Category:

Back Pain

Sciatica? Get Relief!

https://nykdanu.com/sciatica-get-relief/

Sciatica is a bit tricky and can be persistent. In all my years of teaching Back Pain Yoga, I have found more than anything else Sciatica often used as a blanket-term which students cover a range of symptoms they may have. So if you think you may have Sciatica please see a health professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Sciatica causes pain which travels down the leg from the lower back. This pain could go down the back, outside or front of the leg. The onset of Sciatica can be often sudden (more often) or gradual. Most often symptoms are only on one side of the body. However, sometimes Sciatica can result in pain on both sides and lower back pain can also be present. Weakness or numbness could run along the nerve pathway into various parts of the affected leg and foot.

The other challenge I have as a Yoga Therapist working with clients one on one is that the Sciatica nerve doesn’t run in exactly the same place in all bodies. So the same Yoga pose that can provide relief for one person may not for another. So there really is no one size fits all here.

Also, there are many causes of Sciatica; spinal disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis and piriformis syndrome to name a few. So it really is a case by case basis. If you do this pose and it aggravates your Sciatica then skip it. I’ll have more poses for Sciatica in future blog posts.

In the video below you’ll notice that my knees come to the floor easily in this pose. This is due to my bone structure as opposed to flexibility so your knees may or may not ever rest on the floor in this pose and it’s not important that they do to receive the benefits.

If your knees are up a fair bit lift your bum up higher by sitting on some blankets or Yoga props like a bolster that will allow you to sit tall with less strain. You can also use Yoga bricks or books under your knees to ease into this pose.

In the video below I’ll walk you through Butterfly pose step by step.

If you know someone who suffers from Sciatica please forward this blog post to them.

Happy practicing,

nyk

Tight Hip Flexors? Lunges To The Rescue!

https://nykdanu.com/tight-hip-flexors-lunges-to-the-rescue/

I’m not gonna lie, very few people like stretching their hip flexors and yet it’s also commonly requested in my classes. This is likely because of our increased time spent sitting in chairs.

Spending hours a day sitting in chairs can cause of time a whole host of problems not, the least of which can be Back Pain. For more on sitting and its problems and some solutions, you can read more here.

It’s not just sitting that tightens up the hip flexors, a lot of our sports and pastimes (like biking, running and hiking) can also have an effect.

So taking a few minutes a day to do a lunge on each side can be an effective way to keep our mobility and support back health.

It’s important to back away slightly from the strongest sensation you can bare here going to your maximum is not necessary for this pose to be effective in fact the opposite is true. Only come forward to a degree that you feel sensation but can perhaps still smile.

Also not shown in the video please feel free to use blocks under your hands to give you more space in the pose which will be more comfortable for many of us (myself included). You can also walk the front leg out to the side a little and bring your hands inside the front leg (my fave way to practice).

In the video below I’ll walk you through basic lunges.

If you know someone with tight hips please, share this post with them.

Here’s to happy hips,

nyk

Tight Back Muscles? Noodles To The Rescue.

https://nykdanu.com/tight-back-muscles-noodles-to-the-rescue/

Tight back muscles are pretty common in my students and most often this is because of our lifestyle. Sitting at desks, driving and even most household chores require a sort of stooped forward posture. This can cause some chronic tightness in the muscles of the back.

Releasing these muscles in Yoga can be a bit tricky, downward dog does a nice job of it, but downward dog isn’t available to everyone and even for those of us who can practice it, it impossible to hold it long enough to get any real lasting relief.

So what is a Yogi to do… (cue music) never fear noodles to the rescue!

NO NO, not that kind of noodle, this kind of noodle!

Yup, a slightly modified pool noodle (like the ones that keep kids afloat in swimming pools) is a great way to spend a little quality quiet time with yourself and release tight back muscles at the same time, who knew!

If you are new to ‘noodling’ at first it can be a strong experience and may be an acquired taste, so grab your Yoga blocks, couch cushion or folded blanket to place under your bum until your body gets used to this.

In the video below I’ll walk you through noodling 101.

If you know someone who could benefit from this please forward this post to them.

Happy noodling,

nyk

Back Pain Yoga- Cat pose

https://nykdanu.com/back-pain-yoga-cat-pose/

Cat pose is a simple movement that is a great way to nurture our spine, increase blood flow, circulation and release back tension and Back Pain. Sometimes the simplest poses can be the most therapeutic.

I love to do this first thing in the morning to gently wake up my spine, or before bed.  You can even do it at work if you are sore from sitting.

 

If your wrists are an issue for you, this can still be practiced by putting your forearms on a bolster. I also like to put a folded blanket under my knees if your knees are sensitive you can try that.

Sometimes this pose is also called cat/cow, cat/dog or spinal waves.

Either way, this pose by any other name still feels as sweet.

In the video below I’ll walk you through the how-to of Cat Pose.

If you know someone with a tight back forward this post to them

Happy practicing meow, purr purr.

Nyk

Back Pain – Twist it Out

https://nykdanu.com/back-pain-twist-it-out/

If you have Back Pain or tension twists can be a powerful tool to help release tight muscles in your back.  The twist we are going to explore in this post is pretty deep so if you are currently in acute pain you may want to skip this one and practice twisted reclined deer pose instead which you can find here.

 

 

However, if you are not in acute pain, have been practicing Yoga for a while and need a deeper twist this one may fit the bill.

Have some Yoga blocks and/or bolsters on hand for this one (or blankets and books work in a pinch too) to bring the floor up to you or fill space between your knees. Because this is a deep twist many of us will need the support of props.

 

Happy Twistin’

ox nyk

Supported Little Bridge Pose

https://nykdanu.com/supported-little-bridge-pose/

This particular pose was one of my most requested videos! Little bridge is another pose that can be done either as a Yang pose to strengthen the body and create energy or a Yin pose using a block for support so that you can hold the pose longer.

 

Many of my students love this pose and have found it very helpful for relieving lower back pain. However, no Yoga pose is good for everyone. So if you have SI joint instability or other SI issues you should always check with your healthcare practitioner before practicing this.

Our Sacrum (the triangular bone above your butt crack) has a very small amount of movement front to back. These movements are called nutation and counter-nutation. When we practice Little Bridge Pose with a block it holds our sacrum in a counter-nutation position which can feel really good for the lower back in many of us once we are out of the pose.

You’ll need a Yoga brick for this pose, often I say books can be used in place of Yoga bricks but in this case you for sure need a brick. Remember there are three heights to a Yoga brick so you can use whichever works for your proportions and flexibility.

As a bonus for many of us if we make sure our feet are Parallel and not wider than your hips you may also get a sweet little hip flexor stretch too. That’s not why we are doing the pose per say but it’s a nice bonus for those of you who get it.

In the video below I’ll walk you through the complete how-to of Little Bridge pose.

 

Happy Practicing!

ox nyk

Lower Back Pain – Get Relief

https://nykdanu.com/lower-back-pain-get-relief/

Lower Back Pain is unfortunately pretty common. It can be challenging to find gentle yet effective poses to help relieve lower back pain without causing a flare up.

This lying twist is one of my favorites for times when my lower back is feeling tender or vulnerable.

 

If you deal with chronic back pain it’s important that you only move within a range of motion that feels safe to you and won’t make you sore tomorrow.

So your movements might be much smaller than what you see me do in this video. It’s important to honor where you are today.

In the video below I’ll walk you through this twist reclined Deer pose often called ‘windshield wipers.’

 


Happy Practicing!

ox

nyk

 

Back Pain? Get Off Your Ass.

https://nykdanu.com/back-pain-get-off-your-ass/

I recently read an article entitled ‘sitting is the new smoking‘. Yikes! At first, glance that sounded pretty extreme, but is it really? It’s actually not an exaggeration.

Sadly chairs are indeed wrecking our backs (not to mention increasing evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes).

depositphotos_1437052_s-2015

Since I am a teacher who specializes in Back Pain Yoga, I’m going to focus on that aspect in this post. We are hunter-gatherer creatures meant to walk and roam, run, squat and sit on the earth. This is how we are designed to function. Sitting in chairs goes against our fundamental design. Here are some surprising Back Pain Statistics:

  • 80-85% of people will experience Back Pain in their lives and for many it is chronic
  • 56 billion dollars is spent annually on Back Pain treatment
  • The percentage of back pain suffers is the highest in developed nations where people are likely to spend time sitting in chairs

So if you sit at a desk all day odds are at some point you will have pain in your back, hips or neck. If not debilitating pain, you will at the very least have chronic tension or discomfort.

Right now you may be thinking, I know, I know, but what can I do about it? I can’t quit my job.  In the video below I go into more detail about the damage chairs do to our backs and some ideas on how to lessen the damage.

 

5 Things You Can Do To Get Out Of Pain:

  1. Consider investing in a standing desk or at least a better chair.
  2. Take breaks. Set a timer to go off every hour. Then get up, move around, stretch your legs, get a glass of water then come back to work.
  3. When you aren’t working, stand up.
  4. Move more. It doesn’t take long to eat lunch so you can spend half your lunch hour moving instead of sitting.
  5. YOGA! You may already be practicing some Yoga but stepping it up to 5-7 days a week whether in a studio or home practice will really help.

I hope this post inspires you to not take your back for granted and make changes before you are in serious pain.

Here’s To A Healthy Back,

ox nyk

Yin Yoga – Shoelace Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-shoelace-pose/

Shoelace pose is a great way to get into the muscles and fascia in hips, butt and IT band, which can feel cursed in our culture because of all of the sitting in chairs we do.

Because the muscles and  fascia in the hips are so dense they really benefit from the long hold in Yin Yoga. The hips and the butt being chronically tight can be one of the causes of mis-alignments of the spine and can lead to back pain.

Yin Yoga Shoelace pose

If you sit at a desk all day then doing this pose daily would not be to often! Practicing this pose regularly can keep you from becoming a tight ass 😉

In the video below I’ll walk you through the complete ‘how-to’ of shoelace pose including options for those of you with knee issues.

 

Happy Practicing

ox

nyk

Back Pain? Squat Down!

https://nykdanu.com/back-pain-squat-down/

Back Pain sadly is a common theme in my classes. I myself have suffered with back pain on and off over the years due to some poor standing habits from back when I was a hairstylist and the misalignment of my spine because of it. For many of you it’s likely from sitting at a desk all day.

In my Back Pain Yoga classes, we work directly on the common areas that affect the back which includes stretching the areas that are chronically tight that pull our spines out of alignment and strengthening the areas that are weak and leave the back prone to injury.

Squatting down on a regular basis can do wonders for lower back pain and increase the flexibility of the whole lower back and sacrum.

Nyk Danu

Check out this fun informative music video by Denise Kaufman about why you should learn to give a squat.

The Squat Song from Denise Kaufman on Vimeo.

If you have knee issues then squatting may not be available for you, but for the rest of you I recommend squatting everyday! This will likely be difficult at first but with practice you will become more and more comfortable and be able to hold your squats longer and longer.

I’m a bit of a Yoga geek so I like to find hidden pockets of time to squat down while I’m doing other things (like during the commercials of your favorite TV show instead of hitting the fridge).

In the video before I walk you through the complete how-to when it comes to squatting.

Happy Squatting!

nyk