Sore backs and sore shoulders are the most common complaints we hear from people.
My back’s sore at the moment, mostly because life's been a bit stressful and when I'm stressed I habitually tense muscles that put extra pressure on my spine.
Physical exercise isn't the only reason to do yoga: I need yoga to help keep me calm(ish).
Sore back + no yoga = No Fun Sophie.
It's hard to know what yoga to do with a sore back: sticking to a samasthiti practice helps. Sama means 'same' and sthiti means 'stay'. Samasthiti practice involves keeping the body more or less symmetrical. The spine stays in neutral and the back muscles get to relax. It's great relief (and prevention!) for a sore back.
Here’s a sequence Nadine came up with that's really soothed my back. If your back is sore too, try this, and take it slowly. And if anything hurts more than doing nothing did, stop, okay?
Start in balasana (child pose) with hips a little off the heels so the back doesn't round. Think of tilting the pelvis forward and sticking your bum out, the same as you would in any other forward bend.
Inhale to all fours. Press the heels of your hands, and the knuckles where your fingers join your hand into the floor. Make sure you're engaging the stabilising muscles in your pelvis (pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominus).
Exhale, curl toes under and come into phalankasana (plank pose) or kneeling plank (don't do plank now if it's a challenge even on good days!). Keep those pelvic stablising muscles working. Stay there for several breaths.
When you feel ready, exhale into Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), with knees a bit bent to keep the back long. This is a great pose to allow the verterbrae in the spine to move away from one another and ease compression and pinching. Then go back the way you came: plank (phalankasana), cakravakasana, balasana. Repeat as many times as you want.
- Next, come to sit, and prepare for table top pose. Keep those pelvis stabilising muscles working. Hold the shape for several breaths.
- Then come to stand and practice urdvha hastasana: Inhale, arms out and up, exhale arms down, belly tones to spine.
After that, lie on your back and hug your knees. This is a lovely release for the hips and the muscles of the back.
Finish by putting your legs up the wall, or up a chair if you need something that puts a little less pressure on your back.
A short practice, but an effective one.