What does Yoga for your Back?The postures performed in Yoga strengthen muscles in back and abdomen, which are both essential for the spine’s muscular network. Stretching fosters relaxation and flexibility in muscles and joints, namely in hamstrings and hips to decrease the tensions around the lower back. Consistent practice will teach the body to keep an improved posture with neck, spine and hips in proper alignment and you will get aware how to help the natural curvature of your spine and so avoid lower back pain. Breathing exercises and conscious relaxation release both, body and mind, and so your back’s stress.
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Move for your BackAs contradictory as it might seem: exercise is one of the most effective ways to relax your back. In case of severe back pain you might be prescribed one or two days of rest, but then it’s important to get up and slowly start moving again. Very beneficial to try out are walking, swimming, or yoga. Or go for a dancing night – as long as you keep your spine straight!
Move and have funIf we get aware of our bad habits (I’m sitting here writing for over 2 hours now, ok, will go for a short walk!), a big step is done and we can try to transform them and in addition introduce some good habits. These new moves in life should be easy to access and procure a sensation of joy, fun, uplifting, to be fitted out for a long-term perspective. For most people willpower alone will not do it, on the long run. And to relieve your backpain and/or prevent it, you need a routine over years.
Depending on your environment a daily walk can procure pleasure and also can be varied in intensity, following your current feelings and mood. Swimming is an excellent workout for the whole body, increases the heart rate, tones muscles, builds strength and endurance, as long as there is a pool or ocean close to your home or working place. It must be easy to go there to avoid excuses why not to go.
Regular Yoga ClassesYou can join a regular yoga class, choose it close to your home or working place, to avoid procrastination, and plan to go there at least three times a week to go sure the class sees you at least twice. The classes usually last 1.5 hours, including warm up and relaxation at the end. Plan your day in a way that you don’t need to eat during the 2 hours preceding the class. The first time you will just need comfortable cloths, no shoes, and most schools have mats to borrow if you don’t have one.
There are dozens of different yoga styles (a summary will follow in a coming blog post, watch out!) and each can be intended to beginners – intermediates – advanced, the teacher will let you know about the level. Also, inform your teacher before the first sessions about any physical restrictions you might have. The classes can resemble to anything between ‘gentle stretching’ and ‘power work-out’, be combined with breathing exercises, relaxation, visualisation, meditation or chanting of mantra. That’s why you should try out a few various schools and teachers before you stick to the place and person you like and adopt. The geographical situation and scheduling being important as well, your choice options get limited. That’s where Online Yoga Classes and Yoga Retreats come on stage.
Online Yoga ClassesThere are tons of online yoga classes out there in the world wide web, the most common being videos on Youtube, tagged by level and duration and here you go for your private yoga class at home! The most famous lady is Adriene, you’ll find her easily and have instant free access to her videos on Youtube. With a membership for about 10$ a month you enter into her universe on her website and get organised sequences of yoga videos. That’s how most online yoga courses work: not-organised videos accessible for free and organised videos with membership fee. There are many other platforms like Yoga International for around 14EUR a month or Do You Yoga, free and with weekly reminders.
The most effective way of keeping your body flexible and healthy is practicing slowly but steadily.
A different genre of e-classes is arising, which are a combination of pre-registered videos and live sessions 1:1 or in a group. The live sessions by Skype or Zoom or similar are particularly adapted if you are new to yoga or re-discover yoga and its postures, as the teacher can see you and corrects your alignment with verbal instructions. The appointments with your teacher give you the motivation to go on and the videos delivered in parallel give you the freedom to practice at your own pace and schedule.Paths to Yoga offers these individualised e-classes, with the coming 6-weeks program starting on 29th October 2019. Other examples are Ompractice works with membership 25$/month for 25 minutes classes; Sweet Escape Yoga gives 45 minutes private sessions over 4 weeks for 200$; Karen Kurzmeyer from Luzern, Switzerland, with private classes adapted to your needs or Hello Yoga 9$/25 minutes.
Yoga RetreatsThe ultimate gift you can make to your body and mind is an organised Yoga Retreat. The Retreat takes you on a journey over a given period of time, away from your normal activities and duties, in a calm and pleasant environment, to bring your nearer to yourself through yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation, and in some cases also chanting of mantras, study of old scripts and yogis’ lifestyle, healthy eating and so on. Apart of the set ‘program’ comes an involvement with people, which you usually don’t know in advance. Everyone arrives with its own stress level, but after a while of common practice and being, the energy levels are flattened and feelings of relaxation, relief, appeasement, harmony, trust, love, bliss can arise.
Retreats can last from 2 days to a month, typically around 6 to 8 days, and can be theme-oriented, combined with another activity, e.g. Yoga & Surf, Yoga & Hiking, Yoga & Ayurveda, Yoga & Detox, Yoga & Horse Riding and so on. Again, there are different organisational styles. I will skip the online Retreats, which consist of videos with yoga and meditation delivered to your device over a given number of days, at your own schedule or simultaneously online with people all over the world. It won’t really take you away from your normal living environment, unless you move to a different place during this online ‘retreat’, and you have only limited interaction with like-minded people, renewal of your thinking modes and energies will be limited. Book Yoga Retreats is the major platform, however be selective when you choose, there are many hotels which advertise a ‘retreat’ with arrival dates all year round, meaning they will surely arrange accommodation, food and a yoga teacher for you, maybe even add a massage and spa-program, but there’s little chance to find arising of new energies, which you find when you share the experience with like-minded people and your main teacher is with you most of the time. I would recommend you to go for a ‘real’ Yoga Retreat with dates fixed in advance and a given number of participants in a set environment. Facebook groups can be helpful to find carefully organised retreats, like Yoga Retreats.