Stretch the pain away like a yogi

By Ea Francisco | Photos by Matthew Henry

Whether you’re young or old, back pains can target anyone, especially if you’re not that active. It may be from sitting long hours on a desk or plain bad posture in general. While doing sports and exercise can generally lessen the chances of back pain, even athletes experience backaches from overexertion. One easy way to alleviate this is to do some stretches, and here’s a few to get you started.

Cat/Cow Pose

Kneel on all fours with your arms stretched out beneath your shoulders and knees below your hips. Move by slowly arching your back out in time once you exhale, similar to how a cat stretches. Then, inhale while rounding your back down into an inwards curve with your head lifted.

Move slowly between each transition for about five to 10 seconds a set, and repeat 10 times.

Downward Dog

This is a yoga pose that focuses on your upper back. Start by going down on your hands and knees. With your hands in front of your shoulders, raise your hips and lift your knees so that you’re positioned like an upside down V. Make sure that your knees and back are straight in order to maximize your stretching.

Take five to 10 slow breaths while holding that position.

Child’s Pose

This is another common yoga pose that looks like a resting position. It stretches your back and relaxes your body. Start by going on all fours but with your arms stretched forward. Sit back so that your butt is almost touches your heels.

Have five to 10 breaths in position and repeat.

Upward Facing Dog

Along with your back, it also stretches your abdominal muscles. Start by lying on your stomach with your palms facing down on each side of your head. Slowly lift your upper body with your hips still on the floor. Make sure to lift with your back and not your arms.

Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat as many times as necessary.

Triangle Pose

This pose strengthens the back and legs while stretching the muscles on your outer hip. To do this, stand with your legs apart at around three feet. Have your arms stretched out then turn at the hip until your right hand reaches the ground. Rotate your upper torso so that it faces out, and keep your other arm stretched upwards.

Hold for five to seven breaths then switch to the other side.

The general rule for yoga or any stretching is to listen to your body. It’s supposed to relax and relieve pain, so you shouldn’t force yourself to the point that it becomes unbearable. Stretch only until what your body can handle. Doing these poses every day can ease pain and maybe even make you more flexible.