent situation for me. Then I slipped a disk. Oh my ! Now that was bad ! Even after the initial pain had gone, i ended up with a very bad toothache in my hip and limited mobility in the lower half of my body. Thankfully I haven’t had anything like that since I started teaching yoga and improving my own yoga practice. If you have ever experienced back problems you know what it is like to experience persistent, nagging, drive you crazy, aching, sickening pains. So I thought I would share with you a simple back routine to get you going each morning and help to keep the muscular aches and pains away. This routine is quite simple and should be kind enough for anyone to use. Having said that, if ANY of these exercises cause you pain or uncomfortable tingling in a part of your body, then please stop and seek medical advice. All backaches are different and everyone reacts in their own unique way. Just do what you can.
So… you wake up. Feel free to keep your eyes closed if you prefer. Lying on one side. Slowly pull the top knee up to your chest (if you are lying on you left pull up your right knee). Give it a little hug then let it slide back down the bed. If you can bring both knees up to your chest, give them both a hug. Turn onto your other side and repeat. Throw off the bed covers. Lie on your back, with knees bent, feet flat on the bed. Bring one knee up to your chest and give it a hug. Count to ten if you can then put the knee back so that the foot is back on the bed. Bring up the other knee and do the same thing. Then both knees. Feet back on the bed. Roll back onto your side and get yourself up to sitting. Take a nice deep breath and let the air out slowly. Do that again as you straighten up the back. Stretch your arms up over your head. If that is not easy bend the elbows and do a smaller stretch. While they are up in the air, one more deep breath. Arms back down by your sides.
Check that you are still sitting on the side of the bed with feet flat on the floor. Hands on your thighs, elbows out to the side, bend forward without falling off the bed. The idea is to stretch the back gently as you bend the top half of your body towards your knees. When you are ready you can drop your hands and arms down the sides of your legs. Breathe normally allowing your attention to go to your lower back. Feel a gentle stretch. Stay here for 5 to 20 seconds (as long as it feels good).Walk your hands back up your legs and come back to sitting upright. 2 more deep breaths. Slowly slide down to the floor (in any way you can do this safely). Come onto all fours. Take a nice breath in. As you breathe out arch your back, pushing your hands into the floor. Really arch that back. As you breathe in, come back to all fours. Breathe out as you drop your tummy muscles down and lift your head and bottom in the air. As you breathe in, come back to all fours. Repeat the above for 5 or six rounds. When you have finished use the bed to help you get up to sitting on the side of the bed again. Take 2 deep slow breaths. Stand up and give yourself a little shake (gently now).Time for refreshment, shower or whatever you do to start your day.
So you managed all of it ? Well done, time to attend a yoga class and do more to help the back get even healthier. Hatha Yoga could be good for you. So, you managed half of it ?. Excellent, keep trying a little more every day. Its gentle exercise from age old traditions. Keep going. Dedication to the practice is Bhakti Yoga. So, you got bored and wandered off ? But you are still reading so maybe you just like reading the theoretical side of back pain rather than the physical practice of helping it improve. This is Jnana Yoga. So, you are wondering how this ties into the ancient traditions of Yoga & Ayurveda. You are thinking about your life and how to make it better using diet, lifestyle and the traditional forms of stretch and exercise. Welcome to my world. You seek Sattvic Bliss……..we need to talk