The seat of Vata is the colon so any signs and symptoms related to that part of the body such as lower back pain, intestinal gas, bloating, cramping, etc can be signs of aggravated Vata Dosha. In the seat of Vata the bone tissue ‘Asthi Dhatu’ is being formed and nourished. This tissue not only gives support and strength to the physical but also to the mental body in terms of having a backbone.
In Ayurvedic terms, this is often referred to as Dharana. The qualities of Dharana are stability, slowness, and peacefulness. If Vata is balanced in its own seat then the body is physically better supported and the psyche feels stronger. Dharana is also the sixth limb of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which here is referred to as concentration. Consequently, to focus the mind we need the above-mentioned qualities of Dharana.
Exercises to strengthen the lower back can relieve and prevent pain in that area as well as reducing stiffness. It further strengthens the legs and core in different ways:
Sthira Sukham Asanam refers to the posture being comfortable and stable. So whatever posture we take we should keep our awareness within and also move our direction towards the pelvic floor area. Certain asanas can support strengthening the lower back and relieving pain such as:
• Cat-Cow: a relaxing, stress relieving pose but highly effective in also relieving lower back pain
• Triangle: waist area muscles including lower back are engaged
• Downward Dog: helps to release tension from the spine and relieves lower back
• Plank: tones your abdominal muscles and strengthens your back
• Camel: creates space between each vertebra in the back and strengthens the core
• Boat Pose: builds muscle strength in the lower abdominal, which supports the back
Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath. The breath is the source of our vital life force, often referred to as prana. Also with the practice of Pranayama one can support the psychological function of Dharana. It steadies the mind and enhances the power of concentration.
An excellent Pranayama to start with is alternate nostril breathing ‘Nadi Shodhana’, it is soothing, grounding and rhythmic. It is opposite to the qualities of Vata Dosha which are dry, cold, light, rough and mobile. It helps to promote clarity, a sense of being fully embodied, tranquility and aids in relieving stress.
Ujjayi Breath, the ocean breath, is also an excellent technique to create an anchor for the mind. Next, to that, it helps to strengthen the digestive and nervous system
If you want to strengthen your lower back start to slowly increase your practice so that it really can form a habit rather than trying to everything all at once and then not having the endurance to go through with it.
This blog post was written by Julia Blohberger from www.juliablohberger.com
Wishing you a healthy back!