Vinyasa is a very popularly practiced style of yoga in the west. And if you are someone with back issues – caused by lifestyle or due to an injury. This blog post will help you understand some vinyasa modifications for back issues.
What is vinyasa
Vinyasa means flow. This is a style of yoga in which you move from one yoga pose into the next and its mostly a continuous, rhythmic movement oriented style of yoga done in coordination with the breath. This style works great for a lot of people but it depends on the yoga class or yoga teacher you end up with. Knowing these modifications will be helpful. Read more about vinyasa yoga and it’s history here.
What to avoid?
There is a lot of forwarding folding (as shown in the image below) The forward folding action whether done standing or seated may cause your lower back to flare up. This is applicable only if you have a pre-existing back issue. If your back is fine, you don’t need to do these modifications. Having back issues doesn’t mean we need to stop doing yoga, we just need to be aware and mindful of some minor adjustments that will help make the practice more comfortable and sustainable.
Lower back modifications for vinyasa…
- Bend your knees while folding forward if you have lower back pain or discomfort. Or if you have recovered from back surgery or slip disc or herniated disc. This applies to coming up and out of the pose as well.
- Ground your feet. Press all 4 corners of your feet evenly into the mat and let the feet and legs help you come up and go down
- Elongate the spine as much as you can
- In general, we want to avoid full forward fulls to support the lower back. So you can either leave your hands on your shin as shown in the picture above or use blocks under the hands.
- In a vinyasa class, palms on shins will be easier than moving in and out of blocks. But the goal is to lengthen from the lower spine and stay half way up.
If you are able to get your hands all the way down, still keep a bend in your knees while going up and down. This will help you strengthen the legs and will keep you away from overworking the back. The same modifications apply to seated forward extensions as well.
I hope this helps! Enjoy your practice and check out our top 5 yoga poses for lower back pain and instant lower back pain relief posts as well. Let us know in the comments below if you try any of these or do something else to help your lower back.