Originally Published on 20/4/2020
All Too Common..
The lower back is an area that often gets painful for many of us at some point in our lives, especially now that most of us spend so much time working and studying, ehem desk jobs, that requires a whole day of sitting.
Your lower back supports the whole upper body, so taking care of it is kind of important.
Whether we have to sit a lot during the day or whether we move a lot, bending and picking up heavy or awkward items – the lumbar region can get affected.
Sitting less, moving more, stretching, and strengthening the back goes a long way to preventing pains from developing. If you also have the same problem then we have 3 yoga swing positions to help.
Yoga Helps With Lower Back Issues
Degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine, including loss of disc space and disk herniation, facet arthrosis, and general lumbar spondylosis are all quite common especially as we age.
Yoga is a great way to manage and reduce symptoms of these issues and in some cases help heal the affected area altogether. Aside from other methods such as anti-inflammatory medications, seeking osteopathic or any other medical treatments, adding the appropriate exercise in your routine will help speed up your recovery and yoga might be it for you!
However, this article is to introduce aerial yoga swing positions to you, as we’ve found that using an aerial hammock or yoga swing can be extremely beneficial and can boost the effects of mat yoga in easing lower back pain and sciatica. It’s literally getting a helping hand without the involvement of another person!
This is because the swing supports your body, essentially making the postures non-weight bearing, enabling a safe stretch.
Aerial Yoga can also help people who are recovering from minor to major injuries. According to Franklin Square, Physical Therapists from around the world found that yoga is beneficial in terms of autonomic nervous system relaxation, increased flexibility, improved strength, and psychological healing!
Ultimate Home Traction Equipment
Studies show that incorporating traction, flexion, and passive mobility in non-weight-bearing positions can do a lot toward easing your lower back pain.
An important feature of the yoga swing is it allows for full or partial inversion, which makes it the ultimate lower-back traction device, as it elongates your spine and is incredibly effective at relieving spinal dysfunctions and back pain from a variety of sources.
Let’s have a quick get-to-know about yoga swings first. Yoga swings involve specialized fabrics that are tear resistant and comfortable to use in workouts that involve skin-to-skin contact.
It is attached using special bearings to your ceiling. But! Please don’t attempt on installing one on your own if you are not familiar. It’s best to consult a professional.
So, going back…
It is an excellent device to help reduce sciatic nerve pain, especially if it is due to any type of compression issue or joint imbalance or muscular tension, or postural fault. That was a lot of medical and probably unfamiliar terms, but what we’re trying today here is that it helps decompress your spine due to prolonged sitting or generally bad posture (Don’t worry, that’s fine! We’ll help you through it).
Below are three of our favorite yoga swing positions that offer great relief for the pain, as well as provide great preventative care for the future.
Your first pose is the perfect warmup as you gently mobilize the area. This is a great stretch to do before getting out of bed in the mornings.
A twist to the spine offers a great tension reliever for the entire back, as well as the neck. You get to lie down, relax and let gravity help you.
Lay on your back, bring your arms to a T-shape on the floor and bring your knees towards your chest.
Place your lower legs into the swing and allow them to be supported. When taking legs to the side, bent legs are supported in the swing throughout the movement.
Slowly lower both knees to one side, keeping the neck neutral or turning the gaze away from the knees.
Try to keep both shoulders on the floor, and if the top knee lifts too much, you can place a block or a bolster between the knees. Stay anywhere between 1-4 minutes, and repeat on the other side.
Downward Facing Dog is a great pose for lengthening and decompressing the entire spine.
It is perfect for stretching the hamstrings which are most helpful with easing lower back issues. Usually, you would start from the floor on your hands and knees then rise to Downward Dog.
In this case, using the swing, stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart, and align the swing with your hip bones.
Start with your knees bent, bend over forward allowing the swing to take your weight. Place both hands on the ground, and walk your hands outstretched in front of you, palms flat on the mat.
Back straight and long, tailbone towards the ceiling. Slowly straighten and stretch one leg at a time back bringing the heel closer to the ground (you can use blocks under the heels).
Draw the shoulder blades towards the spine and actively try to lower them, rotating your upper arms outwards. Stay for 5 breaths. You can repeat this a few times as needed.
Yoga Swing Pelvic Traction / Inversion Therapy
For those new, to inversion, it is important to learn and practice gradually. Please see our inversion safety page for contraindications and consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns.
Start with partial inversions low to the floor, with just enough angle between your upper body and the swing so that you feel a gentle tug on your hip joint and low back.
Both the level of inversion (height from the floor) and time spent in an inverted position can gradually be increased over time. When you are used to doing this, you can stay in inversion for three to ten minutes for positive results.
To begin, lower your yoga swing about 6 inches off the ground and take a seat at the edge of the fabric.
While holding the handles, lean back and lower your upper back and head on the floor, simultaneously wrapping your legs around the swing and releasing your grip from the handles.
Adjust the swing as needed, either pushing it to lower down the back or spreading it out wider over the hips. Shift yourself back away from the swing further to create more traction in the hip joint.
Close your eyes and relax. Of the 3 yoga swing positions, this is my favorite!
Gravity is pulling on your body weight to gently realign the spine in this pose, allowing for spinal decompression as well as traction in the hip joint.
This sustained pull on the hip joint will allow surrounding muscles in the low back, abdomen, tops of the legs, and lower glutes to relax and open.
Of course you can progress numerous variations such as inverted star pose, or inverted pigeon pose.
It’s Not Just For Yoga
An often overlooked aspect of back pain, especially in the lumbar region is lack of back, leg and core strength. If you have weak back or abdominal muscles, you may be more prone to back strain, and in some cases, chronic back pain is a result of poor posture.
The muscles in your back help keep your spine moving as it should, and strong muscles are so important for overall health and mobility.
Although yoga is also good for strengthening, you can receive accelerated improvement for back pain by using the yoga swing for your daily strength training workout, targeting the supporting muscles of the back.
Your yoga swing is not just for aerial yoga! It can also double as a suspension training equipment for strengthening, and/or rehabilitation. We have our aerial fitness video and other resources available on our website that focuses on this further, so check them out.
Likewise, if you are looking for an effective device for rehab purposes for issues arising from lower back injury, then the yoga swing is a fantastic option to support your body and allow you to perform any strengthening or mobility exercises recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.
So there you have it, the yoga swing is multi-purpose not just for fitness, but for leisure as well. Simply use as a hammock for resting, reading your favorite book, or for a spontaneous afternoon nap which can also have positive affects on back pain, and it is also great to share for friends or family members to try!
Make These Yoga Swing Positions A Daily Practice!
Practice these three yoga swing positions every day for the next month and you´ll feel – Amazing!
Chronic back pain builds up over time, so take it slow and dedicate yourself to these stretches. Believe me, whenever I start to neglect my yoga swing exercises, I start to feel those back twinges, so make it a priority and you won’t regret it.
You can build your own aerial yoga community from work or from the comforts of your own home. It is suitable for all ages and is a fun and productive activity for everyone. Even your kids can try it too! Aerial Yoga is a good way to introduce them to exercise in a creative and unique way.
By implementing traction, flexion, and mobility exercises such as the combination of these yoga swing positions, a healthy diet and minimizing weight gain, along with strength training, anyone can prevent and ease low back pain as they age!
By allotting even an hour for yoga, your body will surely feel freer and lighter. All the best :)