Three Steps To Healing Your Back From Lower Back Injury in Yoga
When I first found yoga, I was elated to have a “workout” that combined strength, flexibility, and mindset. I’d attend Vinyasa classes in the heat, stretch my body out, then rinse and repeat the next day. I was hooked.
I think a lot of us go through this when we first find a studio and teacher we love.
I did this for several years. At the same time, Instagram yogis were BLOWING UP. There were yoga challenges every other week all featuring new postures to contort my body into. I loved the challenge.
I had heard in my teacher training stories of yogis pushing themselves to the point of injury, but I never thought it would happen to me. I did, after all, come from a gymnastics and cheer background. Ok, it was one year, but I was bendy!
I’m sure you see where this is going...I was wrong.
Unfortunately, without proper guidance (because a photo is not enough to safely attempt poses) my lower back, spine and shoulders suffered.
The worst was my lower back.
It wasn’t an immediate searing pain, it was the slow signs of inflammation.
It was the day after a class when I’d feel uncomfortable laying down or unable to sit for long periods of time without feeling a need for a hip-opener.
I knew something wasn’t right, but I kept pushing forward.
Eventually, the pain grew to be so bad, I could hardly sit for more than 10 minutes without feeling tingles in my lower back. It was beyond uncomfortable.
So, I did the one thing that you NEVER want to do as a yogi.
I stopped practicing.
As a yoga teacher, I felt like this was one of the worst things I could do for my teaching. By not attending classes, I was cutting off a source of inspiration and connection to my own intuition and creativity. I needed to get back.
I know I’m not the only one that has suffered through a lower back injury from yoga, so I wanted to share what I’ve done to help get me back on my mat. I hope these tools help you to find relief and I hope my story reminds you that the importance is not in the pose, it is in the breath and the awareness that is developed from your yoga practice.
Here are the top 3 things that have helped my lower back injury from yoga:
1 - Be Gentle
This sounds like a no brainer, but you don’t need to push it in your 60 minute studio class. Honestly, you’re not given enough time to really warm up one area of the body because you are moving quickly through postures and most teachers aren’t teaching from the perspective of preparing you for one peak pose.
If there are certain advanced postures and bends you want to attempt, do so on your own time and research the poses necessary to warm up to whatever pose you are attempting.
For example, if you want to work your way to full wheel, prepping with camel, spinal twists, quadricep opening, heart openers, and wrist stretches are going to be the safest way to shift into a pose with minimal risk.
There are tons of guides online that will provide you with a series of stretches that can lead you to more advanced poses. Google is your friend.
2 - CBD!
Yes, yes, yes! I am SO excited to start talking about CBD. To be honest, I never really knew enough or had enough experience taking it to weigh in, but now that I’ve been taking it consistently, it’s safe to say this is a major game changer especially if you find the right brand.
I’ve been using Athletix CBD Oil and this brand is next level for anything inflammation, recovery, or injury related. Athletix is a combination of premium CBD Hemp Oil, Magnesium, Glutamine, Zinc, and Vitamin B so it’s formulated specifically for muscle recovery.
It is non-psychoactive so you don’t get high from it. I’ve been taking it every day and not only is my back feeling better, but my anxiety has been curbed too. I really love this brand since it is formulated for athletes and works to not only put a bandaid over the pain, but remove it as well.
3 - Weight Training
I know, I know, some yogis avoid the gym like the plague and I get it. Bright lights and the clunking sound of weights is not ideal. However, I’ve found that strengthening my lower body with weight training has allowed me to build muscle in the legs and back.
This has been super powerful because my lower back is no longer weak and I’ve found I’m supporting myself whenever I lift anything outside of the gym. I feel like it also helps to build form too which is easy to lose when we are in a yoga class.
For those of you that are struggling with an injury from yoga, don’t be discouraged, just be mindful! Go slow and be gentle with yourself when you are in class and take the necessary precautions just like any other athlete outside of the studio to make sure your body is healing. If you guys have any questions about CBD or the exercises I do at the gym, leave a comment below! Happy flowing!