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January 10, 2011 / yogasabri

Think you need a back bone? Think again! Muscles are the real deal!

The most common claim I hear from people on a daily basis is about pain in the lower back, or more specifically, in the lumbar area.

There are many causes of chronic pain in that area, from overuse, to improper use, herniated disk, muscle spasms and so forth.

Generally speaking, all these problems could be easily avoided with a little bit of education and mindfulness.

See, to begin with, the disconnect between mind and body is the first obstacle towards a pain free life.  So, I decided to shed a light on the subject.

Most people get back injuries because they do not understand the function of back muscles. Along the spine, we have a group of muscles called “Erector Spinae”. As the name suggests, the function of this group of muscles is to keep the spine, hence the torso, erect or to flex it.  These muscles are very long and thin. It is NOT their job to carry weight.

For that function, we have 4 layers of large, flat muscles in our abdomen – the ABDOMINAL MUSCLES:

Internal obliques, external obliques, rectus and transversus abdominii. These puppies are designated to carry weight, releasing it from the spine.

Nowadays, however, we seem to make very little time to strengthen the abdominal region (it’s not exactly a fun activity, right??) and have the bad habit of using our back to carry weight. MAJOR MISTAKE.

Also, back problems are  caused by tightness in the  PSOAS MUSCLE GROUP.

This group, composed by the Iliacus and Psoas Major, is a group of muscles located in the pelvic region. It’s the major flexor group of muscles in our body. It’s responsible for movements in the lower back as well as lower limbs.

Often times, this group of muscles is tight, and because of its location, it’s quite hard to release it. The nerves running through these muscles are receptor of pain in the lower back region.

So, my dear friends, I would like to share with you some yoga poses which will help release lower back pain. These postures, or asanas, when practiced properly and synchronized with breathing, are an incredible, chemical free solution.

Please remember, that as with any other physical practice, Yoga should be practiced with consent from a doctor. Also, results vary among individuals, but constant practice, at least twice a week, will surely bring upon many physical and mental improvements.

Padangusthasana – Hanging Forward Bend – The weight of the head and gravity will help release compression along the spine.

Stand with feet together and heels apart, about 1 & 1/2″. Flex thighs, grab your elbows and allow your head to dangle for a few moments. Breathe.

To release from this pose, let your arms come down, hands are aside your feet. Inhale, arms out to the side, spine long, come up to standing. With your inhalation,  bring your arms above the head. Exhale, lower your arms down in  prayer pose in front of your chest. Repeat 3 times, slowly.

Uttihita Trikonasana – Triangle Pose – It increases flexibility of the hips, releasing tightness of the Psoas. It also  decompresses the sides of  the spine. It opens the chest, elongates the leg muscles and brings awareness to the pelvic region.

Standing with legs apart, turn the left foot about 45 degrees  and align the right, front heel with the arch of the back foot. Your pelvis is turned to the left. Inhale, raise your arms above your head – torso is straight, spine is long. As you exhale, lower your arms straight out to the side.   As you inhale, reach towards the right with your right arm and torso. Exhale, place your right hand on your right shin and bring your left arm above your head. Turn your head to gaze at your left hand. Hold for three, full, slow breaths.

To release: bring your left arm down, placing your hands on each side of your foot. Inhale, come on to your toes of the left foot. Exhale, come to downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Repeat for the other side.

Balasana – Child Pose – This pose releases compression along the spine, in particular in the lumbar area. It’s     a    resting pose,  ideal also for a break at any time during the practice.

Sit on your heels, toes touching. Inhale. On your exhalation, bring your forehead to the ground, slowly, placing your arms alongside your body, palms facing up. Stay in this position as long as you want.  Breath gently and deeply.

Alasana – Plow Posture – This posture increases flexibility of the spine, tones the muscles of the back and releases tension in the nerves of the spine.

Lie on your back, arms along the side of the body, palms facing down and elbows pressing against the floor.

Inhale. As you exhale, place the palms into the floor and engage the abdominal muscles to raise both legs  over the head. Bring your toes to touch the floor. Keep legs long. The back of the head and shoulders are pressing onto the mat. Hold for a minimum of 10 breaths.

These are just a few poses that you can practice in the comfort of your own home, carefully and slowly. I will make sure to add some more to the list in the near future.

Namaste, and love, always.

Sabrina

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. eryn / Jan 13 2011 3:22 pm

    Hi Sabrina. Thanks so much for your positive feedback on our work. This keeps us going!
    Enjoy Book 4.
    Namasté,
    Ray and Chris

  2. insanity / Feb 1 2011 5:37 am

    Regular fitness and exercise eliminates the risks of different heart diseases, but they also help to prevent certain types of cancer such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

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