WHY YOGA COULD KEEP YOUR NIGGLES AT BAY…

It doesn’t matter whether you have had a chronic backache for decades or whether you have recently suffered an acute back injury, yoga can play a vital role in getting you back to full fitness. Yoga was once the realm of dreadlocked hippies, chanting oms while being surrounded by sweet-smelling incense sticks.

Nowadays, yoga is seen as a viable treatment for all sorts of aches, pains and physical ailments. Alongside its mental health benefits, doctors are choosing to prescribe yoga rather than painkillers to help people recover from injuries and manage pain. Take a look at how yoga could keep your niggles at bay.

Mental Health


Our mental health can have a massive impact on our physical well being. Feeling anxious and stressed can lead to physical tension which can result in more injuries and pain. This can mean a vicious cycle ensues as you are keen to recover quickly from an injury, but you are anxious about it at the same time. By dipping your toes in the yoga water, you can enjoy a new exercise that will endeavour to improve your mental well being, making you feel less worried and stressed. With yoga, you will learn all sorts of breathing exercises alongside physical postures. This can ease tension within your body and mind, resulting in fewer niggles and aches. This can be a great form of pain management rather than reaching for the pills.

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Muscle Tone


If you have suffered an acute injury at the gym, you might be more into spin classes and HIIT workouts than the slower pace of yoga. However, yoga can be used within an exercise plan to help you recover more swiftly from injury. Coupled with natural supplements, yoga can be part of an anti-inflammatory attack on your injury. Supplements like CBD can boost your immune response. So, what is CBD good for? Coupled with yoga, it can increase the anti-inflammatory response in your body, relieving your pain and enhancing muscle recovery. Yoga, strengthening your core and improving muscle tone, will enable your body to remain flexible and active without causing further damage to any injuries.

Chronic Pain

If you are suffering from a chronic niggle that has no definitive diagnosis, you can feel depressed thinking that you have to live with this ache forever. Yoga can help treat chronic injuries by not getting rid of them altogether, but by helping you manage the pain more effectively. Arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers have credited yoga with helping them to become more active and live a more fulfilling life as their pain is reduced. This has a knock-on effect on their mood, meaning they are more optimistic and positive about their future. Improving flexibility, strengthening muscle groups and maintaining a stable mood are key facets of yoga that can keep your niggles at bay.

Being a yoga buff will require a commitment to taking classes. However, by following a beginners’ yoga plan, you can enjoy a more pain-free existence.

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SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND YOGA FOR INSOMNIA, BOOK REVIEW…

Yoga for Insomnia, 7 Steps to a better Sleep with Yoga and Meditation is a book written by Kayla Korin, a Yoga therapist and writer who has been committed to helping people with chronic health conditions to feel better with Yoga. Kayla sent me this book to read and write a review on it.

I enjoyed Kayla’s book very much. She writes in great details about feeling tired from lack of sleep as she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when she was young. She tried everything in the book to help her sleep and then while working at an environmental health clinic, the Doctor she was working with suggested she should try a mindfulness course. The course included mindfulness and yoga and after a few months Kayla was able to sleep much better.

Even with a busy lifestyle she found yoga helped her to sleep well and decided to write this book in a step by step format so that what Kayla learnt from studying yoga, meditation and psychology could help others along the way.

There is a full chapter in all you need to know about sleep, good sleep, bad sleep, REM sleep and your heart rate. “The goal of yoga or meditation” she says, “isn’t to stay relaxed all the time, but to be able to switch between the systems if needed.”

Yoga and how it works is described well and how it can work to help you sleep. Creating a healthy sleep environment is discussed well as Kayla has travelled far and wide and understands how jet lag affects your sleep and writes about mental relaxation and darkness in your bedroom. Plus diet and creating a routine which is essential for a good nights sleep.

Kayla talks about meditation for better sleep. Mindfulness is explained very well and the goal setting is very achievable. She writes further on breathing techniques for a better sleep which is something my local pain team want to teach me.

There is a great chapter on yoga positions shown in detail with pictures to help you to try different positions to help you sleep.They are simple to do as I could manage a number of them but do check with your Doctor first before you try them out.

The final part of the book is all about building a lifestyle for a better sleep which is explained fully. I really liked this book and have it next to my bed to refer to if I’m struggling with my sleep. The book is available from Amazon.

YOGA POSES AND BOOKS TO HELP RELIEVE BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

Yoga is very effective for relieving back pain, and thousands of people have used it to strengthen their muscles and alleviate the pain in their backs. It’s great for stress relief, improves your posture, increases your flexibility and makes you aware of the limitations of your own body.

It’s VERY important that you speak to your doctor first before doing any form of yoga. In most cases of acute back pain, yoga will be a wonderful way to relieve the pain. However, if you’re suffering from osteoporosis related back pain, scoliosis, etc. which are more serious conditions, you must get your doctor’s approval FIRST. I know I keep stressing this but it is essential that you should never try any type of Yoga or other exercise without the all clear from your GP as you may do more harm than good, and that’s the last thing you want to do.

Many people may not wish to join a yoga class because it can be intimidating, or even embarrassing if your back hurts and you can’t execute the moves without moaning and groaning. This is perfectly understandable.

The good news is that you can do yoga in the privacy of your own home. All you need is a yoga mat, suitable clothing, and the right poses. In this article, I have given a few common poses in yoga that will really help to soothe the pain in your back while strengthening your muscles, according to lots of websites.

Cat/cow
This is a very easy move that will stretch your torso and back while giving your spine a gentle massage. All you need to do is get on your hands and knees like you’re about to crawl. Then arch your back upwards like a cat would, hold it for a secondor two… then lower the back down till it’s concave. Do this about 5 to 6 times.

Downward facing dog
No yoga routine would be complete without this move. It’ll strengthen your lower back, hamstrings and core. Once again, get in a crawl position with a table top back. Now lift your knees off the ground, and raise your hips up so that your body forms an upside-down V. Hold this position for about 5 breaths, and return to starting position.

Child’s pose
An excellent move to de-stress your lower back. Again, start from crawl position and slowly sit backwards so that your buttocks are on your heels. Keep your upper body straight. Now lean forward till your forehead is almost touching the floor, and stretch out both arms as far forward as you can. Hold the position for about 7 to 10 breaths.

Seated spinal twist
Another excellent pose for really stretching out the tight muscles in your back. This move is highly effective, and in many cases will bring immediate relief to a tight back.
Start in a seated position. Bring your left foot and place it on the outside of your right knee. Now bend your right arm and place your elbow on the outside of your left knee. The right elbow acts as a stabilizer to keep your body from shifting. Now, turn the trunk of your body to the left and try to look over your left shoulder. This will stretch the side of your back. Hold for about 3 to 4 breaths, then switch legs and repeat the move on the other side.

These 4 yoga poses are easy to do, don’t require much space and you can do them safely in the comfort of your own home. Most importantly, they are highly effective. There are many other yoga poses that can help relieve your back pain.
Do your research and compile a list… and you can do them often. Once you start, you’ll never look back. Three great books on Yoga which are all under £5 or free on Kindle are –

The Yoga Bible for Beginners – it has 30 essential illustrated yoga poses for better health, stress relief and weight loss by Charice Kiernan.

We live in a fast-paced world in which our senses are constantly stimulated. Yet, this progress comes at a cost. We are constantly tempted to keep up with Joneses, and many people have lost the connection between their mind and body.

Yoga can help restore this balance. For example, one study showed that yoga – even when practised for the very first time! – can normalize levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In this book, you will be taken by the hand so you can develop your own yoga practice and take back control of your health and happiness. £2.99 on Amazon Kindle

Ten Minutes Yoga for Stress Release Focus & Renewal – this is by Lisa Shea and us the short version of her full hour-long routine. It can be used when you travel, when your busy, and pretty much any other time that you need to keep your time quick. Free on Amazon Kindle

Study after study finds that yoga helps with lower back pain, depression, energy levels, balance, post-traumatic stress, focus, sleep, and much more. Whether you need to reset after a busy day or wish to have more joy in your daily life, they say yoga can help. It nurtures your body and embraces your soul

It has been written to help those who are in need of support find a step toward a more contented life. This book helps you understand the personal sequence of poses, to create an atmosphere of stress relief and forgiveness.

Finally, the third book is Yoga: 40 Exerecises for Beginners by Sophie Godard. Flexibility, balance, relaxation … These exercises for beginners enable you to practice this multifaceted discipline at home. They will help to relieve stress, strengthen your muscles and your mind so that you can focus on yourself and free yourself from tension. £3.40 on Amazon Kindle

The NHS say this about yogaDozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga. 

While there’s scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. 

There’s some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.

But they suggest a class first – It’s better to start with a class to learn the poses and breathing techniques correctly. With a DVD, there will be nobody to correct your mistakes, which may lead to injury over time. 

With some experience of being in a class, a DVD can then be helpful for keeping up practice.

They have the following links to Yoga sites –

The main UK yoga associations are:

These associations all list teachers and classes near you on their websites. You can also search for a local class or teacher using our Fitness directory.

WHY YOGA IS GREAT FOR BACK PAIN…

Yoga is one of the best exercises that most back pain sufferers ill benefit from, if they engage in it. There are several benefits that are accrued when you do yoga regularly.

 

Stress relief

For starters, it’s a fantastic form of stress relief. The slow controlled movements combined with the breathing techniques will calm your mind and body. Most health problems get better when you’re less stressed, and your back pain is no different.

 Increases strength and flexibility

Yoga will also strengthen your core and back muscles through the different poses. While it may seem gentle when compared to more ‘hardcore’ forms of training such as CrossFit or resistance training, yoga will still help to isolate and tone the specific muscles that require strengthening.

The truth of the matter is that certain yoga poses are extremely demanding, and initially, most people (including the strong ones) will face difficulty holding certain poses. Yoga is not completely relaxing. It can be challenging, and if you suffer from back pain, these poses will help to strengthen your core, abs and back muscles.

There is also an element of stretching in yoga. You may be surprised to know that even tight hamstrings and hip flexors can worsen your back pain. The poses in yoga will help to stretch many major muscle groups in your body.

As we age, our body gets less limber and most adults have difficulty touching their toes. Yoga will decrease stress on the lower back by easing your tight muscles. This is one of the best ways to reduce back pain.

 

Improves blood circulation

When your muscles and joints are stretched, blood circulation to these areas will improve too. When nutrient-rich blood flows easily through your body, the affected area will get good blood flowing through the muscles and joints, and this will aid in healing.

The increased range of motion and mobility that comes about from regular yoga practice will mean that you move more easily, and your back will be less stressed when engaged in the same activities.

Increases awareness of your body

Yoga increases your awareness of your body. You’ll notice improved balance, better coordination, and you’ll be aware of the limitations of your own body. Many people suffering from back pain, often engage in activities that may suddenly trigger the pain and leave them groaning in pain.

When you practice yoga often, you’ll know just how much you can move without aggravating your condition. You’ll understand that the remote control for the TV that’s barely out of reach will require you to stand up and get it, rather than stretch to the side and struggle to reach it with your fingertips only to suddenly trigger spasms of pain in your back.

 

Improves posture

Yoga will also improve your posture. One of the keys to reducing back pain is to improve your posture. Yoga will really benefit you in this area. It’ll also align your body and correct and imbalances within.

It’s very common for people to have muscular imbalances because we usually rely on the dominant side to do all the work. Yoga with all its poses will strengthen both sides of the body, so that one side is not compensating for the other.

Speak to your doctor first and if he/she gives you the go ahead, you should join a yoga class with a qualified instructor. Inform the instructor about your condition and they’ll tailor routines that will suit you best. Do get started today, and you’ll reap the rewards in no time at all.

 

12 YOGA POSES TO HELP ALLEVIATE BACK PAIN…

Yoga is an amazing way to help ease back pain but without supervision could cause harm so please do not try any of the above poses unless you have done yoga before. The NHS website has a guide to yoga and says that ‘Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga and while there’s scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance.’

There is also some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress but they say that most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough (boo hoo) to count towards your 150 minutes of moderate activity, as set out by government guidelines.