Chair Yoga to Prevent Back Pain – Easy Moves to Keep You Feeling Strong and Stretchy
You might be surprised to learn that chair yoga can be an effective way for just about anybody to stay fit and strong. It’s true! While it can be a terrific form of exercise for those who who are just starting out or need a little extra assistance with their yoga practice, we can also use a chair to increase strength (see my Core Strength routine for proof!) and flexibility. We can even use chair yoga to prevent back pain.
How is this done, you ask? Easy peasy! By using the assistance of a chair, we can perform a simple sequence of moves that give us a good stretch and allow movement in all directions in our spine.
What “Back Pain” is … And what it’s not
We can experience pain or stiffness just about anywhere, so the term “back pain” is a bit vague. For the purposes of this post, back pain refers to minor discomfort we might feel in our lower back, thoracic spine, and neck. Diagnosing the cause of pain is beyond my scope as a yoga teacher, so this post and accompanying video are not intended to give you any medical advice per se. Instead, we’ll look at some easy poses and stretches we can do to alleviate minor issues. If you have a lot of pain, chronic pain, or specific questions regarding the health of your back, see your doctor. But if you want to practice getting a stretchy back, let’s do it now!
The key to it all: The forward fold
It’s possible to fold forward the “wrong” way in yoga, whether you’re standing, sitting on your mat, or seated in your chair. The most important thing to do is to be mindful of what your low back is doing. If you have low back issues, such as sciatica, rounding your lower back as you fold may exacerbate your problems. It’s important to keep you low back long as you fold. Many people try to fold too far, and end up rounding their low back. Stop! Give up trying to reach the floor or your feet. Opt to keep your back healthy instead. If you begin to feel your low back rounding as you fold, stop, come back out of the pose a little bit to re-lengthen your back, and hang out right there. You have found your happy place.
The rest of the chair yoga for back pain moves
If you’re feeling optimistic about trying these poses out, you’re in luck! There’s an accompanying YouTube video to go with this blog post! You can check it out below, but right now here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the poses in the video.
Shoulder “Scrunches” – Release tension in your neck and the tops of your shoulders.
Cat and Cow Pose – Add gentle movement to all areas of the spine, helping to lengthen and relieve tight and tense muscles.
Gentle Twists – Increase flexibility and blood flow along the spine.
Cobra Pose – Broaden across your collar bones and the front of your arms and shoulders. Opening these muscles helps with better breathing and improved circulation.
Arm and Spine Spiraling – Spiraling of the spine and joints is one of THE best things you can do for improved range of motion and relieving tension. And it feels so dang good!
Seated Pigeon Pose and Hamstring Stretches – gently stretching the larger muscles in the legs and inner/outer hips supports a strong back.
Ready to try your chair yoga to prevent back pain?
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