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Baby Get Back! Page 2
These Poses May Do Your Back Good

Here are some simple poses to try. Just about anyone can do these - they're easy and should make your back feel good. If they don't, then don't do them. And don't feel like you have to do all of them, either! Also, keep in mind that you need a balance - building back strength requires that you also pay some attention to your abdominals, too. And tight hamstrings also contribute to poor back health so focus on stretching the backs of your legs, too. There are many, many more postures, of course - this is just a sampling. For poses that are more specific to your own back, consult an in-person teacher.

(Article continued below.)

Spinal Roll
This is either a good way to start your day or a nice movement after you've done some other back poses - actually it feels good any time during the day when you want to give your back a break.

Wind-Releasing Posture (Pavana-muktasana)
This Asana isn't just for gas relief - it's also a gentle back relaxer. Another movement to use to start off the day or end a series of back poses. In fact, if you skip the part about raising your neck and shoulders and just hug your knees to your chest (or as close as you can without straining), you can do this in bed right after you wake up.

Seated Side Twist (Bharadvajasana)
Here's a simple move to add flexibility to your spine. Remember to follow the directions - form here is the key.

Cat-Cow Pose (Bidalasana)
This brings oxygen to your spine and stretches it out. It is important to synchronize the breathing to the movements.

Cobra Pose (Nagasana)
This one is easier than it looks, mainly because you don't have to do the full version to benefit from it! Keep your arms bent, your palms flat on the floor and lift your torso up just a little bit - once again, don't force. When you are done, just lay there and relax for a moment, turning your head to one side for a few moments, then to the other side. Allow your back to readjust.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandasana)
This is another pose which can grow with you - you don't need to hold it forever or arch your back to the extreme for your spine to benefit.

Plank Pose
This pose strengthens your abdominals, and this time around, it's harder than it looks! It's important to remember to keep your body in as straight a line as possible - if you can, you may want to check your form in a mirror the first few times you do it to make sure your back isn't arching or your butt isn't pointing in the air.

Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
Here's another pose for your abdominals and, of course, you don't have to do the full version. You can keep your legs bent so that your shins are parallel to the floor. You can hold onto your legs by catching your hands just under your knees. Just remember to keep your back straight and do the best you can with the rest. The more abdominal strength you have, the easier this pose becomes.

Staff Pose (Dandasana)
This foundation pose teaches you a lot about posture and keeping your back straight while sitting. Those who have tight hamstrings can sit on a folded blanket for help - in fact, unless you already have flexibility in your hamstrings, you will probably feel a stretch in the back of your legs from this posture alone.

Supine Big Toe Pose, or Leg Extension (Supta Padangusthasana)
If you cannot do this pose with the lying leg stretched out along the floor, just bend your knee up and keep your foot on the floor. Raise your other leg until you feel a gentle stretch - don't over do it, you will progress with time and practice. Remember to keep your shoulders on the floor and your hips even.

No matter what Asanas you choose to do, end your practice -- as always -- with the Corpse Pose (Shavasana). And if you do have a weak back, put a bolster or rolled up blanket under your knees, or keep them bent up in the air.

A DVD you'll want to check out is Yoga Journal's Yoga for Back Care.

Previous page >> Yoga's Gentle Approach to Back Health >> Page 1, 2

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