Which type of yoga/pilates is good for beginners with recurring lower back pain?

I would like to start exercising regularly to strengthen my back muscles.
Asked by giramel

9 answers

Top answer
Hi Giramel - we would normally recommend one of the gentler types of Yoga for beginners (e.g. Scaravelli or Hatha) - with the proviso that you should always discuss any recurring pain with your tutor before the class begins. For both Yoga & Pilates, classes are usually graded, so always start with the correct Beginners level class in order that you receive all the basic elemental steps, and don't try to go too fast. Enjoy your journey!
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The Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs course is based on the largest scientific study of yoga ever conducted. Researcher from the University of York found this course of 12 classes (plus homework) to be more effective than all other commonly recommended treatments for back pain. I teach it in North London, there are teachers nationwide who are qualified to teach these specialist classes.
Hi Giramel,
hope you have found the exercise method that help you with your back back problems. In case you haven't found yet, here is my advice.
First of all, have a health professional ( either GP or Physio ) to check what's wrong. If they are ok, with you exercising, then I would suggest you start with a beginner Pilates class.
Pilates is great for back problems, and I get clients all the time, telling me that their lower back ache gets better or disappear when they regularly attend Pilates classes and reappear or get worst when the stop for a long period of time.
Pilates is also generally recommended by health professional for lower back problems. Said, that, everybody is different, so check first.
There are different schools of Pilates around, so always check that you start with a beginner class or course first, so you learn the fundamentals.
Also, private lessons, can help, for either learning the fundamentals or get a training programme which is tailored to your own body needs, therefore more effective.
I do teach privately in London, and you can contact me through here, if you like.
Hope this help,
definitely Iyengar yoga. It works on alignment and creating space between vertebrae.
Hope this helps, My LoTus, Edinburgh
Firstly I would suggest that you get permission from your health practitioner if you want to start either Pilates or Yoga as you don't want to aggravate the problem. If they say you are OK to go ahead you should find an instructor who is qualified to be able to give advice on which exercises are right for you.
I would advise against joining a large class and try to find someone who gives 1-1 sessions so they can concentrate on just you and your back. Pilates is great for strengthening the core and the back and shoulder muscles, which will help prevent re-occurance of the problem.
I have a website http://www.pilates2goonline.com where you will find ebooks to download which teach all the classic Pilates moves starting with complete beginners up to advanced level, but you should have a few sessions with a good teacher before you do anything on your own - just to make sure it is right for you. Good luck
If you have recurring lower back pain I would suggest that finding a teacher who offers a mix of disciplines is the key to sucess.
I teach Fitness Pilates, Fitness Yoga and Bio Mechanics. I also am able to take clients who are referred from their GP with specific conditions and am working towards a Lower Back Pain Specialist Certificate. If you can find someone in your area with this type of qualification they are likely to be able to offer you the type of session you require.
In my experience more clients find a benefit from Pilates than from Yoga. This is mainly due to the more extensive range of movement and forward/back flexion that Yoga requires.
Lower back pain often originates from dysfunction within the gluteus muscles. Bio Mechanic release techniques can make a huge difference in encouraging these muscles to relax. You may also find that a sport massage will help release the tightness in these muscles. The disadvantage with yoga is that if the gluteus muscles are tight and then you try to stretch them the back muscles will be stressed causing more pain.
If you can also find a Low Back Pain Specialist teaching yoga or pilates they are likely to be able to adapt the exercises/positioning to accomodate you ensuring improvement and reducing stress on your back.
A small class will be essential so that you can ensure that your teacher understands your range of movement and limitations.
Good luck, and remember that exercise is the best way to look after your back. Find a class and keep it up:)
You may want to check Iyengar yoga or Hatha yoga, also some of yoga studios have Back Care Yoga.Simple back & abs exercises from pilates would be great to combine with your yoga practice , but not the whole pilates class ,as most of abdominal exercises would hurt lower back, before it gets stronger. You may need to take 60-80% of the class for couple of weeks first. Some suggestions : From Yoga : downward facing dog with the support of the wall(stretches back muscles),half bridge pose,gentle upward-facing dog for strength & childs pose for relaxation of back muscles ;gentle breast stroke from pilates,gentle Swan-Dive & gentle variation of swimming,alternate arm & leg lifts. And must stretch after each exercise .
This are just small suggestions , don't do it on your own if you have never done pilates or yoga before.Hire a trainer or go to the class & mention your current back condition!
Hope this helps, Good Luck !
Hi There,
I'm a Pilates teacher, I do teach beginners, all the Pilates movements is to strengthen the lower back, back, joins, core. And a lot of the movements lengthen muscles that are tight and shorten. I teach in crouch end Wend at 1h30 - 2h30 and on Tue 10h15 -11h15. And I will teach very soon in Bethnal green. I do teach privately to.
I am a yoga teacher and have practiced Pilates as well. Yoga is good for all muscles in the body, and will strenghten the back and also release unnecessary tension which is often the cause of pain (Pilates is more about strenghtening abdominal muscles, but also helpful for back health, and is largely based on a selection of yoga postures). Yoga will also emphasise relaxation and stress relief, and depending on the teacher, breathing techniques and meditation and is more of a holistic practice. Yoga classes will range from very traditional, possibly including chanting, to a more secular, contemporary approach. In either case, make sure you go to an accredited, trained teacher and don't be afraid to quiz them about that their classes involve. For yoga, look out for British Wheel of Yoga teachers (postcode finder to find your nearest teacher on http://www.bwy.org.uk) or the Yoga Alliance. Other BWY accredited teacher training organisations include Mandala Yoga Ashram, Satyananda (Satyananda UK-Ireland), Centre for Yoga Studies, Inner Yoga Trust, Yogacampus, The Yoga Academy, Triyoga, Sadhana Mala, London Yoga Teacher Training and the The Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation. For Pilates, take a look at http://www.pilatesfoundation.com Remember that it is not a legal requirement to be trained and anyone can set up as a yoga or pilates teacher so it is useful to use these resources and ask teachers about their training. There is lots of good teaching practice out there but also uninformed/inexperienced/untrained teaching practice.
Start with a gentle, slow beginners class if you can, or a small group class, for either yoga or pilates, so you can get the techniques right. Last but not least, you may well need to shop around, try different teachers. Classes, approaches and teaching styles can be vastly different in both yoga and pilates. It is important to find a class and teacher that suits you so you are more likely to enjoy it, benefit and stick with it.
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