When you think of yoga the image that pops into most heads is a picture of someone in an intricate pose that seems impossible to replicate. If you have been on the internet or social media lately, chances are your feed has been bombarded with the latest yoga workout trends and “quick fixes” that promise to improve fitness or relieve pain instantly. Due to the advanced postures that exist and social media’s influence, many people may write yoga off and consider it a “fad” that does not work and will quickly pass. But the truth is that yoga is a practice that dates back to 2700 BC and can be great for fitness, strengthening, stretching and relieving pain!

What is yoga?
Although you may not consider yourself a master on your first try, anyone who practices yoga can be considered a yogi. Practicing yoga combines not only performing the physical poses, but also the use of breathing techniques and mindfulness. In yoga, the intent of the action is just as important as performing the action. Because so many people only think of yoga as the physical postures lets define some basic definitions:

Yoga: harmonizing oneself with the universe. It is a pragmatic science that has evolved over thousands of years that deals with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of people as a whole.

Medical yoga: the use of yoga practices for the prevention and medical treatment of medical conditions.

Hatha Yoga: the physical practice of yoga

Physical Benefits of Yoga
Besides becoming stronger and more flexible, yoga has shown to have many other physical benefits including:

  • Decrease in symptoms (pain) related to the low back and arthritis
  • Decrease in heart rate
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Decrease in respiratory rate
  • Decreased depression, impulsivity, and anxiety
  • Decrease in chronic inflammation
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular episodes

In this video, Barbie demonstrates a yoga flow that you can do for low back pain and below are images of these moves.

Child’s Pose
Hold for 5-10 breaths

childs pose

Cat/Cow
Inhale during “cat”
Exhale during “cow”
Repeat 5-10 breaths

cat

cow

Thread and Needle
Hold for 5-10 breaths
Repeat on both sides

thread and needle

Supine Pigeon
Hold for 5-10 breaths

supine pigeon

Supine Twist
Hold for 5-10 breaths
Repeat on both sides

supine twist

Sphinx
Hold for 5-10 breaths

sphinx

Upward Facing Dog
Hold for 5-10 breaths

upwardfacing dog

If you are experiencing low back pain, talk to your healthcare team about incorporating these yoga stretches into your therapy.  And call your  3DPT office to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.  We can work with you to create a personalized plan to address your back pain!

Sources

  1. Basavaraddi IV. Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development. Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. http://www.mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?25096/Yoga Its Origin History and Development. Published April 23, 2015.
  2. Stephens I. Medical Yoga Therapy. McClafferty H, ed. Children. 2017;4(2):12. doi:10.3390/children4020012.
  3. Yoga for Arthritis : Benefits of Yoga for the Arthritis Patient. Arthritis Information. https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/yoga-for-arthritis/#intro. Published September 25, 2015. Accessed January 2, 2018.
  4. Moonaz S, Bingham CO, Wissow L, Bartlett SJ. YOGA IN SEDENTARY ADULTS WITH ARTHRITIS: EFFECTS OF A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED PRAGMATIC TRIAL. The Journal of rheumatology. 2015;42(7):1194-1202. doi:10.3899/jrheum.141129.
  5. Williams K, Abildso C, Steinberg L, et al. Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Efficacy of Iyengar Yoga Therapy on Chronic Low Back Pain. Spine. 2009;34(19):2066-2076. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b315cc.