A good friend of mine requested a short class for addressing general low back pain after her doctor recommended yoga, so here it is. As always, I do recommend checking with your doctor first before pursuing yoga if you have back pain as there are a lot of possible causes for the back pain and contraindications. Once you get the green light, research what yoga classes you want to pursue and always give yourself permission to modify if it turns out the class is faster paced or more advanced than you were thinking.
In general, I find that most general achy backs are do to several very common factors - many of which are due to many hours sitting or hunched forward (think working at a desk, driving, gardening, picking up kids, etc. The four culprits I see a lot are: 1) tight hamstrings 2) tight psoas and hip flexor muscles, 3) weak core or abdominal muscles and finally 4) our general posture and muscle development of the back.
So, it is not surprising that yoga is often recommended by doctors as there are a number of poses that address these issues. For example, for tight hamstrings, forward folds with bent knees (note that it is always a good idea to bend the knees when working with an achy back); for tight hip flexors, lunges (the back leg is in extension at the hip) and backbends; for weak core muscles, plank and slow abdominal exercises; and for posture, general awareness of how we are carrying ourselves and creating a bit more symmetry.
So here it is, please feel free to ask me for modifications and as always, if it feels like too much, it IS too much, so please do not overdo it. Also if you have never done a pose (particularly bridge pose which involves some weight bearing on the head and neck), please watch the video first and then rewind and give it a try. You don't want to tweak your neck while you're trying to alleviate pain in the back :-) Namaste yogi's!