Exercises for Back Pain & Knee Pain Relief : Yoga

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Many people believe that rest is best for a painful back, but actually, what your back really needs when it's hurt is exercise. Regular exercise relieves back pain by strengthening and stretching the muscles that support the spine and helps to prevent future injury. This is a use it or lose it situation: the more you rest, the weaker your back gets, even if it is hurt. Studies have actually shown that you can heal your back pain faster and get back to your regular activities with just two days of rest. So let's look at some of the best exercises for relieving back pain.

A good, regular yoga practice will go far in relieving the stress and tension that sometimes cause mild back pain, and in fact, studies have shown that yoga is the number one most effective exercise for relieving back pain. However, not all yoga poses relieve back pain, and some can in fact aggravate existing pain, so it is important to know which poses will be most helpful in relieving back pain. It is best to do these exercises under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor, and if you encounter any problems with these poses, you should consult an expert. Even just one or two sessions with a yoga instructor can help, as an instructor will help you with your form and posture during poses. Here are some of the best yoga poses for relieving back pain. Each pose should be held from five to ten seconds, depending upon your level of comfort, and should be done on a mat or other soft, supportive surface.
CORPSE: Lie flat on your back in a relaxed position, arms resting at your sides, palms down, and legs lying naturally, with knees turned out slightly. If it hurts your back to have your knees turned outward, do this pose with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and out for a few seconds.

WIND-RELEASING POSE : Lie flat on your back as in a Corpse pose. As you inhale, bend your knee, place your hands right below the knee, and draw your leg towards your chest. Your left leg should remain flat on the floor. Exhale and bring your forehead up to touch your knee. Inhale, and then as you exhale, return to your original position. Repeat with the other leg.

FISH POSE : Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Arch your back as far as you comfortably can and raise it off the ground by pushing the floor with your elbows. If you can, tilt your head backwards and rest the crown of your head on the floor. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm and hold pose for one minute if you can.

LOCUST : Lie face down with arms at the side, palms down, and elbows slightly bent with fingers pointing towards the feet. Raise your legs and thighs as high off the ground as possible without causing your back any pain. Hold for one second and repeat up to twelve times. This can be a vigorous exercise so you must take care not to strain the already injured muscles.

BENDING FORWARD POSTURE : Sit with feet together and arms hanging loosely along your sides. Breathe in deeply and raise your arms straight above your head. While breathing out, bend forward and touch your toes if you can. If you can't reach your toes, grab hold of your ankles or calves. To complete the pose, you should touch your head to your knees, but this may be too difficult for many who suffer from lower back pain. Your movements during this pose should be smooth, not jerky.

SPINE TWIST : Sit with your legs slightly more than hip width apart and your arms extended out to the sides. Inhale, tighten your abs, and sit up very straight as if you are trying to touch your head to the ceiling. Now exhale and turn to the right as far as you comfortably can. This exercise is to increase your back mobility only, so do not stretch your back muscles. Inhale and return to your starting position. Repeat this exercise on your left side.

Cobra pose : stretch both the legs backwards as shown in figure, keep 12 inch distance between both the elbows, in this posture relax all the muscles, continue normal breathing.

Yoga for the Knees - Keep Your Knees Strong & Flexible
Located at the middle part of the human legs, the knees are used for support and locomotion. It is composed of the bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Having no bone to bone stability and an unstable joint, the knees are sensitive and vulnerable to alignment. Knee injuries caused by strenuous activities such as sports are Arthritis or Osteoarthritis which is the most common form of arthritis; Bursitis, Strain or Sprain and Tendonitis which is the most common knee injury having swollen and injured tendons. In order to avoid these injuries, remember to warm up and cool down, have a good stretch and a good form during physical activity. One risk factor is being overweight or Obesity. As for athletes, a knee injury would cause them to stop playing because joint mobility is important in every sport. It will take about three weeks to six months of recovery before the knees can work properly again. Visit our Fitness site for more information about Warming-up and Cooling-down.
Treatments for knee injury will depend on how severe the injury is. Some injury may require only pain relievers, physical therapy or exercise programs while severe injuries may require knee surgery. Yoga is one way of treating knee injury. The following are some treatments for knee injuries:
Take note that pushing yourself to pain is not the best way to recover. Yoga is practiced only during recovery and not when the injury is still new. It is practiced only to guide you in recovery and in improving the health of your knees. Doctor's advice is still preferable before practicing Yoga.
The following are the Yoga poses to help you get the best of your Knees - making it stronger, more flexible and less prone to injuries.

Yoga Exercise - Corpse Pose (Savasana) : The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a Final Relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform. (See Fig. 1)

Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) : The term Pavanamuktasana comes from the Sanskrit word 'pavana' which means air or wind and 'mukta' which means freedom or release. The Wind Relieving Pose works mainly on the digestive system. Specifically, it helps in eliminating excess gas in the stomach. (See Fig. 2)
Stand Spread Leg Forward Fold : Practicing the Standing Spread Leg Forward Fold can strengthen and stretch your inner and back legs and your spine. People with lower back problems should avoid doing the full forward bend. For beginners, you may use props like a folding chair to support your forearms.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) : In Hindu art, the triangle is a potent symbol for the divine principle, and it is frequently found in the yantras and mandalas used for meditation.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) : This Yoga Pose improves spinal flexibility and strengthens the muscles in the arms and back. In addition, it is effective in relieving menstrual irregularities and constipation. Learn how to perform the Cobra Pose in this section.

Single Leg Raises : This Yoga Pose is performed in order to prepare the body for other exercises. It benefits the legs, lower back muscles, and abdominal area. In practicing the Single Leg Raise, one leg is raised while the other one stays on the floor.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana) : If the Cobra Pose works mainly on the upper back, the Locust Pose targets the lower part. This posture also strengthens the abdominal area, arms, and legs. Another thing that makes it different from many poses is that it entails rapid movement. (See Fig. 4)
Take note that pushing yourself to pain is not the best way to recover. Yoga is practiced only during recovery and not when the injury is still new. It is practiced only to guide you in recovery and in improving the health of your knees. Doctor's advice is still preferable before practicing Yoga.