Gentle Yoga for Back Pain

Gentle Yoga for Back Pain Relief & Prevention contains two 30 minute yoga workouts by Jessica Smith. The routines were designed in conjunction with a back pain specialist. The first yoga routine is a very gentle but thorough stretching routine. Though the focus is on your spine, Jessica stretches out everything–upper and lower body. The second yoga routine is still gentle, but more strenuous than the first. There is some balance moves and you move through full poses and even some flows. Throughout both routines you will get pop ups with spine factoids from the pain specialist. Sometimes those factoids also tell you about the benefits of whatever pose you are doing. The majority of the pop ups appear in Session 1, but there are some in Session 2, too.

I really enjoyed these workouts. I do not currently suffer from constant or even chronic back pain but many years ago when I was in my late 20s, I did have constant and chronic back pain. That ended when I started working out every day. But now that I am older (late 40s now), my back does occasionally “go out”–sometimes in a big way. So I always welcome finding routines like these to help take care of my back.

The DVD lets you choose the sessions by themselves and it also has a play all option that plays both sessions back to back for a 66 minute yoga routine. I did the play all option the first time I did this workout and I got a surprisingly thorough stretch and some nice body weight strength work, too. I really enjoyed it. I have been working very hard all week doing Cathe‘s Fit Split workouts and yesterday was a tough workout by Yvette Bachman (HIIT, Cardio Core, Weights and Bosu Ball) so I was really looking forward to taking it easy today. This routine was a perfect recovery day routine.

Session 1: Yoga for Back Pain Relief is 33 minutes long. Equipment: a mat, a chair, a yoga block, a yoga strap (or long towel), a rolled towel (or blanket). Start in mountain pose w/ eyes closed. Spine extensions (arch spine back w/ palms on small of back). Hinge forward with hands on seat of chair. Straight arm plank w/ hands on chair, lower hips so you are in cobra. Sit on chair w/ legs wide and hands reached behind you, holding the back of the chair and arching/extending back. Lace fingers behind back and lift arms, hinging torso forward (legs are still wide). Sit on edge of of chair, cross ankle over knee and hinge torso forward (seated pigeon). Cross legs with thighs together now and do eagle arms. Stand, holding strap behind back and raise arms keeping strap taut. Using the strap, do a tricep stretch, one arm overhead and the other at mid back (part of the strap in each hand). Sit on mat and do butterfly pose with rolled towel behind you. Keeping legs in butterfly, lay back on towel (towel under lower back). Bridge pose (move towel away while in bridge). Extended puppy pose (on knees and forearms, lowering upper body, forehead to mat). On all 4s, place yoga block between feet then raise torso, kneeling and sitting bottom on block w/ spine straight (modified hero pose). Lay on back and wrap strap around the bottom of one foot, raise and lower straight leg; open and close straight leg out to the side (inner thigh stretch); changes to bringing straight leg across to other side of body (hip/outer thigh stretch). Lay on stomach w/ strap still around foot and bend knee, pulling strap over shoulder. (quad/hip flexor stretch) Reclining pigeon. In and out of sphinx or cobra pose. Corpse pose w/ block under knees and towel under small of back.

Session 2: Yoga for Back Pain Prevention is 33 minutes long. Equipment: a mat, a yoga strap, a rolled towel (or blanket). Jessica does modified versions of many of the moves but since I am able to do full versions, that is what I did. Start standing in mountain pose. Open the chest, bringing arms behind you. Reach arms overhead, extending spine. Stand on one leg, the other raised and bent in front of you; straighten extended leg and raise other arm overhead; bring extended leg straight behind you (still standing on one leg). Forward fold, step back to plank, to down dog. Walk hands toward feet and hang torso forward in rag doll then roll up to standing. Repeat open chest/spine extension series from beginning. Forward fold to plank to down dog. Step one leg between hands and so you are in a low lunge, place hands on front thigh then reach arms overhead (crescent pose). Child’s pose (or modified puppy pose). Yogi or tricep push up (she has you hover and hold several times). Down dog. Crescent pose. Eagle pose. Sit on towel or blanket if needed and cross legs so one knee is on top of the other; do a tricep stretch using strap w/ both hands behind back (one bent behind head, the other bent at mid back). On hands and knees, extend one leg straight behind you and the opposite arm in front of you (bird dog). Cat/cow stretch. Lay on back w/ rolled up towel under small of back, knees bent, feet on floor and hands behind head, do slow controlled crunches. Lay on stomach with fingers interlaced at small of back, raise chest and legs (locust pose). Lay on side and lift and lower straight top leg; bend top leg and place knee/leg on floor and rotate chest to floor, opening into half frog pose. Lay on stomach w/ legs extended straight and arms extended straight overhead, raise one arm and opposite leg, alternate arms/legs (swimming). Sphinx pose. Elbow plank. Flow in and out of cobra then hold. Still laying on stomach w/ rolled up towel under forehead and arms extended straight, hold this pose (reverse corpse pose).

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