Yoga is based on rhythm and breathing rather than core strength, so it’s useful for relaxation and stress. There are lots of different types of Yoga available today but some good ones for pain are Bikram Yoga, Yin, Iyengar Yoga and Glow Yoga.
Bikram Yoga is a unique series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises, performed in a heated room to enhance your stretching. It covers a series of postures which have been scientifically designed to work every part of the body in the correct order. The heat facilitates stretching, prevents injury and promotes sweating, which aids detoxification.
Yin Yoga is a yoga for the joints that stretches the connective tissue. It is a very distinctive style of Chinese yoga, which some believe is the oldest form of Hatha yoga. Yang exercises work your heart and muscles and the exercises are floor-based. Lying down can immediately relax your body and unlike other Yogas, you hold your posture for up to ten minutes. It has been said to feel like ‘peeling off layers of tension’.
Iyengar Yoga is perfect for people who feel ‘stiff’. It’s the safest and most effective way to stretch your whole body and improve your flexibility. It’s characterised by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment with the use of ‘props’, such as cushions, benches, blocks and even sand bags.
There are more than 200 deep poses, which you work towards holding for up to two minutes, which make it great for lengthening your muscles. They say it is a perfect type of yoga, if you’ve got a muscular or joint injury. With so many different types of Yoga available, it gets a bit confusing as to which one to choose, but it’s really a case of try one, then try another.
Healthline have an article with the ten best yoga poses for back pain, but please don’t try these if you have never done yoga before, check with your GP then try a class with a fully qualified instructor.
The British Wheel of Yoga website has lots of information about Yoga and the 30th OM Yoga Show which takes place 18th/19th & 20th October.
My book of choice would be ‘Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda For Health and Fitness’, by A G Mohan.