Chair Yoga for the Lower Back: Alleviate Debilitating Pain Right From Your Chair
Oh, my aching back! I can’t tell you how many students and people I come across in my teaching and life who have low back issues. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to or exacerbate the problem. Fortunately, chair yoga for the lower back can help this immensely.
When we sit, our hip flexors shorten in front and pull on our lower back. Also, many of us slouch in our chairs, which can lead to compressed discs over time. Tight hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps all lead to low back pain.
Get Started With Chair Yoga for the Lower Back
Once you’ve warmed up by opening and strengthening your legs, it’s easier to open and release your lower back. The lower back can feel quite fragile. When you do chair yoga for the lower back, it’s important to stay connected to the breath. Also remember to really use the abdominal muscles as well.
Back pain is one of the most debilitating symptoms to have, and sitting can really exacerbate it. It’s crucial if you suffer from low back pain to do chair yoga to help ease the discomfort. Strengthening and stretching the legs, hips, and lower back (along with the core) can make a world of difference in the health of your back and spine. Having more open hips and hamstrings will surely help release the back as well.
Studies Show Yoga Helps Back Pain!
A randomized study of 228 adults with chronic back pain looked at whether yoga is more effective than conventional stretching or a self-care book (Sherman, et al.). The researchers concluded that yoga was more effective than a self-care book but not conventional stretching classes in improving function and reducing symptoms of chronic low back pain. The benefits of yoga and stretching lasted several months. Chair yoga for the lower back is particularly appealing. It is safe, inexpensive, and easily available to most people.
Exercises for the Lower Back
There are several chair yoga exercises that can help strengthen and stretch the lower back. These include variations of yoga poses you’re probably already familiar with. Some examples include arches, cat/cow, and backbends.
You can do chair yoga back exercises in any order, though it’s a good idea to start by warming up with a gentle backbend. You can learn the exercises that work best to strengthen the back and alleviate back pain in chapter 8 of my book, Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You.
Once you’ve tried it, you may be amazed to learn how much chair yoga can help you open and release your back! Most of us stay parked in one position for way too long and all these exercises remind us to keep moving. When we are stagnant in our body, especially our lower half, our energy is like a muddy puddle that keeps getting more weighed down. Chair yoga for the lower back can help us clear the waters and stay clean and healthy.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!