“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” - Bob Harper
Ever wondered why the 5,000 year old practice of yoga is so good for the spine?
I've been delving deeply into this subject lately and focusing on people who like myself, suffer with back pain. If you've ever been affected by back ache then you'll know that it can really get you down. I personally suffered with back ache for many years after a car crash left me with a scoliosis injury to my spine.
No matter how many visits to the chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist, I was always in some sort of discomfort unless I had practiced yoga a few times that week.
After a while, I decided to focus on my Yoga practice and put the other therapies to the side for a while and was amazed at the results. The nagging discomfort in my spine, neck and shoulders resided and was kept at bay.
This should come as no surprise as yoga has been used for thousands of years to prevent aches and pains and the medical community have been touting the benefits of yoga for decades.
I am now pain free but only while I am regularly practicing yoga, which is one of the reasons I decided to retrain as a Yoga Instructor. If yoga would be in my life forever, why not teach Yoga and bring it's magical, healing benefits of yoga to others who need it as much me?
Really interestingly, during a recent sacro-cranial therapy session, the therapist was astounded that given the wonkiness of my spine, I was not in constant pain. We both agreed what an amazing testament to a regular yoga practice that was!
Science has shown that yoga can help the counteract the deterioration of the disks or watery cushions that lie between the vertebrae, allowing the vertebrae to move smoothly. The belief is that the flexing and bending and repeated tensing and compression of the disks, allows nutrients to absorb into the disks which can limit the aging of the spine.
Lower back pain is the most common form of back pain..
Lower back pain is often caused by long periods of sitting which puts the hips in a constant state of flexion with many negative effects on the body. A regular, gentle yoga practice can help relieve and prevent lower back pain because Yoga poses stretch and reduce tightness in the hamstrings, hip flexors (including the psoas), hip rotators, and back extensors (large muscles of the lower back). Tension in these areas is often responsible for lower back pain.
Restricted hamstrings reduce the motion of the pelvis putting stress on the lower back. A tight psoas muscle (one of the largest muscles of the body connected the torso to the legs) compresses the joints and lumbar discs of the vertebrae causing degeneration and increased risk of injury. It also prevents the normal functioning the gluteal muscles, the body’s major stabilizing muscles. Yoga can help to deal with all of this.
Yoga acts as a kind of self-myofascial release, massaging the muscles and inter-connective tissue
It releases any knotting which can impair movement. Yoga poses gently strengthen the back and core muscles (including the glutes) which are essential parts of the muscular network of the spine. With strong, well-conditioned back and core muscles, back pain can be greatly reduced or even avoided altogether.
Yoga poses, with their strong emphasis on alignment, help to correct postural issues and allow the spine to return to its natural curvature, reducing lower back pain. Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga is all about working both sides of the body equally bringing balance, stacking the head over the heart, over the hips etc.
Practicing yoga poses with pranayama (controlled breathing) and meditation, relaxes the body, easing the stress carrying muscles and allowing better blood flow, encouraging strong circulation and bringing nutrients to the muscles, inter-connective tissues and joints. Also allowing improved removal of toxins from the body.
The focus of yoga is very much on bringing heightened sense of awareness of the body which can help a person work with movements that feel good and avoid those that create strain or injury.
Autumn Schedule And So Much More..
We have just released the new classes taking us through to the end of the year. Most classes are at full capacity so don't delay and book now to avoid disappointment. Remember that when you book a term pass, if you have to miss a class you can make it up by attending another class during the term. Just send an email to confirm when you'll be attending instead.
November & December Classes - Book Now!
Sundays 11am Harrow Arts Centre , 10 weeks, 29th Oct - 31st Dec
Sundays 12.15pm (Intermediate) Harrow Arts Centre, 10 weeks, 29th Oct - 31st Dec
Tuesdays 7.30pm Whitmore School, 7 weeks, 7th Nov - 19th Dec
Wednesdays 10.30am Harrow Arts Centre, 7 weeks, 1st Nov - 13th Dec
Fridays 10.30am YMCA Harrow, 7 weeks, 3rd Nov - 15th Dec
If you haven't yet made it to a class and need more convincing that yoga is for you, then be sure to take a look at the reviews!
I look forward to seeing you on the yoga mat soon.
- Namaste -
"You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga, you just have to be willing to shake the dust off and see what happens." ~David Good
Respira Yoga London
Mob: 07990 820112
For inspirational musings on all things yoga and wellness related, please follow Respira Yoga on Facebook & Instagram