Let’s consider Three Principles of Living Free of Back Pain from a holistic mind-body perspective:
1) Center of balance
It may not be as easy to find your center of gravity as you may think. When properly balanced, your pelvis is in alignment with your head and feet. From a side view, the ankles, hips, and ears should all form one straight line. Generally, it is possible to discover areas, poses, and series to retrain the body in order to find the center axis of alignment. When you’re aligned, there’s more balance and ease in your body, mind, and breathing.
Deep breathing is a learned skill and is one of the best strategies for calming and strengthening the mind and body. Learning the habit of deep breathing is first done through awareness of breathing. The mind affects breathing more than we think. When the mind is disturbed or restless, our breathing becomes shallow, irregular, and we lose our rhythm. The exhalation breath is key to healing low back issues, because in a complete exhale breath, the core muscles are engaged. This not only increases strength and tone in the thoracic diaphragm, it also tones a lesser-known diaphragm – the pelvic diaphragm.
3) Strengthening deep core muscles
Strength in deep core muscles improves posture, balance, and breathing. As a result, one finds oneself more easily balanced in one’s center of gravity. Deep core muscles, which include a tent of muscles around the torso, support the spine. Also, the pelvic floor muscles are considered to be key trunk stabilizers, and they are often left out. Strengthening these muscles not only maintains center of balance, but also engages diaphragmatic breathing.One can bring visible and dynamic change to the targeted area. Core strength determines performance in one’s life activities and sports, and can have additional health benefits. Many daily activities (such as vacuuming the floor, for example) require us to maintain, as best we can, the function of bending and lifting. For this, strong core muscles are required to protect and maintain stability in the spine and to prevent injury to the lower back.
There is a synergy between these 3 principles and they are considered to be keys to treating and preventing low back pain. One enhances the other and together they are key to adapting to the stresses and strains of life. In workshops presented by Julia Lorimer and Mitchell Kauk, PT OCS, RYT, each principle is addressed in terms of the mind and the body’s approach with the ultimate goal of having an integrated understanding.
This article on principles for living without back pain is co-written by Julia Lorimer and Mitchell Kauk, PT, OCS, RYT .
Julia Lorimer, e-RYT-500, Pain Relief Specialist teaches yoga workshops for addressing chronic pain. She co-teaches with Mitchell Kauk, PT, OCS, RYT yoga workshops– Living without Back Pain. She also offers Special Asana Series Workshops for exploring these and other principles further.