Yoga for the spine ?
Yoga for the spine, is really Yoga for whole health. Yoga for the spine is built upon a necessary foundation of awareness of the body and its placement in movement and stillness.
When the back has an injury, either acute or chronic, your body is demanding you notice what is happening NOW.
Yoga for the spine insists on attention into the alignment of the body. The spine is the key to correct alignment. If any part of the skeletal alignment is incorrect there is a knock on effect in the spine. Everything is inter-related and there is always a fine line between balance and imbalance.
The few important things to do, and should you be suffering at the moment from back difficulties coming from ache in your back, due to sciatica, bulging/herniated disc and the like, caution-rest and patience are the very first step towards healing ; here are some tips for a little relief:
1: See your GP for an assessment, further investigation, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment advice, and heed the advice given. When a doctor says stop, they mean stop.
2: Begin to listen to your body and trust the signals. Once you hear and understand the signals of your body, you will be able to take correct action for alleviation. Eventually, it would be hoped that all your work and patience will become preventative medicine.
For whatever reason the injury occurred, there are ways to bring some amount of strength and balance back, depending on the severity of the injury, but it takes time and consistent daily practice.
While there is still pain, it is a signal to stop doing what it is you are doing. Under no circumstance should you hinge your hips at a 90 degree angle, most especially with knees straight.
Find a teacher to give you alternative postures to keep you comfortable. You should never attempt a new physical regime without the help of a professional at the beginning.
Do your best to keep the back elongated. Rounding your back will not help.
For a herniation or sciatica, forward bends will increase the problem if done incorrectly. (If it is a prolapse disc, backward bending is worse.)
***There should be no pain, no tingling or numbness during any of your practices. Any such signal means… STOP, pause where you are… for a moment breathe and consider how to move out of the posture safely, with the pelvic floor drawn in to assist in correct withdrawl of the posture.
Please note: pelvic floor means from the pubic bone to the tail bone, the tissue structure at the base of the body in the groin area and elimination system.
3: Walking is the most restorative exercise for acute symptoms, if possible. The walk should not be at a pelting pace, but should be stronger than an amble. The gentle sway of the arms and hips loosens the muscles of the back.
4: Swimming in a pool is a great balancer for the body. However due to the pull of the tides, if you are in pain or still in recovery at the time, stay away from swimming in the sea.
5: A firm bed to lay upon is important. Sleeping on your stomach with your arms out stretched along side your ears will help during the painful times.
The Inhale is often the movement into the posture, exhale in the pose. Using the pelvic floor squeeze to assist in the early days of strengthening, in and out of postures is vital.
This practice reconnects the psoas muscles in the pelvic girdle, to the legs and the back. It is the key to safe use of postures, but without using the breath as a guide, this too can create problems.
For the acute days of pain with herniated disc or sciatica;
Laying on stomach, arms outstretched
Laying on stomach arms clasped behind neck/head
Crocodile pose, forehead on hands, arms/elbows out
Crocodile pose chin in hands, arms bent
Flapping fish pose
Palm tree pose …palm tree pose on tip toes looking up
Hero pose (sitting on heels)
For back ache that requires support and strengthening
Cat leg lengthen …cat leg lift back
Cat – cow
Palm tree swaying-blowing in wind slow
Long leg spinal twist, hands go behind, not wrapped around leg.
All back bends are good for hernia problems, done at a slow pace, for awareness and muscle development.
Never take your ability or boundaries for granted.
Start small, impatience leads to lack of awareness and possible injury. Small postures also increase freedom and flexibility, baby steps always when starting.
Most of all go slowly and gently, becoming aware of your boundaries and freedom is the beginning of healing and wisdom.
May we all be well,
By Marie Mills
NOTE: Marie Mills and her websites are strictly for information and education. They are not, in any way, advocating for self-exploration of any physical practice without a Doctor examination and the guidance of a trained teacher of any chosen healing therapy.