The physical practice of yoga offers numerous benefits for the muscles, bones, and connective tissue of your spine. Yoga typically involves deep breathing, meditation, relaxation techniques, and physical postures performed from seated, reclined, and standing positions.
Whether you choose a gentle class that moves your through poses slowly or are fit enough to seek out a more rigorous one-breath-one-movement routine, your back benefits. You increase circulation, oxygen delivery, mobility, and flexibility with regular practice.
You’re never too old to experience the benefits that yoga can bring to your back health.
Yoga strengthens muscles
Standing poses, such as Warrior 1 and Triangle, as well as seated postures, such as Boat and Locust, strengthen muscles related to your spine. You hold these poses to strengthen your legs, hips, paraspinals, and abs.
The muscles of these regions are critical to upright body posture and movement through your spine. When you develop good posture and muscular strength through yoga, all of the muscles in your body share in supporting your weight and moving you through daily activities — your back muscles aren’t taking on all of the work, so they don’t get over-fatigued.
Yoga moves you through a wide range of motion
Back pain can occur when you lose mobility in the spine. Hours spent hunched over a desk or driving in a car can make you stiff. Doing that day after day, without twists, chest openers, and side bends starts to make your spine immobile. Muscles become tight and short, leading to tension and pain in your back.
A solid yoga class moves your back through all six ranges of motion — flexion, extension, right and left lateral flexion, and right and left rotation. When your back is accustomed to moving in all of these directions, it’s less likely to suffer injury when you twist to close a car door or bend down to pick up a dropped item.
Plus, exercise reduces muscle tension and enhances circulation, which nourishes the tissues in the region.
Yoga stretches associated muscles
Yoga stretches muscles in your whole body, many of which can pull on the spine. Forward Folds, for example, stretch your hamstrings and give your pelvis room to move, decreasing stress on your lower back.
Stretching also facilitates greater circulation, which means blood flows readily to the connective tissue, discs, and vertebrae in the spine. This feeds them with nutrients and encourages the removal of toxins, decreasing inflammation that can cause pain.
Yoga embodies mindful movement
Yoga teaches you to move mindfully and to act in ways that serve your body. It can teach you to listen to pain and back off before it becomes an issue. In yoga, you also learn to not push beyond your limits — on the mat and off.
Practicing yoga allows you to gain an understanding of what types of movement aggravate pain and which you can work through by breathing and moving slowly.
Yoga complements chiropractic therapy when it comes to keeping your back healthy and happy. If you’re not sure where to start with yoga, talk to the team at the Spine Pro for recommendations.