Keeping the Mid-back Healthy: A Yoga Routine That Eases Stiffness in the Mid-Back
Have you ever felt discomfort in your mid to upper back and wondered how to alleviate it?
Mid-back discomfort can occur for several reasons. A few common reasons include trauma, poor posture, misalignment of the vertebra, muscle spasms, a slipped disc and arthritis. Mid- back pain can at times point to more serious disorders such as cancer, infection or gallbladder disease. Having a doctor check for the reason of your discomfort is always recommended. One of the best remedies for problems of the mid back or the back in general is a good massage :) . If however you can't make it to your massage therapist, below is a yoga routine that may offer some relief.
Breathing into the back
Sit in a comfortable position with a rolled up mat or blanket behind your spine. Close your eyes and turn on your ujjayi breath. Feel your ribs expand with each inhale. On your exhales allow the shoulders to relax as you pull the belly in. Feel on each inhale for expanding the back of the ribs into the mat/ blanket behind your spine. As you get better at this exercise feel on each inhale for breathing into the tight or sore areas of your upper back. Practice for at least 10 breaths.
Cat Cow Pose
Start on all fours, hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips, the spine in a neutral position. On your inhale lift your head and sit-bones to the ceiling, belly drops to the floor. On your exhale arch the mid-back towards the ceiling, sit- bones and head drop. Practice for 3 to 5 mins, try to create as much movement as you comfortably can in the spinal column.
Start on all fours, hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips. Rest elbows on the floor, under the shoulders. Move the knees towards the back of your mat approximately 1 foot and open the knees slightly wider than your hip distance. Relax the neck. Interlock the fingers, then lift the hands anywhere from 2 to 8 inches off the mat. Feel the stretch in the upper back and shoulders. As you inhale expand the back of the ribs, try to breathe into the tight spots in the upper back. Practice for at least 8 breaths.
Start standing, feet together hands in prayer position
-inhale reach the arms to the ceiling, lift the ribs away from the pelvis
-exhale bend the knees, draw the hands toward the chest then roll down until the hands are touching the floor, or hanging towards the floor.
-inhale roll up, feel for curling up slowly, one vertebra at a time until fully standing, arms over head.
-exhale hands in front of the chest in prayer position.
Repeat 3 to 5 reps. (If you want more of a workout you can practice sun salutations rolling the spinal column up and down between standing tall and forward folds in the sequence. )
Laying Down Spinal Twist
Start with back flat on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Arms straight out from the shoulders in a T- position or bent at 90 degrees (as pictured). On your exhale draw your knees towards your chest. Keeping both shoulders on the ground as much as possible, on your next exhale lower your knees towards the right armpit. Let the knees and feet relax on the floor. Breathe into the upper and mid-back, feel the back expanding into the floor on each inhale. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side
Lie flat on the floor in a comfortable position. A great option can be placing the feet up the wall, or on a chair. Stay for at least 5 mins.