Many of my clients come to me with back and neck injuries. As a result, they have a real fear of hurting or reinjuring their back. Let me tell you, back and neck pain is not fun at all. That pain affects every position and every social event in your life. People with back problems are fully aware of their back and hips if they stand too much, walk too much, or try new exercises. As a person and teacher who has lived with back pain, I will honestly tell you; To relieve back and neck pain, constant adjustment may be necessary. People with chronic back pain are often on the defensive to protect their backs. But many re-injure their backs through carelessness by moving furniture incorrectly or carrying a heavier load (like their favorite three-year-old, grandson, or her niece or nephew). You know what I mean.
Me; Modified yoga is a way of life to manage back, neck and hip tension. I have been practicing and teaching for twenty-two years, because it works. But here’s the trick. I truly believe that these modified yoga stretches are more effective if you can fit them into your daily routine. It would be like pouring milk into your coffee and having lunch. For many daily routines, we will do something every day, like eat yogurt. You’ve probably had the same thing for breakfast for the last twenty years of your life. You are going to have cereal or yogurt for breakfast, once in a while you have eggs and toast. If you live near a city, many of you have a weekly routine to go to a museum or show at least once a week. Why is it so hard to include a few modified stretches every day? Or at least once a week? The stigma?
If you want to relieve your back pain and build core strength, just say yes to a more daily routine of stretching and strengthening your back. You will feel the difference, in how you move, and you will feel freer in your daily activities.
To get you started, I’ve chosen a few back and core strength poses that work for just about every back and every body type. The first one I call; hanging from the side of a mountain. Do this on the mat or in bed. Start by lying on your stomach. If you’re in bed, remove extra pillows and blankets so you can stretch out. Lie on your belly. Stretch your arms past your ears and place your palms on the mat or bed. Give yourself arm room. If you need it; move down to give yourself arm room. Before beginning this pose, tuck your tailbone and hips under. Lean your lower hips toward your belly button or stomach, fully tense your buttocks to protect your back. Keep your palms facing down and raise your legs and head up.
If your neck hurts while you’re doing this, tuck your chin in slightly toward your chest so you don’t raise your head too high. Imagine if you were holding the edge of the mountain cliff with your fingertips. Count from five to fifteen seconds. Release your arms and tuck your hands under your head, and lower your elbows, as if you were making a pillow for your head. In fact, we call this pillow position. After a few seconds of rest, reach your arms past your ears once more, hold on to the side of the mountain, and lift your legs and head up. You can do repetitions of three to five.
In the next pose you continue lying on your stomach. The starting position is the same. Stretch your arms past your ears and place your palms down in front of your face. This time we’re going to keep our feet down for the anchors. Tighten your buttocks and tuck your lower hips in toward your stomach or belly button. This pose is; a version of super girl and super boy pose. Start by lifting your arms and hands off the mat or bed, keep your feet down, and rotate your hands, as if you could bring your palms together. We’ll put the palms together in a moment. But for now move your arms around your hips. Feet stay down. If you have a tense neck, lower your chin. When your hands reach your hips, raise your torso as high as you can. If your back hurts, you don’t need to raise your torso too much. Pause for five to fifteen seconds. Move your arms back up to your forehead and now bring your palms together and lift them off the mat about three inches or so. Keep your feet down. Hold your palms together in front of your face for three to five seconds. Rest in a pillow position putting your hands under your head and breathing.
As you build core strength, the next pose is a bit more challenging. This is a fly version. Once again he lies on his stomach. She begins by placing her hands, close to her hips. You will place the palms of the hands on the mat or bed next to the hips, so that the fingers point towards the feet. When you lift, this time it will be your head, hands and feet that are lifted. This exercise will work your abdomen and strengthen your back. Fly like this for three to five seconds and return to the resting or pillow position. You can do repetitions three to five times. If you apply some of these techniques in your daily or weekly routine, you will feel that your back and neck are strengthened.
Just remember the interconnectivity. The back tenses when the hips lock, and the neck and shoulders when the back hurts. Sometimes to free the back you have to start with the legs and hips. Do yourself a favor and don’t overdo it. Work with a give-and-take mentality. I’m not going to push too hard today, the next day you’ll feel better. Consult with your body. If you listen, your body will tell you if you can add more stretches or if you need a rest day. Do not be afraid. Be more like a scientist. This works? No, this doesn’t work. That works? No, that doesn’t work. This works? Yes this works. So keep doing what works!