Nowadays, yoga for back pain is a popular method as a complementary therapy for back problems treatments. Many people in the West used to think of yoga as an exotic practice from the orient. Today, however, it is widely accepted and many enjoy its benefits.
The vision of yoga as something alien and eastern dates from its introduction into the west toward the end of the 19th century. But now, a century later, it has gained wide acceptance and is recognized for its value to mind and body.
Yoga for Back Pain History
The word yoga means yoke or union in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. The aim of yoga is to unite mind, body and spirit.
Yoga is not just an exotic keep fit technique, although many people do initially take it up for its physical benefits. It is a complete philosophy that aims to bring the individual into harmony with the universe. In this respect, yoga is less a therapy than a way of life.
No one really knows how old yoga is but archaeological evidence suggests it probably originated in India some 5,000 years ago. Although yoga can lead to religious experience, it is not a religion in itself. Its method has been incorporated into Hinduism but they have also found their way into Buddhism and, to a lesser extent, into some mystical forms of Islam and Christianity.
The literature of yoga is contained in a collection of texts, some of which are extremely ancient. The earliest written references of yoga appear in the Vedas, the oldest existing sacred Hindu literature daring from around 1550 BC.
Yoga for back pain is one of the most scientifically studied of the complementary therapies. Research shows that it can be beneficial for a vast range of medical problems, including back and neck pain.
The various posture exercises, the asanas, are the best known aspect of yoga but they are just one of eight stages, or limbs, of physical and mental training designed to achieve union.
The asanas, in conjunction with breathing control exercises, known as pranayama, are believed to unify and balance the muscular and skeletal systems before acting on a deeper level to harmonize the functioning of all the body’s internal organs.
Gradually they help to link mind, body and spirit and this eventually leads to the union of the individual consciousness with the universal truth or God, a stage practitioner refer to as enlightenment.
Spiritual or physical?
Yoga for back pain has helped many people in the West overcome all kinds of problems and to live fuller, more contended lives. For some it has also provided a gateway to religious or spiritual experiences. If the spiritual goals of yoga do not immediately appeal to you and you are simply looking for a way to ease your back pain, regular practice of the asanas and pranayama can still help you.
This is because the asanas work progressively to exercise and stretch every muscle in the body, including those not normally reached by traditional Western forms of keep fit. If you perform yoga regularly, the muscles are thought to become more flexible and general suppleness increases. Underlying patterns of tension bones of the spine and the rest of the skeleton are gently realigned to their natural positions.
A Cleansing Process
On a deeper level, the twisting, stretching, bending and then holding of postures involved in the asanas are believed to massage the body’s internal organs, rinsing them in fresh, oxygen carrying blood and draining them of old, oxygen depleted blood.
The efficiency of blood circulation and of the respiratory and digestive systems is all improved. Meanwhile, the pranayama, or breathing control exercises, help to unify mind and body and to control and focus the life force. The overall effect if improved health and energy levels, and a calmer clearer mind.
Types of Yoga for Back Pain
The various types of yoga emphasize different approaches but all work toward the same goal. Many yoga postures look complicated at first, but with practice they can become part of your everyday routine. With its emphasis on breathing, relaxation and body awareness, yoga can be an encellent therapy for back problems. The most popular forms are:
- Hatha yoga emphasizes asanas and pranayama
- Raja yoga emphasizes meditation
- Ashtanga yoga uses meditation, asanas and pranayama
- Kundalini yoga seeks awaken latent, consciousness changing energy that lies like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine
- Tantra yoga employs asanas, pranayama, meditation, and in some forms, ritualized sexual intercourse.
As a conclusion, yoga for back pain is an excellent alternatice therapy to cure back problems.