Yoga and the Lower Back Blues

Yoga and the Lower Back Blues

When lifting causes back pain, try Yoga.

Short story: about a year ago, only a few months away from turning twenty-two, I had the first tremors of lower back pain in my life. I was squatting some pretty huge weight (as I tend to) and enjoying myself doing it. When I got home and laid out on the couch, things got a little frisky in my lumbar spine. A stinging sensation filled the small of my back down to the top of my butt—ahem, glutes. I was officially on my way to becoming an old man. Pour out a Whey shake for me, I’ve got back pain.

Ever since, I’ve had mild lower back pain from exercising. The first fix for me was to take off the weight and make sure my spine was neutral and my core was tight throughout the movement. But I soon found out that there were other culprits: tight hips and a lack of lower back stamina (the first set of deadlifts was fine, but by the fifth my lower back muscles were tired out).

So in an effort to not end up like the old man who, after throwing his back out, lies on the floor for a week peeing into the carpet, I’ve decided to look beyond strength training. I turned to yoga. And thanks to YouTube, you can find a yoga video for anything.

If you’re ready to commit to a strong and pain-free lower back, I’ve found a twenty-three minute video for you. The channel Yoga With Adriene has a great video I’ve put below that can soothe a sore back in about twenty minutes. It’s pretty beginner friendly and damn relaxing. I like the vibe of the video: a sun lit living room complete with houseplants and a lovably sleepy dog in the corner. Unfortunately the dog walks out at the three minute mark, which might be when you bail too, oh well. If you stick with it, the dog makes another cameo.

A few comments on the video: I love how Yoga instructors to talk. I mean, usually if someone starts going off about ‘time and energy’ and ‘total awareness’ it’s after they’ve sold you a pound of hashish and now feel comfortable enough to put their feet on your couch. Not this time, habibi. “Press your feet to the earth and feel a surging wave of energy that undulates up from your toes to your fingertips”… Love the Yoga talk. I could use more of it in my day. Someone show this to my dad.

Another thing about Yoga videos: if you’re like me, you probably get antsy about five minutes into anything. I like workouts that are really short and intense. An ideal gym session for me is doing a lot of different things with blaring music and lots of sweating. Ideally, I will reach a state of complete savagery where I cannot articulate myself in recognizable words, let alone whole sentences. Ideally, my antics will cause the weight room staff to consider calling the police, animal control, and the army corps of engineers.

Yoga is not at all like that. You strike a pose and then you don’t do anything, maybe breathe a little, think about what a piece of shit your neighbor is... or imagine unfolding the layers of a sandwich. So there’s a big adjustment to get into a Yoga frame of mind. But when you get used to it, it’s actually quite peaceful. I recommend doing this routine in the mornings, where things are just naturally more mellow.

Anyway, I’ll stop pontificating about Yoga. The video is below. Use it or lose it. But don’t abuse it.

Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.

Twitter: @IshFarooqui