In studies it is shown that about 80% have big problems with their back sometimes in their life. This is also something I hear from my students in my classes and from women with endometriosis & pelvis pain.
When it comes to lower back pain it is important to take a closer look what causes the problem.
There can be so many underlying causes for this: Bad postures, misalignment in the pelvis, weak muscles, stiffness, emotional problems, stress, sitting too much and moving too little etc.
I also think that sometimes you need to do parallel treatment. I do that sometimes. For example you can go to a physiotherapist that helps you with your problem and at the same time you do a yoga program that suits your issues. Or you go to a chiropractor and keep a personal yoga program or relaxation exercise at the same time. It can be good to keep a conversation with your health care practitioner/ therapist about your yoga to know if it is ok to do certain yoga poses (or with your yoga teacher).
The Yogic view on it
I also have problems with lower back pain and yoga has helped me a lot. Sometimes yoga is all that it takes to get rid of it and sometimes I need help from a professional physiotherapist.
I also know that sometimes you need to go deeper what is the cause of all the pain. In the yoga tradition, if you look at it from an energetic perspective, it is connected to the lower chakras, especially the root chakra (depending where your pain is).
The root chakra is connected to your stability in life, feeling grounded and secure. So having a problem here can be related to money problems, insecurity, family issues etc. It is about taking care of yourself, do what´s best for your health, eating well, exercising and living a healthy life. To have a good relationship with your family. Being able to not get stuck in old beliefs so you can move forward. If you have any of these problems it can be worth working with them.
In this video above I´ll give you three yoga poses that can help you to ease your lower back pain. These poses are easy to do and you can also sit on a chair if you have a problem sitting on the yoga mat.
Try to do them every day for at least one week and feel how it feels. Let me know in the comments below how they are working for you!
In this video you´ll learn my three favorit yoga poses to ease menstrual cramps and endometriosis pain.
Let me know how these poses work for you in the comments below!
A couple of weeks ago I was participating in a yoga course about stress and burn out. Having a history with being burned out I had been looking forward to this course. I don´t consider myself being burned out any more, but I was curious about the approach the yoga teacher had in her program.
What came to my mind in this course was the challenges and resistance we have for yoga and some yoga poses. If you have tried yoga you probably know what I´m talking about. I also have resistance even though I have done my daily yoga practice for years and also have been a yoga teacher for years. Some people may think being a teacher, that kind of challenges are gone, but at least for me I´m still learning and discovering things about myself all the time. Thank god for that, life would be very boring otherwise.
Anyway, in this course the Camel pose (as in the picture above) was included in the program and I realized I´ve been avoiding that pose for many years! Eh, 9 years to be exact.. It is a great pose that opens up in your chest,hips, pelvis & thighs. A great pose to do if you are somewhat closed in that area as many burned out people are.
The funny thing is that I also realized that my mind had convinced me there were other similar yoga poses that were less challenging. These thoughts were automatic, nothing I was really pondering about. Yep, my mind was manipulating me into a state of comfort. I tell my yoga students that challenging poses can be that pose you really need to do. Have to start to listen to myself I guess! ☺
(Ok, just need to mention, that I don´t mean that you should do a pose that is painful, that´s not what I´m talking about. My approach is and will always be that if a yoga pose is painful, gives you pain, you modify it. Just to straighten that out.)
When I think about this I also think about real life. Do we do the same in our lives, when it comes to challenges? Trying to avoid things that are uncomfortable, staying in the comfort zone? Missing out magic in life? Or maybe we even miss out important solutions in life, walking through life in the comfort zone?
I remember about seven years ago when I went to my yoga teacher for a yoga-therapy session. He gave me a very short but challenging yoga program with a pose that´s called Sat Kriya (see picture below). This pose I was supposed to do for 11 minutes, starting from 3 minutes and slowly building it up until I reached to 11 minutes for 40 days. Of course as a burned out person I took the challenge being a dedicated student ☺ . I remember I was so angry doing this pose, it felt impossible to reach 11 minutes without taking down the arms. My shoulders resisted, my mind resisted, but eventually I got to 11 minutes without taking down my arms, and also feeling just fine in that pose. I did it! And the result was: I felt great and in total balance. Steady as a mountain. Nothing could affect me in a negative way, not people around me, nothing. I was in total bliss. That´s what yoga can give you, if you are not afraid of trying. Accepting the resistance and let it flow through you instead of letting it knock you over.
As the yoga teacher (Elisabeth Engqvist) said when I wrote her some feedback about the course in Stress and Burn out: “The consolation in doing challenging yoga poses is that when you´ve done them it´s done, and eventually that pose is just another yoga pose as any other yoga pose."
So, yes I´m doing the camel pose now in my daily program that I´m going to do for 40 days. And eventually this pose is just another yoga pose as any.
What are your challenges? Please share in the comments below!
One of my favorite poses when it comes to helping with lower back pain. The cobra pose! This is a yoga pose can help if you have lower back pain, sciatica or pelvic pain. It helps if you have herniatic disc, that can be one of the problems if you have lower back pain. It also helps to stretch the psoas muscle that is so important for your pelvic alignment (that also can be a problem when you have pelvic pain).
So here we go. The cobra pose:
Lie on your belly and place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows by your side. Inhale as you lift your head and shoulders, pressing your hips into the floor and tightening your buttock muscles. Using your hands as support, arch your back up, keeping your feet as close together as possible. Gently stretch your neck and focus on your third eye point. Breathe long and deeply.
If this pose is difficult for you to do you can try the modified version:
Set your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale and lift your upper torso and head away from the floor into a mild backbend.
This is a great pose for your ovaries as it gives them some massage and increase the blood circulation in this area. It also stretches your spine, but what is important here is to tighten the buttocks so not all of the weight is on the lower back.
Have you tried this pose? Did it help?
I know many of you have days when it is difficult to get out of bed. Maybe you are just tired or you just have too much pain to get up. I know how it feels, I´ve been there myself. What has helped me a lot is to actually do yoga in bed. It can help a lot! You don´t need to get up and do the poses for pain on your yoga mat. Take it easy, stay in bed and do them. Then get up!
So here they are; My three favorite poses in bed.
You can download as pdf here.
1. Cat stretch
Bring your arms out to the sides, lift one bent leg. Place the right foot on the left knee and grab your right knee with the left hand. Pull the leg down to the left and the torso to the right. Long Deep Breathing for a couple of minutes and then roll back on the back again, and switch sides.
This stretches your whole body. Very nice for your back, if you have lower back pain. Do not do this in bed if your mattress is very soft.
2. Goddess Pose
Lying down on your back, place the soles of your feet together as close to the body as possible. Adjust the feet until you feel comfortable, it should not be painful. Tuck in some pillows under your knees and legs if necessary. Modified version: Cross your legs (like in easy pose).
Place your hands on your belly and breathe long and deeply for 1-3 min.
This pose opens up in the pelvis and the blood circulation increases.
3. Gas pose
Lie down on you back on the floor or in the bed. Pull down your knees to your chest with your legs wide apart and wrap your arms around your knees. Breathe long and deeply for 1- 3 minutes.
This pose opens up in the pelvis and is also very good to release wind. A great pose if you have pain.
Let me know how they work for you in the comments below!
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Over the past 3-10 years, I have fixed my own problems with health. I have recovered from my endometriosis pain, that was the main thing that made me start this website. I have been released from my 20 years of headaches and migraines. I don´t have IBS any more. I have been able to manage my anxiety. I have recovered from a major burn out. So now the turn has come to deal with my lower back problem. I´ve had this pain for a couple of years. It got worse last summer when I was picking blueberries. I have noticed that yoga of course helps a lot, but I haven´t found the right yoga program - yet. Or maybe I have! Right now
I´m trying a yoga program that seems to help. So I want to share some of my favorite yoga poses from that program.
There are many things you can do to ease the pain in the lower back, so it can be that you need change some things in your life to get better from your pain (as with many health issues). Like posture, exercises, stretching& strengthening muscles.
The "funny" thing is, that many of my offline yoga students also have problem with the lower back, and many women exactly in the same spot as I have. It´s in the lower back, in the buttock, probably has to do with the muscle "piriformis" and sciatic nerve. So in the yoga courses that starts offline next year it´s going to be a lot about the spine. Together we will get rid of our back pain!
So try the three yoga poses below! The good thing with these yoga poses are that they also help with your pelvis, at least the first and second pose!
To download as pdf: click on the picture above, right click and save as.
Do you have problems with lower back pain? Do these yoga poses help? I´d love to hear from you! Comment below!
Maybe you want to read these posts as well?
I did a survey six months ago among my offline yoga students. I asked them what physical problems troubled them the most. Most of them had problems with their back, so when the courses started in September I had a yoga course for back problems. It filled up immediately.
Maybe the reason for so many having back problems is that we don´t move enough, exercising, walking or in another way move our body. Our job is more sitting still than it used to be. Lot of us is sitting in front of a screen all day long.
So today I want to give a quick health tip for you out there, that sits in front of the computer, having back and shoulder pain.
These yoga poses you can do on a chair. If you sit on a chair, sit in the front of the chair with your feet straight under your knees with your spine straight.
Sit in Easy Pose with your legs crossed. Take hold of your outside ankles with both hands. (If you prefer sitting on a chair place your hands flat, palms facing down on your thighs.) Inhale as you flex your spine forward and lift your chest up, arching your back forward. Exhale as you flex your spine backward and tilt your pelvis back. Keep your head and chin level while keeping your neck still. Continue this movement 1-3 minutes. Relax and rest for a couple of minutes.
Good for the lower back, opens up the ribcage and is also good for the breathing.
Sit in easy pose. Lift your both shoulders straight up. As you inhale start to roll your shoulders back and down. As you come down exhale roll them up and forward. Continue at a slow pace in big circles. Continue for 1- 3 minutes. End with an inhale as you lift the shoulders and hold for 15 seconds. Exhale and relax.
Relaxes the shoulders.
Hope these yoga poses help you with your back and shoulders.
Another great tip is to only sit for 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes stand up, walk a little bit and get a glass of water (it´s so easy to forget drinking water during the day) or whatever you need to do.
Let me know how these yoga poses work for you in the comments below.
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I´m standing in front of an audience. I´ve been asked to give a lecture about nutrition. I´m so nervous. This is the first time I´m giving a lecture about it. I´m so passionate about the subject and love helping people, but I was not prepared for this huge anxiety. I´m so hot, sweaty and shaky. I try to take a deep breath, the chest is tight. It´s time to start. I see the people in front of me, looking at me, waiting for me to begin. The first, maybe five seconds, I black out. Can´t remember anything at all. It feels like 2 hours passing by, but it´s only 5 seconds or so. But I get back to reality, calm down and start the lecture. The lecture goes well, they loved it. I was too anxious to enjoy it 100%. My anxiety took over.
A couple of days later, I crash. Physically and mentally. The pressure becomes too much, the anxiety too intense. I feel totally exhausted. It took some months for the doctors to figure out that I was struggling with anxiety. But today I´m grateful that this happened. This was the beginning of finding my way back, figuring things out, growing as a person and not running away from the anxiety feeling.
Since this happened I´ve been working with my anxiety. Finding my strategies and tools that work for me. Just like I did with my endometriosis.
Today I want to reach out to you, all of you, who try to cope with your anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety or panic attacks. Having an illness can lead to anxiety. You struggle with a painful illness, dealing with doctors, work, family and friends who maybe find it hard to understand your illness. Maybe you isolate yourself because of this and build up social anxiety. Not knowing how you will feel tomorrow, what is going to happen, can also make you anxious. So this is why I share my story and hopefully some of the following tools can help you too, if you are dealing with some sort of anxiety.
Here are my 5 tools that have worked for me:
1. Yoga and meditation
Yoga has been so important to me to cope with my anxiety and stress. Yoga calms you down and lowers stress. You also become more mindful and can observe your thoughts and emotions. When you are anxious you only want to escape, but in yoga you learn to observe. Yoga also helps you to change your patterns and not to be absorbed by your feelings.
Try this meditation, it´s great for anxiety: http://www.endoyoga.com/blog/a-meditation-if-you-are-stressed-like-crazy
Here are some yoga poses to reduce stress: http://www.endoyoga.com/blog/3-yoga-poses-that-reduces-stress
2. Breathing exercises
To breathe long and deeply can be a great help if you are anxious. In the psychiatric health care in Sweden it is included in the Cognitive Behavior Therapy the use of different breathing exercises. When we are anxious we tend to breathe very shallow. This often leads to tension in the muscles and pain. Not getting enough oxygen can give you headache, which is very common in anxiety disorders.
Here is how you breathe long and deeply.
Here is a great breathing exercise for anxiety.
3. CBT and ACT
When you have anxiety problems, you often have a problem with negative thought patterns. You think that you know what people think about you or that bad things are going to happen to you. Yoga can help you a little bit with this as you practice regularly over time, but I find the best way to deal with this is to go to therapy, either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).
CBT is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients to understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. You learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior. You also learn how to expose yourself to the things that give you anxiety.
ACT is to accept what is out of your personal control, while committing to action that will improve your quality of life. You learn how to deal with painful thoughts and emotions so they have a lesser impact on you. You also learn what is important to you and has value so you can change your life into the life you want to live. The problem with having anxiety is that you it´s so easy not to live your life fully, you avoid things that are too painful for you and miss out life. Mindfulness is a tool in this therapy. A great book about this is Happiness Trap.
Going to therapy is one of the best things I´ve done. In my case it was a mix of CBT and ACT. It was a lot of anxiety exposure and homework. Actually I taught the group how to breathe properly, so that was kind of fun.
If you have social anxiety I can recommend to take a look at Calm Living Blueprints website, There is great information and also podcasts you can listen to.
I know that you can get anxiety from other health conditions like anemia, hormonal imblances and menopause etc, so it is not certain that it always is “in your head”, just want to point that out.
4. Balance your VATA
In the ayurvedic tradition anxiety can be an imbalance in your dosha VATA (one of the three personality types in Ayurveda). Vata has a tendency to be energetic, creative and flexible if they are balanced. If they get imbalanced they can feel anxious and overwhelmed. It is so important for Vatas that they have good routines during the day (which they don´t like, they want to be more free) and they need to finish things that they started, doing one thing at a time. They also need to avoid stress since that can make them forget their routines like having regular meals, taking breaks during the day and going to bed at a regular time.
It is a lot I can say about Vata, what they need, but this is what I find the most important for me to stay about how to balance it:
You can read more about ayurveda and doshas on Deepak Chopras website.
Ayurveda is always present in my life. I try to follow the “rules” for vata, but it´s not always easy as Vatas tend to be absorbed in their work and creativity and forget about time.
5. Connect with nature
Connecting with nature can have a calming effect. So if you are anxious it can be a good idea to take the time and be in nature. Listening to the birds and feeling the wind touching your skin. What is very calming is to have you bare feet in contact with the ground, so if you can, try to walk or sit with your bare feet on the ground as much as possible. For me this has a very calming effect. You can check out David Wolfes video, where he talks about earthing.
So maybe you are wondering if I have held more lectures? Yes I have, and last time it was a huge difference in anxiety intensity, it was way less. It was also a big problem for me to shoot my yoga videos when I started, it´s kind of the same feeling as standing in front of an audience, but now after I´ve done that a lot it´s no problem anymore. Teaching yoga is ok though, I have done it since 2008, so I have already exposed myself to that a lot, so I have no problems with that.
I use all 5 steps above as much as I can. Sometimes I slip (especially nr 4), but most of the time I stick to them. My biggest lesson here is not to run away or avoid things in life. The more you expose yourself to things the more you get used to it and the anxiety disappears. And it´s not only about making anxiety go away, it´s also about being in that feeling, not to be afraid to observe how you feel. So all of you who have anxiety, there is hope and there is help.
Do you have anxiety problems? How do you cope with it? What has helped you? What is the most difficult? Please share!
I´ve had problems with headaches most of my life. I started having bad migraine at the age of 18, and since then I´ve suffered from different kind of headaches. For many years I´ve tried to figure out why I have them. They´ve been all from pretty mild to terrible migraine when nothing helps. When I talked to my mother about this she told me I actually suffered from bad headaches from the age of 10. I can´t remember this, for me these headaches have become like a normal state in my life.
Today I don´t suffer from headaches anymore. Sure, they show up sometimes but I have them under control. For me the reason of my pain has been more than one cause and that´s why it has been such a long journey to find the cures. It has been like a huge jigsaw-puzzle, where I´ve tried to find all the missing pieces and put them together. Now, after many years of suffering I have found all of the missing pieces and know what all of my different headaches are all about, and this I want to share with you today, just in case you have the same problem as I had.
1. Drink enough water.
Maybe this sound obvious, but at least I forget to drink the amount of water I need to drink every day. Do you know that you need to drink around 30 ml/kg you weigh (that is almost 2 liter per day). Being dehydrated can give you headache. Drinking water is also good to help to cleanse toxins out of your body (that also can give you headache) so drinking enough water is a good idea.
2. Do yoga and meditation
Many yoga poses, relaxation and meditations have helped me with headaches. Stress is a well known factor to cause tension headaches and migraine. When your sympathetic nervous system is activated (the fight and flight response) the muscles are contracting and headache can show up. When you are stressed you often breathe very shallow and that can also give you headache. When you breathe shallow your blood is not oxygenated enough and if your oxygen levels are low you can get headaches and migraine. So simply by breathing long and deeply you can get rid of your headache.
There are also great yoga poses for headache, you can check out these three yoga poses for headache.
I also want to mention anxiety as a cause for headaches. Having a background of anxiety issue myself, I know that you can be very tense in an anxiety situation. You get a stress response and your muscles are tightening and the breathing becomes shallow. My personal belief is that many people are anxious without knowing and are suffering from different pain issues that they can´t get rid of because they are not aware of their anxiety. One great meditation if you suffer from anxiety is to try this Meditation if you are stressed like crazy.
If you have bad problems with anxiety, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety I recommend that you go to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Often you need to work on your negative thought patterns together with a skilled therapist. But you can also do yoga parallel to your therapy.
3. Remove sensitivity food
Over the years I´ve found out that some food give me headaches (and also IBS, maybe there´s a connection between the two?) This can be a little bit tricky to find out, depending on quantity of the food and combinations. Sometimes I can eat some chocolate, but if I eat the day after it doesn´t work, or in combination with other foods. My theory here is that these kind of foods release histamine and that my body can take some histamine release, but when it´s too much, it gives me headache. I see it as I have a certain amount of histamine that is totally ok, but when I exceed that limit I get a headache or IBS. Some foods that are known to be sensitivity food are: Chocolate (sigh, my only addiction…), nuts, soy, gluten, dairy. It can take some time to figure out what you can be sensitive to, so the best way is to try to remove one thing at a time and journal how you feel. I also want to say that adding the good stuff is important too, so you don´t remove all your food only! ☺
If you want to look more into this with histamine and food I recommend the Low Histamine Chef that is a great source. And don´t forget my recipes to get some inspiration!
But before you remove food I would actually go to the next step first!
This was my last peace that was missing in the big jigsaw puzzle to figure out my sources for my headaches. I have written about it in this blog post: Whatever you do detox first! I have detoxed before and it has helped a bit, but not as clearly as last time. What I needed was some supplement to help the detox to go deeper and make the detox smoother, supporting the liver. (It contained pectasol, chlorella, beetroot and choline among other ingredients. It´s a Swedish brand so maybe you can find a similar where you live) It worked wonders!
So what the detox does is to get rid of the toxins in your body (obviously).We all get toxins in many ways, unfortunately, through food, water, air, things around us. If the liver doesn´t function in an optimal way, it doesn´t neutralize the toxins and other substances that needs to flush out of our system like hormones. It continues to circulate in our system and that can give you headache. In some traditions, it is claimed that migraine is caused by toxins. Well, I don´t know about that, but I do believe it can be one cause for many migraine sufferers out there. But, why not try a detox, you have nothing to lose really.
Tip: A mini detox I do myself everyday is to start the day with some warm water. Drink a glass of this warm water the first thing you do. It helps to flush out the toxins and also is good to help your elimination that also is important to help get rid of toxins.
5. Balance your hormones
It is well known that imbalanced hormones can cause headaches. It is common to get headache before your period or during your period. You can also have headaches from estrogen dominance. So to balance your hormones is a great way to decrease your hormonal headaches. My number one way to balance hormones is to lower the stress. To do yoga that helps you to relax in the pelvic region. My Online course Breathe and open up is focusing on this, to balance the hormones and reduce pain so check it out and read more about this there.
If I would choose 4 things to do balance the hormones it would be to
1. Start a yoga practice
2. Eat a good plant based diet
When I write this article I´m sitting on the boat landing at the cottage. The sun is shining, it´s hot and a mild breeze touches my skin. I can´t believe my headaches are gone! It feels unreal! I´m so happy the tears are coming.
Do you have problems with headaches? What has helped you? Please share with us in the comments below!
Do you feel bloated, heavy, tired & having headaches etc? There can be many reasons for this, but one thing to start with is having a look how your digestion is. How happy is your stomach right now? And how happy are you?
I have written about it before what you can do to get a better digestion with some healthy choices in yoiur life. You can read the blog How to improve your digestion here.
I have also written about Eating Mindfully for you digestion, a blog post how mindfulness can affect your digestion. Have a look at these articles if you haven´t done that already.
Today I want to share my three favorite yoga poses for a better digestion, that can be a big help if you are bloated, constipated or just having digestion issues. I have made a pdf for you so it´s easier for you to try them out yourself.
Click on the image for downloading it as PDF. In the PDF you can click to get directed to videos!
You can do all of the yoga poses in a row or you can try one or two. Try to do them everyday for a month and feel how they feel.
Please tell me how it is working for you, share in the comments below!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”