Yoga isn’t just meditating on a mountaintop — although, relaxation is a big part of it. There are many low-impact stretches that can ease the painful flare-ups that can sometimes come along with chronic neck and back pain. By using slow, controlled movements, stretching and practicing structured breathing techniques, you’ll soon discover why yoga is a great way to strengthen your back and core muscles to relieve tension.
Getting started is easy. Just try the poses below and show us your moves. Post your yoga photos on Facebook and Twitter using #LSIYogaChallenge and share how your yoga routine has helped relieve neck or back pain.
Begin this pose on your hands and knees with a flat back. Slowly press your hips back and up, raising your knees away from the floor. Lift your tailbone up toward the ceiling. For a more intense stretch, push your heels toward the floor. Hold for five to 10 breaths, and then repeat several times throughout the practice.
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet grounded and hands at your sides. Step your feet wide across your mat lengthwise and turn your left foot at a 90 degree angle to your right foot. Next, turn your right foot slightly inward and raise your arms so they are straight out from your sides, making sure your shoulders aren’t raised and your palms are facing the ground. Now, focus your gaze on your left fingertips, extending out through your hands. Bend your left knee, making sure your knee is aligned above your ankle, with your thigh parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for five breaths, then straighten your legs. Turn your left foot in and your right foot out and repeat this sequence on the other side.
Begin standing with your arms at your sides, grounding feet into the floor. Evenly distribute your weight evenly across both feet. Shift your weight to your left foot. Next, bend your right knee, then bring your right foot to the side of your left calf, below your knee, or your thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it. Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Press your palms together in prayer position at your chest. Fix your gaze gently on one unmoving point in front of you and focus. Keep pressing your right foot into your left calf, while pressing your calf equally against your foot. Take a deep breath in as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips up to the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other. Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, step back into standing position. Repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Stand in the middle of your mat, legs together with hands at your sides. Slowly raise both arms forward and up until they are on each side of your ears, palms facing in. Bend your knees as if you’re sinking into a seated position without the chair. Keep your heels on the floor and arch your back. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Begin on your hands and knees. Then, slowly, bring your bottom toward your heels, without it touching your heels, and reach your arms out in front of you on your mat. Hold for five to 10 breaths and repeat several times throughout your routine as a way to transition from one sequence to the next.
This pose begins in the seated position with your legs in front of you. Sit straight up and straighten your back. Bend your left leg and move your left foot to the right side of your right knee. Bring your left knee toward your chest and release your arms. Bend your right arm and bring your right elbow to the left side of your left knee. Next, press your left hand against the floor behind your back. Twist your back to the left as you exhale and rotate your head to the left, looking over your left shoulder. Hold this position for five to 10 breaths.
Start this pose on your stomach with elbows bent, palms facing down under your shoulders and legs straight behind you. Slowly press your palms against the floor. Use your back muscles to raise your head and upper torso. Straightening your arms, arch your upper back. Then lift your chin and look straight ahead. To exit this pose, slowly lower your shoulders down, turning head to the left or right to rest on the mat.
Starting a yoga routine doesn’t have to be overwhelming. What’s more, if you start slow and move in the way that’s best for your body, it can produce amazing results. If your body hurts when you wake up in the morning, performing these seven daily moves could be the key to relieving that pain. And whether you’re new to yoga or just want to refresh your routine, Laser Spine Institute’s Seven-Day Yoga Challenge could help you stretch your way to relief.
If you have injuries, check with your doctor before you start any new exercises; some yoga poses can also be modified to reduce strain on injured areas. If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic neck or back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today for your MRI review and see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery.
The Laser Spine Institute Exercise Video Series, including all functional activities, post-surgical exercises and descriptions were designed specifically for Laser Spine Institute patients only. If you have not been prescribed these exercises, you should contact your physician before starting this or any exercise program. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. Risks include, but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting and disorders of heart beat. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult your surgeon's liaison or physician.