Yoga for Back Pain – Prasarita Padottanasana – (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) – Part 7 of 8
Stand tall, with the feet parallel, 4 to 4 ½ feet apart. The lower back should be neither flattened nor overarch. Rotating the pelvis over the hip joints, so the alignment of the spine doesn’t change, place your hands on the floor. If your hamstrings are tight, you may have to place your hands on a chair or two blocks to avoid hinging the lower back
When it comes to back pain prevention, a consistent plan of regular stretching is your best bet. Yet as many well-intentioned people learn the hard way, the wrong kind of exercise can create or exacerbate pain, particularly if you have tight hamstrings and a flattened curve in the lower back. Since back aches often result from a tug-of-war between your abs and hamstrings you can end up making matters worse if you target these areas carelessly.
Learning to stretch with good alignment and movement patterns now will help protect the back from injury in the future. Indeed, a well-constructed yoga routine can be an important first step in learning how to stretch safely. Poses like Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) give the spine an opportunity to lengthen horizontally while the hamstrings and inner thigh muscles lengthen vertically. Utthita Hasta Padangusthanasana (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) is another gentle option. This posture stretches the hamstrings while promoting a normal positioning of the lower back and pelvis.
Before beginning any yoga back care program, however, take the 90-degree test. Lie on your back with one leg stretched out flat on the floor. Stretch the other leg up to the ceiling with a straight knee. If you are unable to bring your leg to vertical (perpendicular to the floor), your pelvis will be posteriorly tilted in a sitting forward bend, and it is possible that you could strain your back muscles or injure a disk if you reached for your toes. It’s best to avoid sitting forward bends for now and use other poses (like those mentioned above) that stretch the same areas more safely. (Information from Julie Gudmestad)
OTHER RECOMMENDED POSES
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose)
Savasana (Corpse Pose)