Is Yoga OK for someone with back pain?

Some of the yoga postures in our healthy back yoga sequences at Yoga Farm.
Some of the yoga postures in our healthy back yoga sequences at Yoga Farm.

Recently in classes and private sessions here at Yoga Farm, some students have said that they are experiencing some back pain, and are hoping that the practice of yoga can help them heal and prevent further injury and discomfort.

Fortunately, for many types of back pain, yoga can be a key component in overall back wellness.  Yoga can provide cost-effective, non-surgical support, strengthening and relaxing the muscles of the back, core, hips and legs.

“I would like to express gratitude to the Yoga Farm…in Sept/Oct, I took extra yoga classes (and a gong bath) to work on severe back pain — and it worked! My back is now pain-free and I am back to normal. Many thanks.”  — Karen S, Lansing NY

The spine is a complex structure, and it relies on a substantial set of muscles in the back and front of the spine as well as the legs and hips to support it.  Back pain of many varieties can result from an imbalance of these muscles.  A weak core (abdominals and obliques), can cause back pain.  Hips and Hamstrings that are too tight can pull the spine out of shape.  Minor curvature of the spine (scoliosis), can lengthen the muscles on one side while shortening the muscles on the other side of the back, resulting in discomfort over time.  Poor posture while standing, sitting, driving all can create imbalances in the muscles that hold up the back, eventually causing pain.

In our Easy, Light and Fun classes at Yoga Farm, our sequences are designed to be back-safe.  We avoid poses or exercises as much as we can that could create back pain or worsen an existing condition, while examining alignment so that students learn how to practice yoga in a way that is helpful.

In our private yoga therapy, we study the condition(s) of an individual, often with the input of chiropractors, physical therapists, and doctors, and create specialized yoga sequences just for that person.  We meet once a week to practice these sequences with the support of an expert and coach the individual in overall back wellness.

Our approach to supporting someone with back trouble in our group yoga classes and private yoga therapy sessions looks at the following key areas:

  • We lengthen and strengthen the back, legs and hips
  • We develop core strength
  • We stretch the hamstrings and quadriceps
  • We open and relax the hips and shoulders
  • We breathe into tight and painful areas, circulating healing energy

If you are experiencing pain in the back, hips, or shoulders, yoga can be a key component of your overall wellness.  Please let the instructor know when you arrive in class if you have any current discomfort so that appropriate support (using props) and modifications (gentler backbends for example) can be provided for you.

Read more about yoga exercises and how yoga can help back pain.

Please email us if you have questions about the appropriateness of a class for you or if you’d like to discuss yoga therapy to help improve the health of your back.