Get Centered With Yoga + Pilates
Get started to build flexibility, stamina, and more
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of everyday life, and sometimes we just need to slow down. If you’re looking for a low-impact, strength-building workout that can also help you become more flexible, balanced, and centered, yoga or Pilates might be right for you!
If you’ve been suffering from back pain, it might be time to give yoga a try. Yoga has helped alleviate back pain for countless practitioners because it helps create strength and flexibility. Some back problems can be the result of tight or tired muscles, or from sitting at a desk all day, and yoga can be the perfect solution. Active people can benefit from practicing yoga as well, as weight lifting, running, cycling, and more can all stress the back muscles.
Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you have any back problems to make sure the problem doesn’t need medical attention. This is especially important for severe pain!
These two poses are a great warm-up to the rest of your yoga practice.
Start on all fours, shoulders stacked over elbows. Enter cat pose by arching your back and gazing toward the ceiling. Hold, and then move into cow by sinking down and drawing your navel into your spine. Move between the two poses for as long as you need. These poses will help loosen and warm up tight muscles while offering instant relief.
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’re likely familiar with this staple pose. It will help stretch the entire body, including the back muscles. Be sure to practice proper alignment, and hold the pose for at least 5 breaths.
Another common pose, upward facing dog helps stretch your abs and chest, while engaging the muscles of the back.
While laying down, bring the palms of your hands near your ribcage. Press the tops of your feet into the floor and use your back to push up. Don’t let your hands take over the lifting, and continue to rise through your chest. Hold the pose for at least 5 breaths, and then gently release back to the ground.
Forward folds can be done while seated or standing, but the standing option will also help release your shoulders and hamstrings, which have a direct effect on back discomfort.
Keep your knees loose (don’t hyperextend) and fold forward toward the floor. Hinge forward at the hips and keep your weight toward the balls of your feet. Grab onto opposite elbows and hold for at least 5 breaths.
Pigeon pose can be slightly difficult for anyone who is new to yoga, but there are plenty of modifications. This pose will help calm the muscles deep within your hips. Tight muscles in this part of your body can cause back pain, including sciatica.
Read up on the proper form and don’t push your body too hard. You can control the depth of the stretch with your front leg. The more parallel your shin is to the top of your mat, the more intense the stretch will be. This is a deep stretch; don’t expect to reach the full expression in the beginning.
An excellent release for the back and hips, child’s pose is a great addition to your yoga practice. As your butt sinks back toward your heels work to elongate the spine, and hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
Twist poses are also helpful for relieving sciatic pain and discomfort. A simple seated twist is an easy and effective way to get relief.
Start off in a seated position with both legs extended in front of you. Cross your right knee over your left thigh. You can keep the left leg straight, or bend the left knee to deepen the posture. Place your left elbow outside your right knee and put your right hand behind you on the floor. Gaze over your right shoulder for at least 15 seconds, and then switch sides. The key is to lift up through your spine, lengthening the backside of the body.