If you suffer from back pain or just have good mornings, yoga might be just the thing for you. Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that gets your blood flowing while stretching and strengthening muscles. It can also help relieve back pain if you have back pain already. There are many types of yoga, including the sporty vinyasa, power yoga and prenatal yoga. But I recommend Bikram Yoga, because it gets you off the floor and in a meditative state at the same time.
Begin this exercise by standing with both your feet shoulder-width apart. Then cross your legs, right leg to left leg to right, bringing both feet together as you do. This brings your torso more into line with your left arm and the right side of your torso is facing you. Make sure your chest is square with the floor and your shoulders are drawn down toward your knees.
The purpose of the above yoga position is to bring your spine and torso in a straight line toward your legs. This brings your pelvis and ribcage more in line with your left leg and decreases the tension in your lower back. Practicing yoga may not totally solve your back pain but a regular yoga practice will help you avoid back pain by reducing your stress and improving your posture.
Another pose that is excellent for treating and preventing back pain is the Upward Facing Dog pose. In this pose, your upper body is supported by a block and your lower back and abdomen are in a stretched out position. Now pull your torso so that your chin and your collarbone are on the floor. While keeping your upper body in a stretched out position, breathe in deeply and release your shoulders and arms by lifting them toward your chin.
To do the Upward Facing Dog, simply face the block and place your hands on the sides of your head and pull yourself up so that your chin is just an inch or two above the block. Then bend your knees a little and lift your hips away from the floor. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles. Breathe in while pulling yourself up and release your hips as you keep your upper body in a stretched out position. You can practice this yoga posture as often as you like.
Another great yoga posture for relieving low back pain is known as the forward fold. Begin this exercise by sitting with your feet shoulder-width apart and placing your right leg on the left leg and gently extend it to the front. You should be able to feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
Slowly bend your left arm and draw your elbow towards your left shoulder. As you pull your elbow out, gently rotate it and reach your hand to the inside of your left hip and slowly rotate it the same way you did with your right leg. Do the Upward Facing Dog as many times as you can and gently relax each time. When you are feeling comfortable and your muscles are adequately stretched, you can proceed to the yoga poses for relieving lower back pain.
If you are looking to change the direction of your breath while practicing the Upward Facing Dog, then you can perform the Downward Facing Dog instead. Rather than drawing your belly button towards your spine, you will want to pull your navel toward your left hip. This will allow you to breathe easier and will create a much more even stretching. With practice, you should be able to change the way you breathe while performing each pose several times each day, without ever straining your muscles.