Yesterday I was in a rush to finish vacuuming the livingroom before it was time to meet my six-year-old at his bus stop. As I was putting furniture back in place I awkwardly hoisted a wooden rocking chair and strained a muscle in my mid-back. It was a moment of inattention that I’m still paying for a day later, and I expect I’ll spend the weekend with this little reminder of why we need to treat our backs with care.
Most people will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime, whether it be occasional or chronic, upper or lower, trauma- or lifestyle-induced. There’s something about walking upright (not to mention sitting all day) that creates a vulnerability in the back. Take that vulnerability and add stress, poor posture, and bad habits, and you have a recipe for back pain. The good news is that many back-related aches and pains can be managed with a regular maintenance routine of stretching and strengthening.
For example, taking good care of your spine means moving it in all directions every day. Forward and backward bending, side to side stretches, and twists are all important for spinal health. But flexibility alone isn’t enough; a happy back also requires a strong and stable core. The muscles of the back, abdomen, hips, butt, and upper legs all work together to keep your back feeling good.
I’m currently teaching about this (and more!) in a workshop called Yoga for Back Care. This special workshop series is comprised of four 90-minute classes held once a week for four weeks. Over the course of the workshop I teach yoga poses specifically designed to relieve back pain and promote back health. The current session is sold out, but there is still room left in the May session. It will run on May 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 4:30-6pm at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre, in Ottawa.
Photos by Réné Lamarche