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April 27, 2015
Many yogis suffer from back pain due to imbalances in the body created by contact sports. Yoga has many benefits, and one of them is to relieve pain, particularly in the back. Here are 5 easy asanas for you to practice at home when your back is crying for attention:
Cat Pose: Place yourself on your hands and knees, making sure your knees are hip width apart and your hands are directly beneath your shoulders (so your limbs are making 90 degree angles) with your eyes looking at the floor (tabletop position). As you exhale, round your back like an angry cat, making sure to keep your hands and knees in place. You can bring your head towards the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest. Inhale as you return to tabletop position.
Happy Puppy Pose: Starting again from tabletop, inhale as you arch your back and stick your tailbone up in the air, bringing up your head and looking forwards. Allow your belly to drop and your chest to shine forwards. Exhale as you return to tabletop. For a nice spine massage, take Happy Puppy pose as you inhale and go straight to Cat pose as you exhale. Do this as many times as you like, starting slow and speeding up with the breath.
Downward-Facing Dog: Start in tabletop but place your hands a little bit further out, spreading your fingers wide on the mat. As you exhale, lift your knees away from the floor, lifting your tailbone high to the sky. Keeping the knees bent, press into the hands and roll the shoulders into the back, keeping a straight back. Then slowly straighten the knees and encourage the heels toward the floor while maintaining the lift in the tailbone.
Sphinx Pose: Begin lying on your belly, tops of the feet on the floor. Place your elbows below your shoulders with your forearms parallel to eachother. Without clenching your buttocks, inhale and slowly push into your arms and lift your chest and head away from the ground, into a mild backbend. Hold this for about 10 breaths.
Child's Pose: In a kneeling position with big toes touching, open your knees and let your torso lie between them. Stretch your arms out in front of you and bring your buttocks towards your heels. This is a restorative pose and relieves stress, so feel free to hang out here as long as you like.
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