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Joint & Back Pain - How Yoga Can Help

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Joint and back pain can really drain out your energy & slow us down both physically and emotionally in our everyday life. To feel comfortable in daily life when you're living with chronic pain, requires becoming really good at balancing the two: stretching and strengthening. Stretching out your muscles when they are sore can feel amazing, but strengthening the supportive muscles around sore points can be what really helps lift the weight out of those painful areas.

Most common areas for pain and stiffness are the lower back, shoulders, wrists, hip and knees. We are going to work with poses that open up those areas gently and practice deep breathing in the poses for maximum oxygenated blood flow to those areas in their opened state. Go only as far as you can. With practice the range will increase in a painless and gentle manner.

Our flow is going to be exploratory in nature. It will help you find all the problem areas where you have pain so then you can focus on those areas. It is always best to consult with a trained practitioner.

If you are experiencing low back or joint pain ask your doctor if gentle yoga is right for you, and then try these yoga poses to help keep you up and running.

Precautionary Steps: Make sure you use yoga blocks, cushions and support while practicing these poses to avoid aggravation of pain. Respect your body's limit and do only as much as you comfortably can. In case the pain aggravates, discontinue the practice and seek medical consultation before resuming.

Ask us how and where to use blocks in the comments if you need to know.

Reducing inflammation is key to reducing joint and back pain.

Healthy Diet: The first step to healthier joints starts from making right food choices. Experts suggest reducing intake of inflammatory foods such as sugar and gluten rich eatables. Intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as green-leafy vegetables and fruits is encouraged . Inflammation is one of the leading causes of pain. Incorporating Ayurveda in your current lifestyle will also help alleviate the pain. Yoga is a natural and side-effect free approach to living a healthy life. Adopting yoga as a regular practice makes the body physically and mentally fit. It restores vigor and enhances the quality of life.

Find painful spots in your body

First step, relax your whole body so we can differentiate between daily soreness and chronic pain. When you do find a painful spot, stop and breathe into the stretch. Get into the Easy pose or Lotus Pose. Only cross your legs as much as you are able. If you cannot cross your legs , that's fine, just sit on the ground with a straight back as much as possible.

Lotus Pose

Gently roll your neck all the way around slowly. Find the stressed spots and hold for a second and breathe deeply when you do find them. One at a time, roll each outstretched arm around the shoulder. Roll each arm 3 times to gently open up the shoulder area.

Wrist Extension

Wrist Flexion

Arm stretch

Hold each arm out at maximum length and put your wrists through the above positions. Hold in each for a breath or two. Throughout this whole routine, the trick is to find relaxation while your muscles are stretched. The constant deep breathing also helps promote relaxation and looseness of limb, while massaging the abdomen and core muscles.

Moving on to the lower back area, we recommend a slow and aware Cat-Cow stretch. If pain in the hips or knees makes this hard then you can do it seated in the easy pose as well. Just move your core area as you would during Cat-Cow. Go the full range, with your head aiming to touch your chest in Cat and reaching back as far as possible during Cow. You can also move side to side to test your obliques area. If you find stiffness, stop and breathe.

Cat - Cow Pose

Lower body

From this position you can either come back to or stay in Easy pose, depending on what you chose. We are going to target the lower body. Come into the Bound Angle pose. Touch your feet together and bring them as close to you as you can. Feel the stretch across your hamstrings as they open up to give the hips more room. You can put gentle pressure on your knees to deepen the stretch.

Bound Angle Pose

Get up into Downward Dog. If your heels don't touch the floor that's fine, but that should be the aim. Flex the feet from tiptoe to lowered as much as possible to build flexibility in the hamstrings and loosen hips. Having loose hamstrings helps with hip and low back pain in a big way.

Downward Dog Pose

Enter the Child pose to finish up. This is a really gentle and easy way to stretch the lower back. Get into the pose by dropping down onto your knees, spread your knees wide and bring your big toes together. Sit your hips back onto your feet or heels and reach your arms forward onto the ground. Child pose helps you to Improve flexibility and stretching of the spine and hip flexors greatly helping lower back pain.

Child Pose

The Takeaway

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet it's not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor. Use Yoga to gain a light and flexible body without back and joint pain.

On the surface, yoga is a system of physical movements designed to improve flexibility and balance. But through practice we discover that yoga goes much deeper than its poses – it is a virtual ocean of healing potential that benefits the human mind, body, and spirit together.
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