If long working hours involving a lot of sitting time, incorrect posture and less exposure to sunlight sound similar to you, we’re sure you’ve at some point experienced back pain. Not just at work but traveling also takes a toll on your back muscles. You’ll be surprised to know that back injuries, simple back stiffness and back pain are quite prevalent even among the youth today. The only remedy here is to strengthen the back muscles!
Why Do You Need a Strong Back?
The back muscles are the backbone of the body. They help you maintain correct posture, improve balance and avoid injuries. If your back muscles aren’t strong enough, it can cause stiffness, minor aches and pains which can become problematic in the future, cramps, etc.
The most basic thing you can do to strengthen your back is to avoid long sitting hours, improve your calcium and Vitamin D intake. Improving flexibility is also crucial to prevent stiffness. When it comes to building flexibility and strength, nothing can beat yoga! Let’s look at a few asanas which are very effective in easing your back pain problems.
Asanas to Strengthen the Back
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose):
Tadasana is a basic asana for various standing yoga poses! It is excellent for improving posture, maintaining the curvature of your back and strengthening the hips and thigh muscles.
- Stand straight and keep a small gap between your feet
- Keep your hands straight on the sides, stretching the wrist and fingers
- Elongate and stretch your back, widen your collar bone and straighten your shoulder blade, relaxing them down the back
- Stand on your toes while stretching the knees, thighs and hip muscles without tightening the belly muscles.
- Stay in this pose for 20-30 seconds breathing easily.
2. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose):
Widely known as the warrior pose, Virabhadrasana strengthens the knees, thigh muscles, opens the hips and chest as well as stretches the back and leg muscles.
- Stand in Tadasana pose and keep your feet around 4 feet apart
- Turn your left foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees
- Bring both the hands above the head, join your palms and keep your eyes up at the thumbs
- Rotate your torso to the left, bend the knees while keeping them above the ankle (avoid bending more than that). Exhale.
- Stand in this posture for around 30 seconds.
- Straighten the knee while you inhale and bring your hand down
- Exhale and come back to the Tadasana pose.
3. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose):
As the name suggests, it’s a triangle posture which stretches the spine, opens up the chest and shoulder as well as reduces tension on the hip and thigh muscles. It helps in improving physical and mental equilibrium.
- Stand in Tadasana pose and separate the feet wide apart, around four feet from each other
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees. Now align the center of your right heel with the center of your arch of the left foot
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend your body to the right, downward from the hips, keeping the waist straight, allowing your left hand to come up in the air while your right hand comes down towards the floor. Keep both arms in a straight line
- Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the waist. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the top of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left palm.
- Ascertain that your body is bent sideways and not backward or forward. Pelvis and chest are wide open.
- Stretch maximum and be steady. Keep taking in long, deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with the body and the breath.
- As you inhale, come up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
4. Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes Pose):
One of the best asanas to improve spinal health. It provides excellent compression and extension to the nerves and muscles supporting the back, increases elasticity of the spine, tones the spinal nerves and reduces the stiffness in the spinal muscles.
- Sit on the floor with legs straight in front of you. Keep the back erect
- Bend the left leg and place the heel of the left foot beside the right hip (optionally, you can keep the left leg straight)
- Take the right leg over the left knee
- Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you.
- Twist the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder.
- Keep the spine erect.
- Hold and continue with gentle long breaths in and out
- Breathing out, release the right hand first (the hand behind you), release the waist, then the chest
- Release the neck and repeat on the other side
- Breathing out, come back to the front and relax
5. Salabhasana (Locust Pose or Grasshopper Pose)
Salabhasana prepares beginners for a deeper backbend, strengthening the muscles of the entire torso from the nape of the neck, spine, chest, and legs to the back of the heels. It is a part of Hatha Yoga which stimulates the functioning of abdominal organs and relieves stress.
- Lie on your belly with your arms along the torso, palms up, forehead resting on the floor (use a yoga mat)
- Turn your big toes towards each other inwardly rotating your thighs and firm your buttocks
- Exhale and lift your head, upper torso, arms and legs away from the floor. You will be resting your entire weight on your lower ribs, belly and front pelvis
- Raise your arms parallel to the floor and stretch back actively through your fingertips. Press your scapula firmly into your back
- Keep the base of the skull lifted and back of the neck nicely long
- Stay in this asana for 15-30 seconds then release slowly with exhalation.
Practice these asanas regularly to strengthen the back but before you begin, do Consult your Doctor, Physiotherapist or Coach. For more sessions on yoga and to strengthen the back, check out LIVE sessions on GOQii Play.