Modern lifestyle lends itself to several problems. The aching back is fast becoming one of the most common complaints. Practically everyone has faced this problem in their lives. And most health practitioners are in agreement that our sitting postures, lack of exercise and long hours at the desk are all to blame for this ailment. So, is there a cure, considering that none of those three things are going to change in the near future? Yoga is one of the most highly recommended alternative therapy for several physical and emotional (not to mention spiritual) ailments.
According to Delhi-based Yoga practitioner, Shri Anant, “Yoga can cure most diseases, if performed in the right way and one is guided by the right guru”. He meets several people who complain of back-aches. He insists that each individual person has a separate and unique need, and with the help of a trained yoga instructor, develop a yoga regimen to suit their individual need, but there are some common easy exercises that everyone can try.
For back aches, Shri Anant recommends the bhujangasana or the Cobra pose (in Sanskrit bhujanga means snake).
Here’s how to do it right
First, lie flat on your stomach, keeping your hands level with your chest and your elbows pointing upwards. Inhale slowly and deeply as you hoist your body upwards, arching your back and lifting the front of your body upwards from the abdomen, until your arms are straightened out. Raise your head as much as possible. Hold the pose and your breath and count to ten. Now slowly lower your body and return to the initial pose as you slowly exhale. Repeat and gradually increase the count.
- Position yourself next to your wall with your feet parallel.
- Position the fingerprints of one of your hand on the wall at a shoulder height with your arm fully extended.
- Place your other hand on one side of your hip.
- Now move your fingers in a position that you make a cup out of your fingers.
- Now make sure that only your fingertips are touching the wall.
- Rotate your arm in an outward direction slightly so that your thumb points towards the ceiling.
- Keep your shoulder aligned with your hand and lift and open your chest, rolling your collar bones back when you inhale.
- Now, twisting from the waist, rotate your upper body, extending through your arm to the fingerprints, as if the wall is moving away from you.
Parvatasana with handstand
Go into a mountain pose by going down on your hands and feet and lift your back. Your partner should then carefully go into a hand stand using your body for support. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Now switch roles.
Stand with your partner, both facing each other. Hold each other’s fore arms and slowly bend backwards till your backs are parallel to the floor. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
Stand with your backs together and interlock your elbows. Slowly pull your partner up as you bend forward. Once your partner is completely above the ground, she can hold her ankles while you balance her with your hands. Hold this posture for 20-30 seconds.
Lie down on the floor on your back. Use a mat. Get your partner to rest her hands on yours (like she’s about to do pushups) and slowly lift her using your hand and legs. Once she is up in the air, concentrate on keeping her balanced. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
Sit on the floor facing each other. Now, hold each other’s hand for balance and then bring your feet together as shown. Hold the posture for 30 seconds, relax and repeat.
Method of back pain relieving mudra
Mudras, or specific hand gestures that have healing properties are useful for getting relief from back pain too. The balance of energies that mudras bring about helps to get rid of the back pain complications too. While it is too risky to recommend it as a replacement for physical therapies or medications, these mudras of Yoga are a very good addition to your back pain care regimen.
There are separate mudras for left hand and right hand which are to be done in conjunction with one another.
- The thumb, middle finger and little finger of your right hand should gently touch one another, while the index and ring finger are extended.
- Now place the thumb of your left thumb joint on the nail of the left index finger.
- Perform this asana for four times in a day, for four minutes each.
- Keep your arms and spine erect. Fingers in the mudra as explained above.
- Rest your hands on thighs, table, chair handles, or on bed.
- Keep the arms open to the sky (preferably). It is a visualisation of receiving cosmic energy.
- You should be inhaling less than exhaling. You can even lie down in open sky for this meditation.
- Focus on the pain and visualise that it is dissipating with each of your exhales.
Do not expect immediate results although that does happen from time to time. If it does not work out right away for you, do not be discouraged. This is the most holistic and comprehensive way of treating your back pain as well as having a permanently healthy back that you could have taken. Show yourself the same compassion that you would to someone else who suffered from pain. You can add a few more Yoga poses to your routine such as the Child’s pose. Consult a good Yoga trainer for this.
Moreover, you can add a few safe modifications to this exercise and make the practice your own. Although the mudra has a good track record of treating this pain, you can use the meditation and mental reaffirmations for treatment of your back pain too. Mudras are an important part of Yoga and no Yogic practice is deemed complete with one or the more of these. The various hand gestures described are linked to different types of energies prevailing in your body and the cosmos.
Image source: Getty