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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back to basics: Yoga for a stronger back

Back pain can result from poor posture, badly designed furniture, lack of exercise or even an injury.

Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back. It can help maintain good posture, improve circulation and heal injuries. Try these basic postures to relax your muscles and release the tension in your back. Remember that yoga is best practiced under the supervision of an experienced teacher.


 Here are a set of seven asanas that will strengthen your back and help straighten your spine. Before beginning ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothes made of natural material like cotton or linen, and that the room is well-ventilated. You should not be directly under a fan. Try to focus on the part/area you are strengthening or moving.

Advasan: Lie on your stomach with arms forward and heels joined. Focus your attention on your back and hold for seven counts.

Ardh Shalabh (left leg): Lie on your stomach. Extend the right arm forward and the left one backwards. Lift the left leg (as much as you comfortably can), hold for seven counts and bring it down.

Ardh Shalabh (right leg):Now, extend your left arm forward and the right one backwards. Lift the right leg and hold for seven counts before bringing it back down.

Bhujang: Lie on your stomach and place your palms on either side of your chest. Raise your upper body till the navel. Look up. Hold for seven counts and gently come down. (Repeat this entire set seven times.) Caution: People with heart conditions and high blood pressure must not strain while performing these asans. It is recommended that all asans be learnt and practised under the strict supervision of an expert. For more information, you can visit the Dhyan foundation website (

Jyeshtika: Lie on your stomach and join the heels. Interlock your fingers behind your neck. Elbows should remain on the ground. Hold for seven counts.

Makar: Lie on your stomach with heels adjoined. Raise your body and support the chin/face with your palms. Elbows remain on the ground. Those with severe back problems can keep their elbows apart and as the back becomes better slowly bring them closer so that they ultimately touch each other.

Sarp asan: Lie on your stomach, with heels joined. Interlock your fingers behind your back. With your head parallel to the ground, raise your upper body. Pull your shoulders inwards. Hold for seven counts and lie back down.

Yaan: Lie on your stomach and extend your arms forward. Now keeping your head parallel to the ground raise your upper body and your legs from the thigh. Hold for seven counts and lower down.

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