Thursday, September 4, 2014

Yoga for Back Pain

Articles touting the benefits of Viniyoga seem to be popping up everywhere (and that’s a good thing!). One example is an article called “Watch Your Back” in Yoga Journal. This article talks about Viniyoga’s proven benefits in reducing back pain. Specifically, it discusses the Group Health study on Viniyoga for low back pain and shares the personal case study of a woman who healed her back using Viniyoga.

The student, Terri Stoeker, has a back pain story much like my own.  Like Terri, my back injury cane “out of the blue,” though it had likely been building for quite some time.  Unlike Terri, I suffered for years--seven to be exact.  During that time, I tried a number of methods for healing: physical therapy, acupuncture, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medication, osteopathic manipulation, counseling on pain management, ice, rest, and massage therapy. At one point, I even said that I’d dance naked around a witch doctor’s fire if that would help.  The one remedy that healed me, after seven years of failed experiments, was Viniyoga.

Terri’s relief came quickly.  Mine took a bit longer. But after seven years of pain, a few months to get relief seemed like nothing.  In fact, since my doctors and I had already given up hope, the fact that I healed at all is nothing short of a miracle.

I'd like to share two of my favorite quotes from the article with you.

The first is from the student, Terri Stoeker:

"You can let your back control you and change your life into something sedentary and painful, or you can find something that can keep you healthy and get you back to 95 percent normal. I was told I would never run or garden again. Now I can do those things. I have to be careful, I have to take care of myself, but I live my life. Yoga has done that for me."

The second is from my teacher, Gary Kraftsow.

"We're not talking about fancy yoga or power yoga  here. You don't need an hour-long class or a special outfit or a fancy mat to do this. This practice is available to everybody. You can learn it easily and use it to feel better and really begin to manage your condition."

The article comes complete with a yoga practice that may help decrease back pain.  But be forewarned, the photos are misleading.  In fact, they only show part of each position.  The movement between positions is vitally important in Viniyoga.  So I highly recommend using the text to guide your practice, rather than the photos.  Better yet, sign up for my Yoga for Healthy Backs class!  In the mean time, read the article, and tell me what you think!

Go Viniyoga!


Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now from Whole Life Yoga. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and book sellers everywhere! 


Terri said...

I read this article and just had to leave a comment. Quite a few years ago, my back started hurting and after numerous trips to the doctor, it hadn't improved. He referred me to physical therapy and what they taught me there was EXACTLY what this article described! At the time, I had no idea that these were yoga poses. I am a firm believer in yoga now, though I don't practice it much - except for these for my back! I've had very little to NO back pain since I started these poses. I highly recommended these to EVERYONE!

Angela Killpack said...

This story was inspiring to read! I've done yoga a few times, but I haven't made a habit of it. I think that strengthening your core and energizing your body can really help with a number of ailments.