Developed in India around 4,000 years ago, yoga is an ancient practice involving a combination of physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation. It has seen a rise in popularity in recent times as it is believed to promote health and prevent disease, and many people with back problems have found yoga to provide several benefits, including:
- Increase in blood circulation to bring healing nutrients to injured tissues
- Improvement of core strength and flexibility
- Weight-bearing positions help improve bone density
- Strengthen joints and supporting tissues
- Spinal disks –your back’s “shock absorbers” -thrive on movement
- Improvement in posture
- Practice of relaxation techniques
Although no one form of exercise works for everyone, if your back is in balance, yoga can help build strength, flexibility and endurance.
BUT… you could be doing more harm than good if your back is out of balance in the first place. If that’s the case, it won’t be able to adequately support you even for the gentlest of exercise.
- First and foremost: make sure you are in balance
- Listen to your body. We don’t subscribe to the “no pain no gain” mantra: pain is a warning sign that something is wrong
- Start gently and slowly increase your activity
Don’t over-do it!
Practicing traditional, gentle yoga – either as part of a class or at home – has been shown to be beneficial to protecting your back’s stability once it’s already in balance. However, be cautious if you are considering extreme types of yoga: these can create too much mobility in the spine which can be as damaging as having too little.