“Current estimates rate back problems as the second most common reason for visiting MDs and the leading cause of disability of people under age 45. The most common malady is referred to as low back strain, a catch-all phrase that includes minor muscle, ligament, and joint problems in the lumbar spine and surrounding tissues. ”18 – Timothy McCall, MD, Yoga as Medicine © 2007, p. 188
– I hear many students complaining about lower back pain at the beginning of their yoga practice.
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Viewing this from a physical aspect, the weakness of the core muscles can’t sufficiently support the spine. To enjoy a healthy back, we must strengthen our deep core muscles. The Asanas greatly help in achieving this strength, as there are several practices which focus mainly on building a strong core. When we’re practicing Asanas, it is very important to focus on our core support and hold positions only until we don’t feel our lower backs starting to compress. We may start using our lower backs or groins to compensate for weak core muscles. This will leave us with even more pain. With time and patience, we can build a strong foundation. From an emotional aspect, the spine gives us support. If we experience pain in the lower back area, it is generally related to fear for our own survival. If we experience pain in the middle back area, it is generally related to fear of material loss. Any pain in the upper back area is a sign of a lack of emotional support. We may want to reflect on which part of the spine we feel discomfort in. When we notice any pain in a certain region, it is a good idea to contemplate and ask questions of our true self. For example, if we experience upper back pain, perhaps your significant other isn’t giving us enough love. The case may be that we don’t give enough love to ourselves or we don’t know how to give. The Asana will help open habits and patterns stored in this region.