Popular Yoga Poses To Strengthen Your Upper Back

With all the activities we engage in on a daily basis, we often develop upper back pain or discomfort. These are postures, like sitting in front of a computer for a long time, that cause unhealthy stretching or tensing of muscles and this often results in unbearable pain. If we do not address this pain while in its early stages, it could result in more severe conditions over time. But there is yoga for strengthening the upper back. Yoga will also help relieve any existing back pain. According to PubMed, yoga provides your body with the exercise it needs to strengthen your upper back and alleviate any pain in the same region.

Here are some postures you can practice if you want a strong upper back:

  1. Sun Salutation. This sequence is also referred to as Surya Namaskar or Salute to the Sun. The style comprises twelve continuous poses that begin with standing on your yoga mat and bringing your palms in prayer position (Anjali Mudra) and exhaling. Then raise your arms as you inhale and bring palms together. As you exhale, bend forward to touch your feet with your hands. Now lift your chin a little and step your right leg back. Now step your left leg back too – keep your legs and spine in a linear position and support your body weight with your feet and hands while you exhale (Chattauranga Dandasana). This movement is similar to a push-up. Now lower your knees followed by the chest and then your forehead while retaining your breath and curling your toes under and keeping hips up. Then inhale and move your chest forward, roll your shoulders back and look slightly up (keep length at the back of the neck), arm straight and pushing hands down and slightly backward (Upward facing dog). Curl your toes under and lift your hips to downward facing dog, then inhale as you step your right leg forward with the foot between your hands. Now step the left foot forward too.  Inhale and stretch your hands over your head then gently bend backward from the waist. Bring your hands back to your heart centre in prayer position.  Repeat with the other leg.
  2. The Ardha Matsyendrasana or half spinal twist is another yoga pose that will guarantee you a strong and healthy upper back. To do this, sit in a cross legged position. Keeping the spine long but soft, lift either the right or left leg over the bent knee placing the foot against the outside of the bent bottom knee with its heel close to your buttocks. If this is intense, just straighten the bottom leg. Now stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder level as you twist around. Hug the knee in. Then do the other side.
  3. The Easy Pose is perhaps the most common Yoga style that will help in strengthening your upper back. Here, sit on your Yoga mat or simply on the floor. The most vital aspect is that the ground be flat. Next, cross your legs with your feet below your knees and place your hands on the knees. For more comfort, you can use a thick cushion for this Yoga pose; especially if you are just beginning. Keep your head and spine soft but erect.
  4. Shoulder stretches are also very helpful for a stronger upper back and shoulders. All you need to do is sit in any desirable position with the spine erect with the help of a sufficiently long strap, stretch arms forward as you inhale. Move your arms up till they are overhead and bring them down behind you as you exhale.

For all the above Yoga poses, use the assistance of an instructor or yoga straps for safety. With continuous practice, you will have a strong upper back within no time. Never push past pain.  Pain is a warning system and needs to be heeded.  These asanas (postures) will give you a firm upper back and also provide relaxation which is essential for brain development and general health. The beauty of it is that yoga can be practiced by anyone regardless of age or anything else.

Source: http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice and PubMed 


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