A lengthening and strengthening yoga pose for mamas
Backache be gone!
I often teach women only yoga classes, whether it’s a hatha flow or a pre-natal class, so I see the same issues crop-up again and again for women and usually it’s all to do with our backs.
Did you know that when we go to bed at night we are shorter than what we were when we went to sleep? Do you know why this is, mamas? It’s because of all the spine crunching and compressing caused by everyday life, especially for us. Think about it – driving the kids to school and playing mum taxi generally, sitting at a desk, lifting-up the kids, picking-up the grocery bags, bending over to kiss our bubs on the forehead or pick up their mess, watching TV on the sofa – life gets in the way of good posture and that soon begins to play havoc on our backs.
Read more: Yoga Therapy for Busy Mamas with Bubs
I like to use the analogy of the spine being likened to a slinky toy – you know, those circular toys that spring and fold in a coil – anyway, our vertebrae behave in a similar way. The vertebrae – the bones that are in our spine from top to tail – each have little discs and spaces between them. When our slinky spine is compressed for any reason, the space between them can become less and less. Sometimes, as we age over time, the space becomes so compressed that the disc stopping bone touching bone, can slip or begin to disintegrate. Ouch – that’s when our backs begin to really hurt, however, the good news is this can be avoided and the pain can be somewhat lessened with some very simple yoga therapy techniques.
When I was studying yoga therapy with Kaya Yoga here in Dubai, of all the therapeutic yoga poses, this one made the most sense to me to focus on as it related to everyone, actually, not just women but also our kids who spend a lot of time at desks or at a computer. This really helps to protect the spine, strengthen the back and alleviate back pain related to compression of the spine.
This pose – well actually it’s two poses that flow from one to the next – helps to lengthen and pull open the vertebrae in the spine to allow it to have more space to breath, literally.
I advise my yoga clients to try to do this pose every day if possible! No more watching-TV on the sofa – get on the floor on your yoga mat and lengthen that spine! Your body will love you for it, promise.
A lengthening and Strengthening Pose For Mamas
Staff Post / Dandasana in to Forward Fold
- Strengthens and elongates the back
- Improves posture
- Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso.
- If your torso is leaning back and is rounded, it may be because you have a sore back or tight hamstrings. It may be helpful to sit on a blanket or a bolster to lift the pelvis and straighten the spine.
- Without hardening the belly, firm the thighs, press them down against the floor (or your support), rotate them slightly toward each other, and draw the inner groins toward the sacrum.
- Flex your feet, pressing out through your heels (so your toes are facing the ceiling)
- Sit up tall and imagine the tail bone lengthening into the floor.
- Imagine at the same time that someone is pulling you up by the crown of your head so that you are being pulled in opposite directions – your tailbone down and our head up. This will help to lengthen your spine.
- You can choose to hold a belt or strap around the ball of your feet, keeping elbows in and bent to create extra traction.
- If you do not use a strap, have your hands on the floor at the side of you – if your palms do not firmly touch the ground, place blocks under your hands.
- Hold the pose for one minute or longer, breath long deep breaths and remember to relax your shoulders. And smile :0)
- An extension of the above pose would be to simply reach for your feet or ankles and fold forward, however, I would only attempt this if you feel you can do so without rounding your spine. The key is to keep your spine long and extended bit by bit to fold forward, so, if folding forward is not available to you, stay in the staff pose for a few extra breaths. The benefits will be better for you this way.
Caution: Any wrist or lower back injury this would be avoided.
If you want to know more about Kaya Yoga and Kaya’s teacher trainings, you can find more details on her website www.kayayogalifestyle.com. Don’t miss out on her next course of 200 hours and 300 hours in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For more details on Mia’s yoga teaching and private classes see www.graciouslygreen.com.
Please note, this article is not intended to provide medical advice.