Nowadays, almost every other person suffers from back pain. Even young people in their twenties complain about debilitating back problems. It could be something as simple as lower back pain or something more chronic like cervical spondylosis or sciatica. The reason for back pain is mostly a combination of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, emotional and mental stress, and lack of exercise or exercising incorrectly. This is where yoga helps.
In yoga, the back is called the second brain as all the nerves of the human body pass through the spine. Therefore, the back is given a lot of importance in yoga. The spinal cord is an extension of the central nervous system and often called the body’s information super-highway — more reason to keep your spine and back healthy and strong.
Back strengthening is not a standalone endeavour. To strengthen the back, it is first important to understand the role of the abdominal muscles or abs in protecting the back. As we age, our body has the tendency to put on fat around the stomach — what is commonly called the middle age spread. The excess weight on the front puts additional strain on the lower back, which leads to back ache. If our abs aren’t strong enough to support our lower back structurally and help us stand upright, we cannot address the back ache. So most people who suffer from back ache need to strengthen their core or abdominal muscles and lose weight.
Second to strengthening the core and abs is the need to improve and increase the strength and flexibility of the back muscles. Strengthening all the back muscles, including the small erector spinae on the lower back and all the other bigger muscles, will allow our body to hold itself upright without any strain. There are many yoga asanas that help strengthen the core, abs, and back, especially lower back muscles, and increase their flexibility. Add these to your daily routine.
Remember that the asanas mentioned in this article help you understand and cope with general back ache. Even if you don’t suffer from back pain, practicing this routine can also help you prevent its onset in the future. However, if you suffer from a chronic condition, please consult your doctor or a qualified yoga therapist before starting your practice.
[Photo credits: Total Yoga]