Malvika Dadoo Agarwal prescribes five effective asanas to relieve lower back pain and other associated problems of the spine
Subconscious tensions and ‘hang-ups’ are often reflected in the tonic activity of the back muscles, resulting in too hard or too lax zones instead of homogeneous consistency. Research has shown that 90 percent of backaches have their origin in muscular imbalance. If these imbalances are prolonged, then the ‘stack pile’ of the vertebral column is misaligned, the ligaments are strained, and symptoms of spondylitis, slipped disc, sciatica, and osteoarthritis begin to manifest.
Yoga can offer great relief from the pain as well as provide excellent preventative care for the future. Here are five yoga poses to ease lower back pain and relieve that dull ache.
Saral Bhujangasana (easy cobra pose)
Lie flat on the stomach with the forehead resting on the floor, legs straight, and feet together. Bend the arms and place the forearms on the floor with the palms downward on each side of the head. The fingertips point forward but are in line with the crown of the head. The forearms and elbows are close to the body.
Inhale and raise the head, shoulder, and chest by bringing the upper arms to the vertical position. The elbows, forearms, and hands will remain on the floor. Relax in the position for a comfortable length of time; then exhale and slowly lower the body. This is one round. Practice up to five rounds, gradually increasing the length of the time in the final position.
Ardha Shalabhasana (half locust pose)
Lie flat on the stomach with the hands under the thighs, palms downwards. Keep both the legs straight throughout the practice. Place the chin on the floor, slightly stretched forward, to give the best possible stretch to the neck muscles and nerves.
Inhale and raise the left leg as high as possible, keeping the other leg straight, relaxed, and in contact with the floor. Hold the breath and the position for as long as possible without strain. Do not tilt or twist the pelvis. Exhale and lower the leg to the floor. Repeat the same movement with the right leg. This is one round. Practice up to five rounds.
Pawanmuktasana (Wind-relieving pose)
Lie straight on your back and relax. Inhale, bend the right knee, and bring the thigh to the chest. Interlock the fingers and clasp the shin just below the right knee. Keep the left leg straight and on the ground. Remain in the final position for a few seconds. Exhale and bring the right leg back to the start position. Repeat three times with the right leg and then three times with the left leg.
Now inhale, bend both the knees, and bring the thighs to the chest. Interlock the fingers and clasp the shin just below the right knee. Hold the raised position. Exhale and bring both the legs back to the start position. Practice this three times.
People suffering from high blood pressure or serious back conditions such as sciatica and slipped disc should not perform it.
Shava Udarakarshanasana (universal spinal twist)
Lie in the starting position with the legs and feet together. Stretch the arms out to the sides at shoulder level with the palms of the hands facing down. Inhale, bend the right leg, and place the sole of the foot beside the left kneecap. Place the left hand on top of the right knee. Exhale and gently bring the right knee down towards the floor on the left side of the body, keeping the leg bent and the foot in contact with the left knee.
Turn the head to the right, looking along the straight arm and gaze at the middle finger of the right arm. In the final position, the head should be turned in the opposite direction to the folded knee and the other leg should remain straight. Breathe deeply and slowly. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
Inhale and return to the starting position, bringing the head and knee to the centre. Stretch the right arm out to the side, exhale, and straighten the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side. Practise once for each side.
Saral Dhanurasana (Easy bow pose)
Lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together, keeping the arms and hands beside the body. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Grasp the ankles with the hands. Keep the knees and thighs firmly on the floor. Place the chin on the floor. This is the starting position.
Tense the legs and push the feet backwards while inhaling and raising the head and chest as high as possible without straining. In the final position, raise the body and tilt the head back. Hold the final position for as long as it is comfortable. Slowly exhale and lower the chest and head to the ground by releasing the legs. Relax till the breathing becomes normal. Practice up to five rounds.
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