Strengthen, Lengthen, and Release: Yoga for Low Back Pain

Lisa StoweOy. Low back pain is such a common occurrence these days. Desk chairs, schlump-asana, carrying small children – all can contribute to cranky lower backs. What’s a New Yorker to do?

Enter Lisa Stowe!

Lisa’s teaching a workshop on Saturday, June 29th to help build strength and alleviate pain. Sounds glorious, right? We asked her a few questions about what to expect.

What has your experience been with low back pain?

Almost 3 years ago I herniated a disc in my lower back and it manifested as persistent tightness in my hips and occasional sciatica. After carting a baby (and a toddler!) around on one hip, I developed functional scoliosis that ultimately led to the herniation. At the worst point, I could not sit for an extended period and could barely backbend. Following physical therapy, strength training, and yoga, I’m now largely pain-free and happy to report that full wheel finally feels amazing!

But, this class does not deal with herniated disks alone! Low back pain shows up for many different reasons due to a variety of circumstances. All are welcome in this workshop.

What kind of poses will we be doing?

We’ll focus on strengthening the muscles that connect to and support the lower back – especially the core, the hips and the hamstrings. In addition to the strength work, we’ll also work on releasing the hip flexors and resetting the lower back with restoratives and a proliferation of props. You’ll see poses you are familiar with (cat/cow, downward facing dog, and small cobra) but with specialized modifications to support your lower back.

It hurts when I backbend. Should I come to this workshop?

Yes! Backbends can be painful when you have a back injury – but paradoxically they are the best class of poses to strengthen your back and speed a recovery from pain. We will focus on how to backbend safely, so you can reap the benefits of these poses without saying grimacing or saying “ouch!”.

What will I take away from this workshop?

You’ll emerge from this workshop with tools to use in your own practice, either at home or in class. As you gain tools to use in your practice, that will also help you gain confidence! These tools will come in handy the next time your back hurts, and you’ll already know some release methods that can help relieve acute pain and soreness.

These tools will also be usefuel the next time you are working on building strength. You’ll have some yoga-inspired moves to support the long-term health of your back. And the next time you are in a class and the teacher calls out a pose you may traditionally avoid, you’ll learn simple modifications that you can use to practice the pose safely.

I don’t practice yoga. But I have back pain. Can I come to class?

Yes! The workshop will not be a traditional vinyasa class. Instead, we’ll spend time breaking down poses, using props, and discussing the anatomy of the spine and pelvis. With a small group, you’ll receive personalized attention and learn how to support your lower back – whether in or out of yoga class.


About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
This entry was posted in TEACHER'S CORNER, UPCOMING EVENTS/COMMUNITY ANOUNCEMENTS and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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