I haven’t had a healthy back since I was about 19 years old. I’ve been dealing with random aches and pains for even longer than that. One of the most important things I’ve found that relieve my pain is yoga.
Here’s why I learned to love yoga:
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with hip bursitis.
When I was 19, I had a thee day series of unfortunate events. I fell down the stairs and hit my tailbone, I drove into a massive snow bank going about 35 MPH in a blizzard, and I had a sledding accident. I can’t remember the exact order.
But when I woke up to go to work the day after my streak of awesomeness, my knees gave out and I fell to the floor. I called in sick to work and thought it would get better with rest. I went back to work (as a hairdresser,) and only made it worse with all the standing and bending. I left work almost crying every day because of the pain, and because I couldn’t stand up straight for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Finally, I went to the doctor, had an MRI, several Cortisone shots to the spine (OUCH!), and multiple rounds of physical therapy. My bulging disks were ruining my life and my wellbeing.
Then one day I found yoga. I started slowly, but eventually came to love it.
Since then, I’ve had a pretty healthy back for the most part. The most important thing? I can stand up straight. For hours. I can walk for more than 5 minutes without needing a rest.
But the best part? I know how to help solve the problem.
I recently found out I have the spine of someone almost twice my age. Darn. I was in a lot of pain in my shoulders and neck. I stretched. I did yoga. And I saw a chiropractor. He told me doing my yoga was one of the best things I could have done besides coming to see him.
Yoga is helping me immensely. Yoga is my happy place. And today, I’m inviting you in.
Here are my 10 favorite yoga poses for maintaining a healthy back or for relieving flare-ups.
- Easy Pose: This one is just always a good place to start. I love it because I sit there, I pay attention to my breathing, and I get my body ready for what’s coming. This pose will absolutely help you be aware of your posture.
- Cat-Cow: A great warmup pose. Sometimes, My back feels tired from just sitting there in Easy Pose. Cat Cow is a great stretch for your entire torso.
- Bridge Pose: Well, we do have to strengthen the muscles too. Bridge is a great way to strengthen your core but stay laying down. Some days you just want to stay on the floor.
- Forward Fold: But now that you’ve been squeezing your butt into the air, it’s time to stand up and do a little forward fold. I love the feeling of all my vertebrae separating when I’m upside down. Bonus pose: Bend your knees a little, grab your elbows with the opposite hand, and sway a little in Rag Doll. Your back will thank you.
- Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold: Since I have lower back pain that shoots down into my legs, any hip opener, leg stretch is also good for my back. This pose will help stretch the whole body, which is very important for back health.
- Child’s Pose: Child’s pose is becoming one of my favorite restorative poses. When I’m at the gym, doing planks, (haha), and I finally hit that
6030 second mark, I automatically go to child’s pose. Another Bonus: This video is technically for Extended Child’s Pose. Swing those hands back to rest at your feet and rest your forehead on the floor for regular Child’s Pose. Boom. Two poses in one.
- Legs Up Wall: Having a bad back day? Stay here for as long as you want. I like to out ice or a heating pad (depending on how recent the injury) on the floor where I’m going to lay. This pose is everything.
- Reclined Twist: This one’s pretty obvious. Twist out that tightness and tension. Go ahead. Breathe it out.
- “Wind Relieving Pose”: Did she just say “fart”? Yup. So, yes, this pose is great for digestion and gas, but you’re also actively pressing your back to the floor, lengthening your spine, and giving it a little massage.
- Corpse Pose: Oh sweet relief. I could stay in this pose forever. But I won’t. Because I’m not a corpse. I love this pose for so many reasons. It’s not unusual for me to fall asleep in Corpse Pose in class. If I’m not sleeping, I use the time to focus on my breathing and pray.
I would probably even do them in this order!
Don’t worry. I’ll share more of my favorites with you soon. But for now, if you’re looking for some great beginner yoga videos or even some more advanced sequences, Check out Yoga With Adrienne. She is by far my favorite Yogi on YouTube (which is why all of my fave poses have links to her videos,) and she’s so casual I just want to be her friend!
I hope you all enjoy your yoga. Let me know which pose is your favorite!