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    Yoga for Back aches

    Have a backache?  Let yoga do it's magic.

    This morning I woke up with a backache.  I immediately got on the floor and started to do the following series of yoga moves and no doubt within 5 minutes I was fine and dandy sugar candy.  I'm not a yoga guru, but I can tell you that yoga helps with all sorts of aches and pains.  And personally, I'd rather bend over backwards than take medication any day for a backache.  Naturally, doing yoga on a daily basis will help prevent most aches and pains, but for those of us who skip a day or two (or just don't have a yoga routine going), will strongly benefit from these poses.

     Remember, when doing any yoga pose, for best results take deep breaths and hold each pose for a breath or two.  

    Cat/Cow Pose:  To start with, get down on  your hands and knees.Your hands and knees should be spread apart a bit.  Then, arch your back like a cat on Halloween, making it round at the top.  Make sure to put your head down and exhale. With your head down, you should be looking under your belly.   Now, slowly arch your belly, so that your back drops down and forms a "U".  Lift your head and shake your "tail" like a cow would when swatting flies.  Inhale cow, exhale cat.  Do these poses a few times for best results.  

    Snake/Mouse Pose: This is another counter stretch to help your back and belly.  From cat/cow pose, move slowly into snake pose.  Lie on your stomach, stretching your legs out behind you.  Make sure that your legs and feet are together, like a strong snake tail.  Your hands should be next to your shoulders.  Get ready to push your chest up with your hands, keeping your legs and seat firm to the ground.  You should feel like a cobra rising up, just until it's comfortable.  Lift your head up out of your shoulders and breath.  Do you feel the stretch in your shoulders, back, belly, and legs?  Now lower your chest down to the ground and curl up into a ball or mouse pose, where your seat is resting on your feet and your legs/knees should be under your belly.  Rest your head on your hands or the floor.  Take some nice deep breaths and feel your belly rising and falling on your legs. Try to do the snake/mouse pose a few times for a good stretch. 

    Boat Pose: While seated, lift your legs up in front of you.  They should be together and either bent or straight, and your body should be forming a "V" shape.   When you are ready, lift your hands up off the floor and hold your knees or keep them straight out in front of you on each side of your leg.  You can also pretend to row your boat backwards and forwards. 

    Superman/Superwoman Pose: Lie on your belly with your arms and hands straight out in front of you and your legs straight behind you, as if you are superman flying through the air.  Lift your arms and legs off of the floor and "fly."  Then, bring your arms and legs down and rest.  Now try alternating and lifting your left arm and right leg simultaneously.  Then rest and lift the other sides (right arm and left leg).  

    Remember that the back is connected to the abs.  When we have back problems, it is sometimes due to a weak belly.  This is why it's important to stretch and strengthen our whole core or all the muscles surrounding and including your back and abs.  My mom has back problems from a car accident that she was in, as well as all the strain that she's done in the past on your back.  She's now a swimmer, which helps keep her strong and healthy and she also includes the above poses in her morning workout routine.