Back pain is something that can result from an injury or just poor posture after a certain period of time. Many of us were never taught about having good posture beyond that it makes us look more focused, driven, responsible. When someone tells you “sit up straight!” or “don’t slump so much” it is usually because of the messages slouching postures can send about our character or personality.
But having good posture and learning its assets early in life is something that greatly increases the health of our joints, bones, muscles, our breathing, our blood flow, and our general sense of balance. Practicing good posture is also a great way to insure oneself against back pain in the future. Many of us suffer from various upper and lower back pains simply because our habit is to slouch when it should be to sit with our spine, shoulders, and head in the proper, upright position.
Medical centers, universities, and research institutions all over the world are slowly discovering what has been so integral to yoga for centuries: that sitting straight basically so that the crown of your head is connected by a straight line to your solar plexus and genitals is inherent to health. If these three line up, then your posture is in the state that is most healthy for it.
The Difficulties of Changing Our Habitual Posture
Our postures are largely habitual. The way that we sit down, lay down, stand up, walk, etc., are usually done without us thinking about it. One of the most common ways that we damage our back over the long term is how we sit. As many work sitting down for extended periods of time, this is a very widespread issue.
If our habit is to slouch, then it will be uncomfortable and sometimes painful to sit with our back straight for extended periods of time. However, with some consistent work, we can make the short-term comfort of slouching the long-term comfort of sitting, the way the yogis have discovered for us.
The Impact of Yogic Practice
Having a regular practice where you sit with your back straight, in a chair or on the ground, for a certain period of time, is a great way to get yourself into the practice of habitually sitting that way. At the beginning, it will be painful in the muscles of your lower and mid-back, and this is perfectly natural. You also will find yourself habitually slouching again, but just sit up straight again and keep going. Even if its five minutes a day, that can have a huge impact with consistency.
When you are sitting at your desk at work, you can try this anytime, and practice doing it for longer periods of time. If you can stand the discomfort in your back and continue, you will find rather quickly that it becomes less painful, more natural-feeling, and you will also find yourself habitually going into a slouching position less and less.
Although anyone who has serious back pain should see a doctor or chiropractor, these are some simple things we can all do to alleviate back pain now, as well as to prevent it in the future.
Improving posture and the general health of our spine and back is one of the most immediate and common benefits of yoga. You can begin this practice now, for long-term back health as well as the other benefits of breathing fully and circulation that it endows.
About the Author
Benjamin Norris is a journalist from Bristol, UK, who spends his days lecturing Indian Cultural History at one of Europe’s leading Architecture Universities. He is particularly fascinated by global spiritual cultures and practices, and by many subjects of an esoteric nature. His writing often reflects these interests, and he enjoys little more than delving deeply into unknown worlds of research.
For more of Benjamin’s work, visit Omharmonics.com to read more articles on how meditation can reduce anxietyhttp://www.omharmonics.com/blog/meditation-for-anxiety.