Health Topics

Healthy Living

February 2012
Yoga for Lower Back
Nisha Gulati
Okay, it’s NOT rocket science! Yoga is the best cure for lower back pain because it forces you to strengthen your core muscles.Yes,Iam talking about your abdominal muscles, which I suspect have been accumulating some flab over the past few holidays.

One general observation about people suffering from back pain is that fearing further injuries, they altogether abstain from exercising. The situation re-conditions the affected person’s muscles, rendering it even weaker.

And, by the way, if you think that back pain is all to do with age and ageing, you are wrong. I come across people as young as 15 years having issues with their lower back! It’s a phenomenon pervading all age groups, sexes and body types.

Hatha Yoga
The practice of postures and breath control is one of the best ways to create a union of mind, body, and soul or to deal with the battle of depression, injuries, stress and stress-induced aches and pains. So here is a pick of four postures I teach my students and find extremely helpful in relieving lower back pain

NOTE: Keep breathing through your nose while doing all these postures and keep your mouth closed. Enjoy!

Cobra Posture - Bhujangasana
  • Lie down on your stomach and place your chin and neck on the floor.
  • Place your hands flat underneath your shoulders, close to your chest, all five fingers together.
  • Distribute your body weight evenly on both hands.
  • Keep arms and elbows touching your body.
  • Keep the entire lower body tight and squeeze it together (legs, hips and feet).
  • Now look up and lift your upper body using your back strength. Do not do a push-up. You are not to use your arm strength.
  • Push the shoulders down and make sure the elbows touch down towards your hips. Arms visually appear to make a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold for a count of 10, gently release, lower your body down to your mat and relax.
  • Repeat.
Locust Posture - Salabhasana
  • Lie down on your stomach and rest your chin on the floor.
  • Keep your arms straight and place them underneath your body, palms facing the floor.
  • Make sure you get your elbows underneath your stomach so that they don’t poke out. Any discomfort felt at the elbows or wrists is normal.
  • Keep the fingers spread apart.
  • Now keep your left leg relaxed and tighten the right leg.
  • Lift the right leg up, keep toes pointed, knee locked.
  • Hold for a count of 10 and relax.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat posture.
Half Tortoise Pose - Ardha-Kurmasana
  • Sit down in Japanese style.
  • Bring your arms up over your head.
  • Keep the hands and palms together in namaskar position.
  • Keep your core tight and exhale.
  • Gently lower your body down.
  • Let your forehead touch the floor first then let your pinky fingers touch the floor. The arms should not rest on the floor and make sure they are not bent.
  • Keep your chin away from the chest with your nose touching the floor.
  • At the same time lower your hips on your heels.
  • Stretch your arms forward until you feel a pinching sensation in your shoulders.
  • Hold for a count of 10.
  • Maintain normal breathing in and out through your nose.
  • Gently rise and slowly relax your arms down.
  • Repeat.
Camel Posture - Ustrasana
  • Stand on your knees.
  • Keep a 6-inch gap between them.
  • Place your hands on your lower back, fingers facing down, and elbows pointing
  • Inhale as you push your hips forward and drop your head back.
  • Grab your right heel with your right hand and left heel with your left hand. Keep
    the thumb outside and fingers inside. Make sure your grip is tight.
  • Push your entire body forward as much as you can. Do not lean on your heels. It
    is normal if your back hurts.
  • Hold for ten counts and gently place your hands on your lower back and come
    back up keeping your spine straight.
  • Relax in shavasana for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat.

Nisha Gulati is Bikram Yoga Instructor Mumbai

  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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