Non-Yoga for back pain

Yoga for bad backWhen someone knows you have a legal qualification, conversations with friends and acquaintances sometimes start a bit like this, “So I have this parking ticket from Birmingham…” or “can I ask you about the Law as regards my neighbour’s cats…” 

As a Yoga teacher, conversations go, more often, exactly like this like this, “I have this pain in my back, can you recommend some stretches to help me?”.

And I love to help, but it is tricky to give what they are asking for. I’ve done short sequences for everyone from my boyfriend, to my brother, to my friends.

Ones they can roll out of bed and do, ones they can do at the desk at work, single-pose sequences…  But I’m pretty sure none of them really do them… And I understand completely why.  They are busy.  Everyone’s busy.  That is why their backs hurt. And truth be told,  5 mins of Yoga a day will help, but there’s some other stuff I believe will help more.  Such as: Move your spine, often.

The back is full of vertebrae, and this is because it a design meant to be moved, through it’s comfy range of motion.  It’s not meant to be erect , or rounded in the same position all day long without variation.

If you are driving a long way to work, sitting crouched over a desk, crouching over something like dinner the TV or playstation when you get home, your back is likely in the same curved position all day.

Add some stress and scrunched shoulders, plus lack of sleep, not enough water and some caffeine to compensate, plus maybe some hard-1hr sessions in the gym and maybe lots of alcohol to wind-down, the Yoga is probably not going to be able to compensate for all of that, sorry.

If your back hurts after doing something particular (an exercise routine, lifting the kids, cleaning, turning the tap on in the bathroom at 25 years old) it is unlikely that activity has CAUSED your problem, in my opinion. You may blame it, you may be wise to stay away from it (except in my  brother’s case, of rendering himself immobile after turning the tap on) but there are likely some habitual patterns, like in the above example, that have got the back to it’s current state.

If would certainly help to incorporate even just one or two Yoga stretches and deep breathing into your daily routine, but to be honest, the best advice for the young and busy with a ‘bad back’, is probably to try and do LESS not MORE.  This below advice therefore comes in very handy in this regard.

Yes, there are infinite exercises, dietary regimens, stress reduction techniques, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic, counselling, life coaching, etc., but I am not proposing any of these things. Indeed, what I am putting forth here is revolutionary and almost unspeakable in our world. I can say with confidence that you have not considered this novel concept. And I warn you now,  you may not be ready to hear it. My “improve the state of your lower back” program has four (4) simple steps—the first three are just warm-up steps, which make the actual “treatment” feasible. And here they are: 1. Remove all caffeine from your life. 2. Remove all sugar from your life, except from fresh organic fruits. 3. Remove all soda from your life and replace it with clean, pure drinking water. Now, once you’ve done these things, you are ready for the most revolutionary treatment you’ve ever heard of. It’s called…napping! That’s right. Take a nap. For the foreseeable future, do one less thing everyday and replace that one thing with at least a 20-minute nap. I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t do that. I’ve got too much going on. There’s the job, the kids, the money, the wife, the husband, the this and the that, on and on forever and ever.” And any of us wonder why we have a bad back. As my chiropractor said to me when I tried to get him to read my MRI, “You are hanging on to that MRI just like you’re hanging on to your dis-ease. Time to change your life.” So, I put it to you my brothers and sisters in back pain. Change your life. Do these things for 120 days. I am confident you will not only have a healthier back, but other miracles will have unfolded in your life. - See more at:

Namaste X


I'm a Yoga teacher and mother to 8 year old twins, with an interest in health, wellness and movement. In addition to articles on here, my work can be found by searching on Elephant Journal for my name, which will bring up recipes and mindful living articles. Thanks for reading :-)

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