Watch Points for Back Care

‘Nerves from the spine are directly or indirectly connected to nearly every organ, gland, and muscle in the body via the voluntary and autonomic nervous systems. A healthy spine nourishes and therefore benefits the whole body.’

(Dru Yoga Stillness in Motion p.41)


  • Standing – good posture has a direct impact on all joints and muscles. Become aware of how you stand remembering the wonderful posture of Tadasana (Mountain Posture).
  • Sleeping – good supportive bed. During the night the discs are replenished – a healthy spine is a well nourished spine.
  • Sitting – for too long puts considerable strain on the back particularly the lower back. Ensure you are sitting properly (feet flat on the floor, engaging the core muscles allow the spine to straighten, shoulders back & relaxed, chin level and head upright. Make sure you take breaks to stretch and release the spine.
  • Sports and activities – in the past it was considered important to rest if you had back pain but it is now agreed that some movement is important for maintenance and recovery. Movement of spine particularly backward and forward bends allows the spine to rehydrate and keep flexible.
  • Shoes- good supportive shoes – if feet are painful and sore it will have a detrimental effect on the spine.
  • Good diet – hydration, weight control and a healthy diet will also help your system to keep your back in tip top shape.
  • Red flag signs – if you are in constant pain, high temperature, bladder problems, had a serious fall, muscle weakness, numbness in the leg and any other concern please seek professional help.
  • Special treats – last but certainly not least … your back will always appreciate a massage and its advantages of increasing the blood flow, relaxing and releasing tension/toxins. Maintaining a healthy back should be all about the pleasure factor rather than enduring something you dislike.

‘Long periods of heavy sitting slumped in a ‘C’ shaped posture loads up the discs and is particularly compressive; even more so as the facet joints at the back disengage and the belly lets go at the front. This is noteworthy, because I believe lumbar compression is the background cause of most low-back problems.’

( Back Sufferers’ Bible : Sarah Key’s)

Pelistry Bay


Daily Practice.

Yoga was traditionally taught on a one-to-one basis with the understanding that everyone is an individual with differing requirements. It was only when it was introduced to the west that the class structure appeared to accommodate its mass appeal. Attending a weekly class is more beneficial than nothing but it is also a good idea to have a daily practice. And I am delighted that some have recognized this and would like some guidance. I am passionate that yoga should be used in your daily life and often refer to a yoga toolkit. I have a selection of yoga delights that I call upon from time to time to help me out. In the following weeks I will be putting together some information cards about certain postures and sequences to help you in your daily practice.

Use it or loose it.

For a daily practice you need consider the physical benefits of moving the whole body taking into consideration all muscles and joints. Simply by putting on a favourite piece of lively music and giving yourself at least 5 minutes to warm up the body including twists, moving all joints and backward and forward bends (remember to engage your core muscles). This can be used as alternative to activations during class.


We are so use to dashing about the place that to simply stop often takes more energy than to keep going. People often complain that yoga is too slow or we stand still for too long, but it is only in these ‘still’ points that we can really take the time to understand our body and not forgetting the mind. You will find the more you practice yoga the more you become aware of your body and any small aliments will be picked up before they become more serious.



This forms the foundation posture for all standing asanas and movements. Tadasana awakens our sense of power and strength within, giving a sense of security and purpose. Standing in this posture improves body alignment, releasing pressure of muscles nerves and internal organs. Breathing is enhanced and deepened, resulting in calming both the body and mind.



  1. Stand with feet hip distance apart, toes facing forwards and evenly distribute the weight between both feet. Soften knees, engage core muscles with the sternum uppermost. Relax the shoulders by rolling them back and releasing with the effect of opening the chest. Last but not least….. crown uppermost.

‘Stand in your power’

Take a moment to deepen your breath, breathing up from your feet, allowing the breath to flow up the body to your heart centre and release out through the crown. Breathe in through the crown to the heart and release this breath down into the earth. This is known as vertical alignment breathe and is often used before meditation. Closing your eyes and visualizing the security and majestic pose of a mountain.

Marjariasana (cat)

A healthy spine means healthy, happy life! This asana enhances flexibility within the spine and also tones and stretches the back and abdominal muscles. It nurtures well-being and a positive attitude.



  1. Start on all fours, knees directly underneath the hips, hands underneath the shoulders, knees . Take a moment to extend the spine, relax the shoulders and lengthen the neck

2.  Take your attention to the base of the spine, breathing in gather in the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, and start to curve the spine upwards. Try to move slowly, work with each vertebra as the curve moves up the spine. The head is the last to move, releasing towards the chest.

Cat bertie

  1. Take your attention again to the base of the spine, breathing out, release the tailbone back, allowing the abdominal muscles to release slightly reversing the movement of the spine, allowing it again to extend. Move slowly up the spine, letting the head to be the last to release. Being careful not to exaggerate the curve in the lumbar spine.

Caution – anyone with a hiatus hernia should avoid this posture. Any problems in the lumbar spine please work within your limits. Knee problems – work with cushions underneath the knees.


For those with limited wrist flexibility you can:

Rest on lightly clenched hands either on the floor or chair.  Rest on your forearms either on the floor or chair


Relaxation – at least for 15 minutes

What is happening while you lay still on the floor.

  • Your heart rate will lower
  • Your blood pressure will lower
  • Your breathing rate will relax
  • Your blood flow will increase to major muscles
  • Muscle tension and chronic pain will reduce
  • Improving your concentration
  • Any anger and frustration will reduce
  • Your immune system/healing will increase

It is always a good investment to get a relaxation CD that can talk you through the process. Failing this put on some relaxing music, lay back and relax for 20 minutes to fully benefit.