In talking with people, I learned either they love yoga or they hate it. Some have an opinion without ever having tried yoga. Regardless of your feelings about yoga, please read on to learn how yoga can actually provide some back pain relief for you, especially if your pain is chronic. Incorporating even a couple yoga positions and breathing techniques could provide great relief from your chronic back pain.
Generally speaking, yoga practitioners are pretty healthy people. They typically eat right and when they practice their craft regularly, they are clearly in tune with their bodies. One yogi in particular, Cameron Alborzian, wrote a book called The One Plan where he shares his approach to helping to manage back pain with yoga.
Naturally, many patients experience back pain from an injury. But back pain can also be caused by stresses of life or even lifestyle choices such as sitting too long, aggressive movement, or other excessive behaviors. By decreasing stress and changing our bad habits we can actually decrease our lower back pain.
Learning deep yoga breathing has been proven to reduce stress. Simply sit quietly and focus on your breath. Nothing else. Notice a slow breath in, as deep as possible. Hold it. Then slowly release it. Breathing exercises are one of the very basic lessons you can learn in a yoga class. Just by practicing this type of breathing you will feel calmer, your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease, and your stress hormones will diminish.
For those who are looking to use yoga for stress relief or for gentle stretching, look for a restorative yoga class. Before the class begins, be sure to let the instructor know that you are either new to yoga and that you have a back condition. Your instructor will give you extra attention and instruction to help you get the most out of the class without experiencing any additional pain or injury. Yoga is a practice where you go at your own pace. There is no competition in yoga.
Restorative yoga focuses on just a few positions where a position or stretch is held for longer periods than a yoga flow class that moves gently but more quickly through a greater variety of positions. Restorative yoga is an excellent place to start for someone looking to reduce stress and increase their flexibility.