In Yoga Therapy, we focus on the strength and flexibility of the spine. The spine is part of the central nervous system that sends messages to the brain that control the body’s functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as lower back pain. The health of your spine is key to the health of your whole body.
Moving the spine in a systematic way through 5 movements mobilizes all the vertebrae, releasing tension in the spine and reducing lower back pain. It doesn’t matter what yoga pose you do, whether standing, sitting, or lying down. Whatever is best for you will work to reduce stress and tension so you can heal.
Let’s go through the basic motions! Here’s how to do all the 5 Chair Yoga Poses to Combat Lower Back Pain.
Lengthen the spine.
Create more space between the vertebrae. This pose flattens the natural curves of the spine somewhat, straitening it. Also warms up the shoulders.
Sit on the very edge of your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor under your knees. Starting with your arms beside you, sweep them forward and up so they point towards the ceiling.
Find a position in which you feel at ease and your arms are pointing upwards, perhaps widen them into a V or a U shape if your shoulders are tight and are bunching up around your neck.
Once you have found ease in the arm movement, raise and lower them several times to warm up and lengthen your spine.
Forward bend- stretches the lower back of the body
Choose a chair with a flat seat and no arms. Sit on the very edge with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor under your knees.
Hinge forward from the hips and flow forward supporting yourself with your hands on your knees, or sliding your hands down your legs. Relax your neck.
Forward bends are not recommended if you have vertebral disc damage or are experiencing bulging discs.
Choose a chair with a flat seat and no arms. Sit on the very edge of your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor under your knees.
Raise your arms to shoulder height or less, twist to one side, and lower your arms, one to your knee, and the other to the chair seat. Raise your arms again and return to the center. Lower your arms. Repeat on the other side. Do several sets. Always follow with a Forward bend to remove any negative effects.
Backbend- stretches the front of the body
Sit on the very edge of your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor under your knees.
Lift your chest, chin, and face into a gentle arch back as you sweep your arms forward and up to a comfortable position for you. Lower your arms and return to the starting position. Repeat several times. Always follow with Forwarding bend to release any negative effects.
Lateral Stretch- stretches out the sides
Sit on the very edge of your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor under your knees. Sweep one arm out to the side and up so it points towards the ceiling in a comfortable position. Gently lengthen out from the tips of the fingers in a side arch- try to keep the opposite side long too, so it doesn’t fold from the waist, but lengthens the whole side in an even curve. Always follow with Forwarding bend to release any negative effects!
Chairs offer great stability to reduce lower back pain effectively, it’s also quite safe!
I recommend my students start with a personal lesson so they get the most out of their yoga lessons. Each of us is so unique in our bodies and minds, if you have any mobility issues, a one on one can help you work with your body to get the best results.