Pain in your lower back is a common complaint of many people. There are many different activities can put undue strain on your lower back including standing, sitting, and lifting. There are several different yoga poses that can help alleviate back pain, and a strong yoga practice in your life can help prevent back pain in the first place.
Back Targeting Poses for Beginners
Yoga is something that takes practice, so make sure you are sticking to poses that you are comfortable in. This is extremely important if you are just starting your practice in an attempt to deal with your current back pain.
Cat, Cow, and Downward Dog are all beginner poses that will help stretch out tight back muscles, letting you feel relief from those tense muscles. Warrior II is also going to help stretch out your hips, which could be the cause of your lower back pain. Forward Bend and Table Top poses are also going to stretch your back nicely. You can also use a twist pose to elongate your back and sides, providing serious relief. Be cautious, especially if you are currently healing from an injury, and make sure you keep in your comfort level. When healing from an injury, you are not looking to push your body.
More Advanced Poses for Back Pain
For people farther along in your practice, there are other, more challenging poses that can give a great stretch to tight and sore back muscles. Bow pose and Camel pose are both going to provide a good stretch, although they both require quite a bit of flexibility. You can also take any of the beginner poses, and apply a more challenging modification. For example, you can take Downward Dog into a Dolphin pose, giving you a greater stretch.
Yoga to Prevent Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is commonly caused by improper posture, tight or misaligned hips, and not enough movement. Yoga involves focusing on your body, and it is natural to take your mindfulness of your posture into the rest of your life. Being aware of how your body sits throughout the day is going to help keep everything properly aligned, reducing the day to day stress on your back. Your practice is also going to help keep your hips loose and correctly aligned, effectively preventing a major cause of lower back pain. Finally, regularly practicing yoga makes sure that you are moving. Sedentary lifestyles are extremely prominent now, and the negative impacts on health are very widespread. Keeping yourself active through your practice will help combat this.
In summary, there are many yoga poses that can relieve back pain. Ensure you are fit enough for the poses, as you can find both beginner and more advanced poses for back pain. The goal for a yoga session when you are suffering from back pain should be focused on relaxation and gentle movement; pushing your limits when you are already injured can lead to more pain and a longer recovery. As you recover and grow in your practice, continue to do yoga as an effective preventative measure.
The idea of self-love is when you realize the value you have as a person. It is the source of confidence and personality. It helps you give the effort to take care of yourself and leads you to build other people up. You can clearly see when someone loves themselves. It can be seen in their happiness and attitude. It really does change a person’s whole demeanor. Self-love is at the core of all positive interactions, both within yourself and with the environment around you. It can slip away without you noticing, and getting it back takes a complete change of perception.
Signs You are Low on Self-Love
Things in your life can question your own value, and this can chip away at the love you have for yourself. This can quickly spiral into more negative thoughts, and bring doubt to your worth. These can continue to wear you down and make your perception turn dark. Depression and anxiety are both closely linked to people who foster negative perceptions of themselves. These can have very real physical impacts on your health.
Depression increases the risk of various health problems. It is tied to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, and even osteoporosis. Anxiety can be linked to a similar list of ailments. Both make it hard to take care of yourself, and this weighs heavily on your health.
How to Change Your Perspective and Love Yourself Again
The first step in bringing yourself back is noticing that you are not valuing yourself enough. You need to be able to look at your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Some parts of your behavior can be identified as symptoms of self-doubt. That is because you treated yourself poorly because you did not value yourself enough.
After you start seeing how your self-doubt shows itself, you can start working towards changing your attitude. Positive self-talk is a great way to work towards being more kind to yourself. When you actively choose to show your worth, you will build yourself up. Positive self-talk can be practiced all the time, but it may be difficult in the beginning to make it happen. Meditation is a great way to focus your energies on increasing your self-worth. You will need to have a positive talk with your mind.
Another method to build yourself up is to find a yoga practice. This combines meditation with physical exertion. You can couple your positive self-talk with the accomplishments of going through your yoga practice. It may be difficult to talk to yourself about more abstract things, but it is easy to think about what an awesome vehicle your body is. Celebrating the things your body can do is an effective way to build your self-love.
Being down and hard on yourself does not help anything. Even if you have not done your best, or you have let yourself down in the past, being cruel to yourself does not help! You cannot change the past, you cannot go back and work harder, but you can build yourself into the best you now. Talk positively about yourself, find something that you can be proud of, and let your self-love be a constructive influence in your life.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb
One of the beautiful things about yoga asana practice is that it leads you straight into a calm state of mind, ready to concentrate deeply and ultimately meditate. One tool that yoga provides is the mala beads, in both necklace and bracelet form. When you use the mala beads to meditate, this is called japa meditation. Japa meditation is when you repetitively recite a mantra.
In India, soul jewelry has a long tradition. Holy men and women use them to deepen their spirituality, to connect to power channels, and to protect from negative illusions. Mala beads are also used for japa meditation in Buddhism.
I began using mala beads, after my yoga teacher gave me a gift of a blessed Rudraksha seed mala bracelet from India. He showed us how you use them at the end of yoga class and gave me the Saraswati mantra for knowledge and education since I was a college student at the time. The mantra he gave us was:
Aing Saraswathye Namah
I never forgot how to use these mala beads for japa meditation and I began to incorporate it into my yoga routine. To this day, I like using them because they help to sustain a mantra, when thoughts try to pop into my head. My mind can easily clear and I can enter into a meditative state quicker.
Mala beads are designed to heal you, increase your soul power, also called Shakti, create protection circles against negativity, and connect you to divine channels.
Parts of the Mala
Mala beads have 108 beads or multiples of 9, often 27 (bracelets). The ancient Indian sages discovered 108 Repetitions to be the amount of repetitions needed to calm the mind and enter into another state of mind.
There are generally certain beads used to aid in attracting divine energy and power:
Rudraksha Seeds: Rudraksha means tears of Shiva and symbolizes limitless compassion.
Sandalwood and Rose wood: Different colors and varieties.
Crystals: Crystals add further meaning, healing properties and intention to the mala set.
Guru Bead: the part between the tassel and the mala. This marks the beginning and end of each cycle. This bead represents leading you from darkness to light, the knowledge that takes you out of ignorance.
Tassel: The tassel channels energy across your body and represents enlightenment.
Some malas have knots between the beads, which prevent the beads from sliding into one another and stretching the string with ware. It is said that if the beads break it is time to let go of that intention.
They are a beautiful way to plant seeds of specific intentions and states of mind. Remember to treat them carefully and with respect. My yoga teacher always told us to never let the malas touch the floor as a symbol of respect. We want to protect the energy that the mala holds.
Hold the bracelet in your hands with the tassle facing you. Start with the bead next to the tassle. Leave your pointer finger out. The pointer finger represents the ego so that is why we do not use the pointer finger. Begin to slide the beads toward you as your thumb and middle finger touch each bead, one at a time, as you say your mantra. You can either say it out loud or internally. Recite one full mantra per bead.
Do not cross over the guru bead when you get to the end.
When using a bracelet or to continue a new round follow these directions. It can be confusing but videos of the process can help if you get frustrated.
Hold the last bead with your thumb (earth element) and third finger (sky).
Slide the ring finger out and reverse the direction of the mala. The last bead now becomes the first and japa begins again.
Examples of mantras:
- So(inhale) hum(exhale)
- ‘om shanti, shanti, shanti’ which represents all encompassing peace.
- Om namah shivaya
When you get to the guru bead, it is now time for pause and reflection. I hope you find both peace and enlightenment with this precious mala bead japa meditation.