If you have ever experienced lower back pain, then you are in good company. According to research, about 80 percent of adults experiencing it at some point in their lives. Lower back pain can have a myriad of causes such as accidents, repetitive stress injuries, structural issues, weakness, and also wrong physical exercise.
Here are some tips to avoid straining your lower back during your yoga routine.
Pull your navel in at (almost) all times
Try to pull your belly button in towards your spine to avoid overarching your back when you bend forward, or when you stretch your arms over your head. Engaging your abs is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your body’s alignment.
Watch your pelvis
If we habitually allow the pelvis to tilt excessively the lower back can pay the price. Try to cultivate a neutral position keeping a balance and stable pelvis, with the frontal hip bones vertically aligned with the pubic bone. To create more space in the lower back, lift the back ribs up off the waist.
Engage your inner thighs
In many positions such as plank, upward facing dog and mountain pose, squeezing the inner thighs towards each other is important to keep the core engage. This can help prevent low back pain and even help improve posture.
Mind your forward fold
Forward folds performed incorrectly can lead to lower back pain. To keep your spine straight try bending your knees and (again) pull your belly button in to engage your core. Ask your yoga teachers to analyse your forward fold postures to correct your mistakes and get some tips on how to avoid staining your lower back.
Relax your shoulders
Whenever you are stretching your arms over your head or at shoulders height (Like in Warrior II), try to relax your shoulders. This helps prevent neck and back tension. You can exaggerate the movement by pulling your shoulder up to your ears and then releasing them to feel the difference.
Make ample use of props
Most teachers encourage the use of props throughout a yoga class. You can use props in virtually any pose, including when you are seated crossed-legged (Sukhasana) or relaxing in Savasana. If your Sukhasana doesn’t feel comfortable, try placing a folded blanket under your bottom, or sit on a block or bolster. In Savasana you can put a large bolster or cushion under your knees to flatten your back on the floor and release any tension in your lower back.
Move ‘nutritiously’ on and off the mat
Practicing yoga daily (or as often as your lifestyle allows you) is a great start, but it is also important to consider how you move for the rest of your day. Observe yourself – off the mat, do you tend to be more active or sedentary? Are you stuck in any negative habits? Moving with awareness or “nutritiously” during the day will help massively to prevent any pain when you are on your yoga mat.