If you experience dull and heavy pain in your lower back, one likely cause is tight and weak muscles: lower back muscles tighten and weaken as a result of inactivity and bad posture. Even stress or emotional problems can cause back muscles to tighten. Tightness in the lower back may eventually lead to serious joint derangements and is important to address. A tight and weak back responds well to gentle yoga stretches and to the calming effect of concentrating on the movements and breathing. Big stretches or forceful strengthening may put already tight muscles into spasm and more excruciating pain, so it is best to start with gentle stretching. The second video clip from my “yoga for abdominal strengthening” sessions demonstrates some yoga movements for lower back pain relief: a great way to give those lower back muscles some TLC.
Strengthening core muscles can be essential and yet quite hard to do when you have back pain. You may have heard that toned abdominal muscles support the lower back but how do you even start ‘toning’ when most movements hurt? My video clip demonstrates how to strengthen one set of abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, while keeping the back and neck relaxed on the floor. So when you have a moment at home, make yourself comfortable on a surface like a yoga mat or carpet, and let me talk you through these safe abdominal exercises for back pain relief.
If you feel a little rusty and sluggish after the Christmas holidays, a short, daily yoga session can do wonders. It does not have to be long or complicated, just enough to move your back, stretch your limbs, deepen your breath and encourage the blood circulation. What is required is your attention, so that the movements are done well and the mind can relax too. The sequence below is good to keep your back mobile and healthy as it gently mobilises and lengthens the spine. It is also generally beneficial and you may feel the positive effect on your mood. Here’s to the New Year!
For many of us these last days of the year are incredibly busy and hectic, draining our energy and skyrocketing stress levels. Stress has such a negative impact on our health and wellbeing that taking the time to breathe and relax is key to good health. Think of it as escaping the pollution and traffic of central Manhattan to find a quiet area in Central Park. In this blog I would like to encourage you to take a few minutes a day to simply breathe and centre yourself, creating a peaceful haven in the midst of activity. It will help you stay energised and avoid the exhaustion and disappointments that may accompany this time of the year.