Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ohhh, My Achy Back!


Do you have an achy back? Have you already done the do-see-do with your medical team and got the all clear? Maybe the culprit is tight hips!
Many peeps come to the studio with stories of how their backs are stiff and tight, but their doctor hasn’t found anything wrong. To this, I ask them one question….What do you do for a living?
The most common reply…Sit at a desk all day.
Okay, folks. I’m not a doctor, nor am I authorized to give out any medical advice. That being said, let me share some of the stories from students I have.
Sally came to the studio with complaints of a stiff lower back. She also said she sits at a desk all day and has a two-hour daily commute to and from work. Here’s what she did. Sally came to Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow for three months, faithfully twice a week. After three months, I reconnected with her and learned that her back was feeling great and she didn’t suffer from back tension anymore. So what changed? Her Psoas muscles!
Hip Flexors are a hidden source of low back tension. They are located at the front of the hips and are meant to shorten and lengthen to accommodate the movements of the spine. When these muscles are shortened by sitting too often, it makes it difficult for them to lengthen, which allows for full mobility of the spine. The solution? Lengthen them!
Now here’s the skinny. They didn’t shorten overnight, and they are not going to lengthen overnight. Like all great things, it takes time. By implementing a regular practice, Sally was able to stretch her psoas muscles through isotonic and isometric exercises. Isotonic movements are dynamic movements found in Vinyasa Flow and isometric are movements held longer in Hatha Yoga. By giving her body a chance to extend and flex through her practice, her body started working for her, instead of against her. You see, with shortened hip flexors, a game of tug of war ensues with the back. This can be witnessed by sitting for a long time and upon standing, reaching for the low back for that familiar tightness most of us know all too well.
So if you have the all clear from your Doc and are ready to help your body feel better…take the Pepsi challenge! Implement a yoga practice into your routine and see how you feel after a few months. What do you have to lose?
As with any exercise routine, please get clearance from your physician.
Michelle Rae Sobi is certified by the American Council on Exercise and offers teacher training for Pilates I, Pilates II and Yoga I. Want to get to know your body more? Join us and learn about the body from the inside out. She is also an RYT 500, RYS 200, PRYS and RYS 500.