Ensure you have a release from your healthcare practitioner to do exercises. Keep in mind that you may have one or multiple Low Back issues. Above all, be mindful and back out if you experience sharp, tingling or knife-like pain.

Guidelines for Low Back Care

Healthy Spine (Back)

  • Gently move your spine in all directions to keep it mobile and flexible; For example extension/flexion, twisting and lateral movements
  • Strengthen and stabilize your Low Back with Yoga poses that are isometric with longer periods of holds such as Bridge Pose
  • Focus on good posture and keep your spine long (extended) when standing to reduce slouching and compression in the Low Back

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome

  • If muscles are tight, first work on bringing circulation into the area before stretching
  • Use the breath as your guide to determine how much movement is supportive when stretching into this area of your low back; Remember “No pain, no pain!
  • Try gentle extension/flexion movements as in cat/cow to bring circulation into the area; Blood flow is healing

SI Joint Dysfunction

  • If your SI joint is jammed or feels stuck in an awkward position, do gentle movements like Reclined Cobbler pose to bring circulation into the area before doing any strengthening movements
  • Avoid asymmetrical poses such as Warrior 1, Warrior 2 and Triangle Pose;¬†Stick with symmetrical poses such as Down Dog, Wide-Leg Forward Fold and Goddess Pose
  • While doing reclined twists, use a bolster between your legs
  • Strengthen the muscles around your SI Joint with holding poses such as Bridge Pose, wide-legged Down Dog and gentle backbends
  • Traction or Compression – determine what feels better for your body by exploring different pose options; Stay with the ones that feel supportive

Lumbar Disc Damage

  • Respect your range of motion (ROM) and stop when you feel resistance (like hitting a bumper)
  • Focus on lengthening your spine to bring space and prana into the area; Poses like Child’s Pose and forward bends with knees bent will elongate the spine
  • Avoid severe twists or backbends, but don’t cut them out completely (you want to keep spinal mobility); Keep it Gentle!
  • Always be mindful when you feel pain and back out of the pose

Scoliosis

  • Depending on where your spinal curve is imbalanced, modify to encourage spinal balance in standing and twisting poses
  • Encourage proper spinal curves by doing flowy cat/cow (Chakravakasana); Breathing into and focusing on the areas you want to balance
  • Use alternate arm variations to bring length and alignment into imbalanced areas in poses like Bridge and standing forward bends

Osteoarthritis

  • Motion is lotion for arthritic joints; Move slowly and mindfully into the areas of discomfort
  • Slowly increase your ROM and back out if there is any pain
  • Focus on lengthening and opening space in the vertebral bodies with poses like Child’s Pose and Down Dog