Posture and habitual movement patterns contribute hugely to back health. The way you walk, stand, sit or sleep can influence whether you develop back pain or not. My four blogs this summer will analyse different elements of posture, and how posture relates to managing and preventing back pain. After all, doing yoga once a week is not enough if during the rest of the week you slouch on a sofa or car seat, round your shoulders forward over a computer, or stand out of alignment so your muscles have to work harder to keep you upright. Together with the right exercises, this focus on postural habits can hopefully help you correct bad posture and shape lifelong, sustainable wellbeing. This first blog in the series focuses on good walking habits.
Unless we keep our spine mobile, moving it through its full range of movement, which includes twisting, sideways extensions, forward and back bends, the upper spine may tighten and round forward with age. This is even more so when our work demands long hours of focusing forward and down over a desk, workbench or computer. There are many ways to counter a tight upper back, but the yoga crocodile rest is easy, effective and soothing.
Millie came to me two years ago with a recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis in one hip. She had visited a chiropractor and an orthopaedic consultant and the prognosis was a hip replacement in the next 15 to 20 years if the osteoarthritis of the hip continued to progress. Millie, who is just over 50, wanted to try yoga therapy because she was interested in a holistic approach that would give her increased flexibility.
When you wake up with a tight and achy back it usually eases or disappears completely after some movement. Rather than waiting for the stiffness to diminish by itself, you could try some targeted and gentle exercises right after waking up. The morning routine described in this blog is designed to mobilise your back gently and reduce the time it takes to feel more at ease. It is also lovely for those who do not have back pain upon waking but simply want to start the day with a nice stretch.