Yoga is an ancient practice deeply rooted in the Indian culture and philosophy. Since over 5000 years people practice yoga asanas for health purpose. Yoga poses are combined with breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation, providing people numerous benefits on both the body and the mind. However, even though yoga has been practiced since such a long time, people are not fully aware of its possibilities and benefits. Up until recently there was very little research done on the subject and yoga was simply classified as a mystical practice. But lately the benefits of yoga have also caught the eye of scientists and more and more scientific research is done on the physical and mental benefits of yoga.
Recent studies have suggested that a carefully adapted yoga sequence can reduce chronic lower back pain and improve a person’s ability to walk and move. NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) funded a study of 90 people with chronic lower back pain which showed that the people who practiced Iyengar Yoga had significantly less pain, disability and depression after 6 months.
Dr. Padmini Tekur and co. conducted a 7 day trial at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation with 80 patients suffering from chronic lower back pain. The patients were divided into 2 groups, one group following yoga therapy and the other physical therapy. The results showed that yoga practice is more effective than physical therapy in improving spinal mobility and reducing pain, anxiety and depression.
There are various elements which can explain the statements above:
Bridge Pose gives a stretch to the spine and neck and opens the chest. It is a very beneficial pose to relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue and back pain.
How to come into the pose:
Classical Cobra Pose strengthens the back muscles and stimulates the abdominal organs. Lower back pain is often due to lack of back strength. Depending on the level of back pain, hold this pose for 10-30 seconds.
Coming into Bhujangasana:
Half Spinal Twist gives a gentle twist and stretch to the spine and therefore relieves lower back pain and neck pain.
Half Spinal Twist step by step:
Even though yoga can be very helpful and pain relieving for people struggling with back pain, it is very important to keep listening to your own body during your practice and to use modifications and props when required. You can also adjust the duration of the poses according to your own situation.
If you want to learn more about different yoga asanas, their benefits, how to practice them and which modifications to use in which situation, follow a Yoga teacher training course with Arhanta Yoga in India or in the Netherlands.