Niggling back pain has a way of poisoning even the greatest of moments in your life. Even when the acute phase (really bad ouch phase) subsides, the niggling pain likes to hang around like a bad smell. You think your back is fine and the pain has FINALLY said farewell, then you drop your freshly laundered undies on the grass whilst trying to hang out the washing and “aaarrrrggggggg”, there it is again! You get stuck in a right angled position. Can you tell, I’ve been there (thanks to theT12 S1 buldging disc I’d rather not have).

There are many ways to treat chronic back pain, with evidence showing that yoga can significantly reduce pain, a need for medication and improve posture and functional strength. Not all yoga is made equally though. No siree!

The most common form of yoga practiced in western society is Hatha. “Hatha” simply refers to the physical practice of yoga with all physical exercises of yoga (the poses) being referred to as, asana. Under the umbrella term ‘Hatha’ there are many styles of physical yoga. Some of the most popular being Vinyasa (flow yoga), Bikram (hot Yoga) Ashtanga, Anusara, restorative and Iyengar. Some Yoga’s are hard core crazy, some are warm and fuzzy and some lay in between.

So when someone suggests yoga for your back pain, don’t be a waltzing on in to any old class!

In a nutshell not all of these types of yoga would be suitable to attend if experiencing chronic back pain. It’s a good idea, before taking any class to chat with the teacher to ensure that particular class and style is appropriate for you and that he or she is adequately trained and confident to prescribe yoga for back health. (Some teachers aren’t experienced enough and won’t touch you with a 20 foot barge pole and that’s ok. You want to know this)

The reason why yoga can assist in pain relief and back health, is that the focus is on correct postural alignment. Yoga can selectively stretch shortened, tight muscles and strengthen weak elongated muscles. This can allow for postural correction, creating support in and around the spine relieving pressure and pain.

Breathing techniques taught and practiced in yoga classes including diaphragmatic breathing can also help in the relief of back pain. Why? Controlled conscious breathing can help relax the body, allowing tight muscles to let go and release, letting the tension on the joint or bone to dissipate.

Pranayama (yoga breathing techniques) can also have an effect on your body, like you’re stretching yourself from the inside out. Sounds like something Sigourney Weaver would do in Aliens, I know, but it’s oh so true and feels oh so fantastic.

The Good News is Yoga CAN Help. I Know First Hand.

The good news is, if you suffer from back pain then Yoga can help. If you live around the area we’d love to see you in Our Yoga for Back health Class. Check our timetable for current classes.

Greenbank yoga Wheel This is me, back in check and feeling great practicing my wheel pose. Gone are the days when I can’t bend over to pick up my undies. Occasionally I have a flare up, as my back tells me if I’m over doing it, so I make sure I’m listening to my body speak to me and take it easy.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Prescribed movement for your back is the key player in a pain free back. Of course you need to see your Dr before participating in any exercise program at all, and gain a medical clearance to exercise.


Don’t let your back pain hijack your happiness any longer.







Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club