7 Yoga Poses That Can Give You a Sore Back
If you're not thoughtful about the way you move, your "om" could turn into a serious "ouch." Here are 7 simple yoga exercises that can cause back pain -- and how to stay safe
Though some yoga poses may look like they were created by a contortionist, it's misguided to blame back pain on them, says Linda Rowe, DC, ERYT, a chiropractor and master yoga trainer in Dallas. "Back pain or injury that happens as a result of yoga is not common, but when it occurs, it is most often because of how the pose is being practiced. Yoga is actually a very therapeutic exercise for the back -- you just have to make sure you're mindful of protecting it as you go."
While that means not attempting poses only meant for Elasti-Girl, it also means being more aware of your body's movements and limitations.
At the core of yoga safety is, well, your core -- the deepest muscles in your midsection that prevent your spine from moving in ways that compromise its disks, joints, ligaments, and surrounding muscles. It must be engaged while you perform yoga to keep your back stabilized. Getting into a yoga pose without involving these muscles could potentially throw your back out, which could mean anything from a twinge to a spasm, a sprain, or worse. Remember the time your back screamed at you after lifting that laundry basket awkwardly? Yep, just like that.
Skip ahead to see the 7 yoga poses that can give you a sore back.
"To stabilize your lower back, initiate every movement from your core and in conjunction with your breath -- squeeze your muscles and move upon exhaling, then relax them with each inhale," says Robin Rothenberg, a Fall City, Wash.-based yoga therapist who specializes in chronic pain and is internationally known for her research on yoga and back pain. Not only will this ensure that your back is properly protected as you move, but it also tells your nervous system to ditch the stress it has been holding on to all day and move into a state of calm. "This, of course, is beneficial emotionally, but it also helps ensure that you aren't bringing aggressive energy to your yoga practice that could encourage you to push your body further than it wants to go," says Rothenberg.
Because that's when problems in yoga happen. Especially when you're doing certain poses. Read on to learn the simple yoga exercises most likely to cause back pain -- and the best ways to stay safe.
SEE NEXT PAGE: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)