We see a lot of patients who have been recommended yoga as an aid to back pain, but is yoga actually good for your spine? In theory, yoga should be used as a strengthening tool which is where its benefits can lie in helping your core and back muscles to support your spine. This again should lead to an increased amount of strength around your spine that can help to stabilise areas that can be the most susceptible to injury. While certain yoga poses may well be beneficial to back pain, the temptation lies in that if something is good for you and feels good at the same time, to do it everyday or multiple times per week. If you’re doing yoga regularly it can also be easy to become too confident in your practice and risk potentially neglecting form which could have a huge impact on the health of your spine while practicing yoga.
Combining Yoga with Other Exercise
The main issue at The Mayfair Clinic we have with yoga, is that a lot of people tend to stick to just one thing for exercise. Whether that’s gym workouts, running, cycling or yoga, there is very often a lack of variety in an exercise routine. Yoga can be a fantastic form of exercise that can help support your posture and increase your flexibility, but it works even better when paired with other exercises such as those mentioned before. The flexibility that yoga brings, without the muscular strength can mean that you have overly flexible joints and no supportive structure around them to protect against injury. Being flexible can be beneficial, but there is a point when you simply become too loose in your joints. The tension in muscles and ligaments needed to support a body that is hyper-mobile can be far greater than you would necessarily think is required for a yoga class.
Can Yoga Improve Your Posture?
Another problem can well be, if you have bad standing or sitting posture going into a yoga class, you’re probably only going to be reinforcing the bad posture unless you have an instructor who will correct you when you’re performing something incorrectly. Again, unless you’re in a 1 on 1 yoga class, awareness of your form by the instructor is most likely going to be loose. In a larger class, the ability level can be wide – from a complete beginner who has never been in a yoga class before, to a more experienced person who goes every week. The most common places to experience misalignments are in the neck or lower back, if you regularly spend time with your head bent forwards – perhaps while slouching at work, on the sofa or in bed, and attempt a headstand in yoga imagine what putting your entire body weight is going to do for you.
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