Yoga and Pilates are mind-body disciplines that approach health in a holistic manner. Both practices utilize the breath and concentrated attention to bring awareness to the body. Think of yoga and Pilates as a form of corrective exercise aimed to improve upper back and shoulder comfort by reestablishing proper alignment, developing efficient movement patterns, and releasing hard-to-reach tension. When our muscles do not function properly, other parts of the body compensate to produce movement, thus developing pain.
The back side of the body takes on a lot of tension by working hard to hold us up every day. Research states 80-85% of the population experience back pain at one time in their lives.
Three Common Causes of Upper Back and Shoulder Pain:
- Poor posture, rounding the upper body and straining the spine and muscles
- Muscle overuse, developing tension from sport and job-related activities
- High levels of stress, increasing inflammation due to fight-flight hormones
Benefits of Yoga and Pilates for the Upper Back and Shoulders
- Lowers risk of upper back pain & improves shoulder stability
- Releases tension and stimulates relaxation
- Develops proper postural alignment
- Reestablishes efficient movement by improving strength and flexibility
Three Common Causes of Hip and Low-back Pain
- Poor posture: Weak core and misaligned pelvis strain lumbar spine
- Muscle overuse: Tight hips limit range of motion & strain low back when legs move
- High levels of stress: Increased levels of cortisol, causing chronic inflammation
Benefits of Yoga and Pilates for the Hips and Low Back
- Releases tension and decreases inflammation
- Develops proper postural alignment and re-establishes efficient movement
- Lowers risk of low-back pain
Know that repetition creates change. Most likely, you have developed upper body discomfort over a long period of time. Provided below are some strengthening poses and moves to release some of the tensions you’re carrying in your back, hips and shoulders. With consistent practice, you can release chronic upper back and shoulder tension, develop good posture and increase your overall well being. Start where you are. Be patient. Focus on being comfortable. And enjoy!