Y97: Vinyasa To Strengthen Core And Support The Lower Back
Nov 16, 2019
This episode is brought to you by Mindful New Year - an online & in person retreat - Jan 17th - Yoga, Ayurveda & Vedic Astrology - Learn more at http://www.mindfulnewyear.com
In last week’s episode I shared about how to establish your center, today we strengthen that center.
In today's episode I share about low back pain. EIGHTY percent of people in studies have reported experiencing low back pain. This is a massive issue effecting millions of people. There are many effective ways to address this. The first question is, what is low back pain? Often, knowing the issue is half way to solving the issue.
The majority of the students I’ve worked with have reported low back pain at one time or another. Often it’s caused by some sort of repetitive stress like working at a desk, driving or being on a device. This gets worsened by slumping on a couch after work then curling up in a fetal position to go to sleep. The issue is keeping the spine in some sort of flexion all day. This results in what you sometimes see in elderly bodies; the dreaded hunchback.
There are, of course, many other forms of back pain with endless causes. Today I will address some common causes of repetitive stress from postural patterns.
I also address this from an energetic perspective. There is a concept in the Yoga Sutra called "pratipakshi bhavana". This means when something is out of balance, cultivate the opposite. This may have evolved from Ayurveda's “like increases like and opposites bring balance.”
So a good place to start with back pain is: do the opposite of the movements causing the issue. This starts with noticing the tilt of the pelvis. Next, noticing flexion and extension in the spine. Next, noticing weaknesses and compensations in the core.
There are many possible causes of back. This is what can make it difficult to relieve. But, in general, I teach to address the whole lumbo-pelvic hip complex. This is pretty much all the joints, muscles and connective tissue from the knees to the belly button.
Today we'll focus on strengthening the core to support the low back.
Again, it’s important to define terms. When I say ‘core’ I don’t mean doing a bunch of sit-ups while I yell at you over blaring pop music. You could actually do that and never use your deep core muscles - and create MORE imbalances.
Look at any advanced yogi with a strong core and they rarely have a defined 6 pack. This is because the true core is not the 6 pack muscles. Those are more superficial and called the rectus abdomens. Deeper than that is are muscles more important to supporting the back. Muscles more helpful in spinal stabilization and preventing back pain. Muscles that help with pretty much every active yoga posture. The transverse abdominis. The internal obliques. The psoas. The multifidi. If we want a strong core these are the muscles to strengthen. If we want to support the back, reverse and prevent back pain, these are the muscles to strengthen.
In next week’s episode I will share more about the Yoga Sutra I mentioned. I'll share the concept of “pratipaksha bhavana" in a gentle yoga practice.
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