Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Have you heard about spinal decompression therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is a form of therapy that works to alleviate back pain by releasing pressure in the spinal joints. Spinal decompression therapy tractions the spine. There are two main types of spinal decompression therapy- nonsurgical and surgical. Some doctors recommend spinal decompression therapy for back pain caused by worn spinal joints, injured spinal nerve roots and bulging and herniated discs.
In yoga, postures are commonly used to help improve the health of the spine. Yoga postures contribute to good spinal health in part because they move the spine through all of its movements- spinal flexion, extension and rotation. Some yoga postures also gently traction the spine. In Forrest yoga, there are yoga poses and key basic moves that help lengthen the spine while increasing flexibility in the muscles that support the back. Below are a few of these postures - they are not all unique to Forrest yoga and most are practiced in other yoga styles. Practice these postures separately or as part of a sequence. Checking in with your doctor first before trying any new exercises is always recommended.
DOWNWARD DOG BREATHING INTO THE LOWER BACK
Come on to your hands and knees, start with your wrists under the shoulders and your knees under your hips. On an inhale curl your toes under and straighten the legs as much as you comfortably can. Press down through the hands and as you exhale reach the hips back in the direction of your heels. This should create a gentle traction through the spine. Focus on your lower back, as you inhale feel the muscles in the lower back expanding. As you exhale pull the belly in and continue to reach gently through the hips. Work with your knees bent if you need to. Sometimes working with the knees bent may also deepen the stretch in the lower back. Stay for as many breaths as feels good to you.
BACK TRACTION IN CHAIR POSE
Starting standing, open your feet about hips distance apart and brace the heels of your hands on the crease where your thighs and pelvis meet. Bend your knees and on your exhale tuck your tailbone- this small movement in the pelvis sends your sit-bones towards the floor. On your inhales, lift each rib away from the diaphragm, on your exhales pull the belly in, try to keep the lift in your chest. Press your hands firmly down. Your shoulders will move up towards your ears and your arms should be as straight as you can get them without discomfort. Stay for a few breaths. There should be no pain in this posture.
TWISTING HORSE STANCE
Open your legs approximately 3 feet apart and bend your knees. Rest your hands on your mid thighs. Inhale and lift your chest away from the diaphragm, exhale and move your right shoulder towards your left knee, twisting the core. With both hands pressing firmly into your thighs, inhale and continue to lift the ribs moving the ribs towards the left knee, as you exhale pull your belly in gently tuck the tailbone down to the floor. Breathe into the lower back for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back, draw your knees towards your chest, knees bent. Have your ankles over your knees. The knees are at least hip- width apart. Grab your big toes or inner feet. Depending on your flexibility you may need to use a strap to grab your feet. You may also want to pad your lower back to prevent discomfort while lying on the floor. Inhale into your belly and lower back, feel the lower back muscles expanding as you inhale. Stay for a few breaths.
RECLINING CHILD'S POSE
Lie on your back, draw your knees in towards your chest. Grab hold of either your knees, the back of your hamstrings or your shins. Inhale into the belly and lower back. Feet the lower back muscles expanding as you inhale. Stay for a few breaths.
Lying in savasana after these postures for a few minutes with the knees bent is an excellent transitional exercise to do before moving into the rest of your day! Sign up for our newsletters here to receive more self-care information!