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Yoga and How to Handle Back Pain

Yoga is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and is known for its ability to promote relaxation, flexibility, and strength. However, one lesser-known benefit of yoga is its ability to manage pain. Whether you are dealing with chronic pain or acute pain from an injury, and especially if it is pain in your neck, your back, or other chronic pain, incorporating yoga into your pain management routine can be a helpful way to find relief. At Hatha we suggest working with a teacher in a class, or privately so your specific needs are addressed, but here are tips on how to use yoga for pain management.

  1. Start with gentle poses: If you are new to yoga or dealing with pain, it is important to start with gentle poses that won’t exacerbate your pain. Some great options include Child’s Pose, Cat-Cow, and Downward Facing Dog. These poses can help to stretch out tightened muscles and relieve tension without putting too much strain on your body.
  2. Focus on your breath: The breath is an essential part of yoga, and it can be a powerful tool for managing pain. By focusing on your breath and taking deep, slow breaths, you can help to calm your nervous system and reduce feelings of pain and subsequent anxiety. Try to breathe deeply and evenly as you move through your yoga practice.
  3. Incorporate mindfulness: Mindfulness is another powerful tool for managing pain. By focusing on the present moment and cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts and feelings, you can learn to observe your pain without becoming overwhelmed by it. Try to incorporate mindfulness into your yoga practice by paying attention to the sensations in your body and noticing any thoughts or emotions that arise.
  4. Experiment with different styles: There are many different styles of yoga, and we offer several at Hatha Yoga and Fitness. and each one has its own benefits and challenges. Depending on your type of pain, you may find that certain styles of yoga are more effective than others. For example, Candlelight Yoga can be mindful and restorative as well as helpful for those dealing with chronic pain, while Power Yoga may be more appropriate for those recovering from an injury.
  5. Do challenge yourself appropriately, but do not push yourself too hard: While it is important to challenge yourself in yoga, it is also important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. If a pose or movement is causing you pain, back off and try something else. Remember, yoga is about finding balance and harmony in your body, not pushing yourself to the limit.

In conclusion, yoga can be a powerful tool for managing pain. By starting with gentle poses, focusing on your breath, incorporating mindfulness, experimenting with different styles, and not pushing yourself too hard, you can learn to use yoga as a way to find relief and promote healing. If you are dealing with chronic pain or an injury, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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