The world doesn’t stop for us when we have a sore back. On the contrary, we are prodded to try to keep up. Painful, sore backs are an absolute downer! But modified yoga offers great stretches and better positioning to help your sore back. No, a sore back might not go away completely, and you need to be vigilant about how you move so that you don’t compromise your back. I can tell you from personal experience that a painful, strained back, can get better.
One of the instructions for care that I tell each of my clients, is that you have to be consistent in your stretching. Ten minutes of daily back stretch will greatly improve your flexibility and relieve painful backs. It’s essential to retrain yourself, to bend your knees, and roll your pelvis and tail bone up towards your navel while standing, sitting or doing your stretches. Do what works well for your back. My back is different from yours, yours is different from your sister-in-law in perfect shape. Before I instruct a client, I assess the location of the back challenges. Some stretches work better for lower back pain, and some stretches work better for upper and middle. Also be aware of the interconnectivity of your body, when you have a sore back, your hamstrings, hips, shoulders and neck are also going to be tangled there.
Let’s start with stretches for the lower back. If you are sitting down, a rotation stretch such as a half spinal twist offer good release. Sit on the seat, with your back slightly away from the back of the chair, grab the back of your chair, or the back of the seat, with your right hand, and put your left hand on the outside of your RIGHT KNEE. You are going to turn to look back at your right shoulder, hold for a few seconds at time, and release. Don’t overdo it. It’s better to do repetitions than to hold the pose too long. Do the other side in the same manner. Hold the back of your seat or chair’s back with your left, place your right hand on your LEFT KNEE and twist towards the left shoulder. Undo slowly. You breathe in and out through your NOSE.
Standing stretches for the lower back. Stand near an empty wall. (No picture frames) put yourself with your right shoulder and your right side towards the wall. This is another twist. Put your right foot forward and your take a step further back with your left foot. You have put yourself into a lunge position. Move slightly away from the wall, to accommodate your hands. Reach and put your left hand on your RIGHT KNEE, and lean the right side of your upper leg and your right hip against the wall. With your RIGHT HAND, put your palm on the wall near your belly, and keep it on the wall. Move your right hand past your right hip along the wall, when you do this, look over your right shoulder. (You will need to accommodate your torso, by giving space to your upper body.)
Now to reverse it, come out of the pose. Put your left side to the wall. Left foot steps forward, right foot lunges back. Keep your knees bent. Now, reach with your right hand on your left knee. Put your left hand on the wall and slide it past your left hip. Twist and look back over your left shoulder.
Upper back stretches while seated. A simple stretch for the whole back is called a “Drape.” Sit down, and open your legs and feet. Lean as forward as you can, and put your hands on the floor or close to the floor, between your legs in front of you. Stay there and breathe. Slowly come back up and rest. Do it again.
Standing stretches for the upper back. This standing pose is similar to the seated “drape,” Go back to the wall. Place the back of your head, and your spine to the wall. Bend your knees. Practice rolling the pelvis upward towards your navel while keeping your lower back to the wall. Open your feet; hip width apart. Then, place your feet a little more forward from the wall, so that you are supported well. Keep your buttocks on the wall, the whole time. You are going to begin leaning forward. As you “drape” forward, you will attempt to reach your feet, or a spot on the floor more forward of your feet. Just do what you can, and don’t strain. You will feel your neck and upper back releasing in this standing “drape.” Stay in the pose as long as it feel comfortable, and that you are not dizzy, with your head tipped over. This stretch is also great for tight hamstrings. When you come out, you put your palms on the wall by each hip, and you begin rolling your back and head up. Keep your buttocks on the wall as you roll upright. You may need to shift your position as you are coming up. When you stand fully, put your back of your head and your spine to the wall once again. This resting pose against the wall, assist the alignment of your spine.