By Bhavan Kumar
Like many other conditions we learn about in Yoga teacher training, pain in the tailbone can be both helped and aggravated by exercise. Although some asanas present problems, others alleviate pain and relieve inflammation. The key to success is knowing your own body and finding a good yoga instructor.
Pain in the coccyx, or tailbone, is a common condition that affects five times as many women as men. Although the disorder stems from a variety of causes ranging from falls to pregnancy, an unstable coccyx is frequently the culprit. Discomfort varies from mild to acute and is usually aggravated by sitting.
Located in the root chakra at the tip of the spine, the tailbone is closely related to the sacroiliac, or S-I, joint. Misalignment of the spine in this area can lead to emotional concerns related to the first chakra and physical pain caused by instability and stress. Difficult to diagnose and to treat, the condition can become chronic if not properly managed.
In “Yoga Journal,” author and pioneering Restorative Yoga instructor Judith Lasater recommends several practices to eliminate stress on the S-I joint and reduce tailbone pain. Among these are the following:
• Strengthen the S-I joint and backbone with standing poses and simple backbends.
• Be aware of forward bends and other poses that stress or unlock the S-I joint.
• Don’t sit cross-legged.
• Evenly distribute weight between both legs.
• Keep feet hip-width apart in poses like Tree Pose or Warrior I.
• When doing twists, move the sacrum and pelvis together.
• Avoid poses that stretch the piriformis muscle and exercise caution with standing twists.
• Line front heel with the back heel instead of the arch when doing poses like Warrior II or Triangle.
The following Yoga postures may help to relieve discomfort and restore mobility to the sacroiliac joint.
• Root Lock
• Child’s Pose
• Cow Pose
• Cat Pose
• Cobra Pose
• Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
• Bridge Pose
• Spinal Twist (lying on floor with knees bent)
Any asana that aggravates or worsens pain should be avoided or practiced with modifications and supervision. Some poses can be approached gradually with the help of a well-trained Yoga instructor; others may need to be avoided altogether. Moderation is the key.
Side Notes for Yoga Teachers
Understanding basic body mechanics is something we should have learned in our foundational Yoga teacher training. If the skeletal body was not covered. we must enhance our knowledge through continuing education that is specifically designed for a Yoga instructor.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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