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Stiff Back & Shoulder? These Yoga Asanas Will Help Provide Relief

Yoga is about binding. It means you are binding the physical, mental and spiritual elements of your body. It has several connotations such as union or of binding together.

This principle revolves on the prana and apana which is the upward flow and the downward flow of energy that trails the pace of the breath.

As human beings we are connected to all the things that exist on this planet, such as plants, earth, air, animals and water.

Yoga focuses on respecting yourself, the surroundings and the society. Yoga also refers to union and harmony. It manages to offer us the opportunity to deepen our self understanding through physical movement, breathing and meditation.

Yoga practice which was found during the Indus Valley civilization (2000-4000 BCE) has not become defunct but has gained more significance and value in the modern world.

So what has Yoga brought to this world? The medical applications of yoga are bountiful. Some of the yoga techniques have the power to cure heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and can even enable natural healing for your back pain.

Yoga manages to strengthen your back and it tries to improve circulation to your spine and nerves. Here are some of the asanas that can help and strengthen your back and shoulder.

To relieve your back pain, there are several soothing yoga poses that can help you to cut back on your medications for your backaches. Some techniques can even cure stiff back and shoulder. Let's find out how.


1. Eagle Pose

For this pose all you require is flexibility, fortitude, resolute dedication and marked concentration. This is the most challenging asana.

Stand in Tadasana. Bend your knees; make sure to slightly lift your left foot up and reach up to your right leg.

You will have to cross the left foot over the right. Point your left toe towards the floor. Remember to hook your right foot behind your left calf.

It is important to balance on the right foot. Squeeze your inner thighs together. Next stretch your arms forward.

Cross your arms in front of the torso. Cross the right arm over the left and ensure you bend your elbows.

Forearms have to stay perpendicular to the floor. The back of your hands should face each other. Turn the hands so that the palms of the hands face each other. The fingers have to be stretched upwards (towards the ceiling).

Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths (5 long deep breaths). Slowly wind down your legs and arms and try to stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose or palm tree pose).

The benefits of Eagle pose (Garudasana) are that it helps to stretch your hip, shoulder and upper back. It even helps to assuage rheumatism.


2. Vajrasana

Vajrasana is the simplest asana that can be practiced at any time during the day or night (lunch or even dinner). Referred to as the diamond pose, Vajrasana is a magical pose that helps to fight against any physical problems.

Stand on your knees with your lower legs together.

Try to lower your body and make sure to sit on your heels, especially your buttocks to be rested on your heels while the thighs are on the calf muscles.

Next let your hands be on your knees and try to keep your head straight. It is important that you observe the process of inhalation and exhalation.

When you begin to exhale, try to tauten your belly and make sure that you bend forward (come forward) from your lower back.

Next take your arms down and behind your back. Place the hands on your sacrum and the palms need to face up. Bring your chest on your thighs and your forehead towards the floor.

Now try to rise up back to the starting position. Try doing this asana for about 6 to 8 times. Stay in this position for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

At least practice to sit for a minimum of 2 minutes.

In the initial stages of practicing this asana, there are chances of you having stinging pain in your ankles and knees. Remember if you have a knee problem then don't try doing this asana as it can put additional strain on your knees. Vajrasana helps to relieve sciatica and indigestion. It removes hunch and strengthens the spine.


3. Bhujangasana

In Sanskrit Bhujangasana means serpent (snake) and the asana is called Cobra pose. It reflects the posture of a Cobra with the hood raised.

Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor (preferably on the yoga mat).

Let your legs be close together and also your feet has to be together (the feet and heels should be touching each other).

Next spread your hands on the floor under your shoulder. Let your elbows be closer to your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso.

Close your eyes and inhale slowly. On inhalation, try to straighten the arms and lift the chest off the floor. Slowly raise your torso up.

Try to push the chest forward and make sure to straighten your arms. Your navel should be off the yoga mat. Ensure that you stretch just as much as you can; don't force yourself.

Allow your shoulders to be away from the neck and keep them broad. Let your shoulders be relaxed. Stretch gracefully when you try to arch your back.

Hold this pose for five deep breaths. Release this pose by lowering yourself on to the floor with an exhalation. Your abdomen, chest and head has to be back on the floor.

Cobra pose helps to stretch the muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdomen. It strengthens the spine, arms and shoulders. It even reduces the stiffness in your lower back.


4. Paschimottanasana

The word Pashima means your back and Uttana means intense stretch.

Lie down on your back. Keep your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Keep your spine erect and toes have to flex towards you.

Your hands should rest on your thigh. Inhale and try to stretch your arms out to the side and then overhead.

Make sure to lengthen your spine. Now exhale and bend forward from the hip joints. Try to elongate the front of your torso.

Your torso has to rest on your thighs. Try not to touch your head to both your knees.

Next hold on to your ankle or your toes wherever you feel comfortable. Keep your hands close to your ears.

Stay in this pose for as long as possible. Bend your arm and let the elbow touch the floor.

Now exhale and hold this posture for a few seconds. Next breathe out and then after a few seconds try to return to your starting position.

Next slowly allow your body to lie down on your back. You can repeat this pose 3 to 4 times.

The seated forward bend pose (Paschimottanasana) can act as a stress reliever. It stretches the spine and brings flexibility to your stiff back. Doing this asana is useful for people who feel sluggish and energyless all the time. It even increases blood supply in the back.


5. Uttanasana

Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose is a simple stretching yoga pose that has a variety of therapeutic benefits.

Start with Tadasana. Let your hands rest on your hips. Next exhale and bend foward from the hip joints.

Try to lengthen your front torso as you go down. Keep your feet apart at shoulder distance. They have to be parallel to each other.

Press your heels to the floor. Keep the front of your torso long and your knees straight. Make sure to place your palms on the floor beside your feet.

The fingers have to be in line with your toes. Try to press the palm on the mat. You can also place the palm on the back of your ankles.

While holding this pose try to inhale and gently exhale. Keep your hips aligned with your ankles.

As you inhale, try to lengthen your torso and with every exhalation you have to go deeper and deeper into the stretch.

Try to lean slightly forward. By leaning slightly forward you can stretch the back of your legs and it also helps you to stay in the pose longer.

Never close your eyes during this pose as you would lose your balance. Try to hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Slowly bring your hands back to your hips and try to extend your back until you stand tall. Roll back up to the mountain pose slowly without any jerk.

Story first published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 18:30 [IST]
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