It is day 9 of my purpose to do 30 days of yoga. I’ve gone through a lot of back pain, minor successes and what feels like a major transformation coming in. What a journey! If your back aches, flex your feet.
I am focusing on back exercises, I start with strength and then do flexibility work. I have learned enough flexibility to stand up straight and tall!! I can’t yet bend too much backwards, but the fact that I can stand tall (some of the time at least) is an accomplishment.
A lot of it is in the feet, the feet is where structural support should come from, not from back muscles. The weight should fall on the arches of the feet, the arch will then distribute it to the whole foot. A good support is the base of it all. Lack of a foot arch, or tight and inflexible feet nearly always cause back pain.
You can read about it widely online and watch videos, it is good to be informed. But, the most important thing is to feel your body. I repeat, feel your body. Stand up like you always do, and ask yourself:
1. Where is my weight supported? in my toes, in the ball of my foot, in my heel?
2. Are my knees and hips over the arch of my feet?
3. Are the curves of my back balancing each other out?
3. Am I having to use muscle strength to hold my back up? (good posture is structural)
Now, if you are like me, you looked at the videos, you read the material and it told you what good posture is supposed to look like. Then you stood up and tried to jam your poor back into what the books say. You maybe managed to hold it (uncomfortably) for a few minutes, even a few hours, and then you were in a lot of pain. It simply feels unnatural.
The issue is that after years of holding bad posture, your muscles have contracted, sometimes your body has laid bone (calcifications) to reinforce areas that needed more support. Tight hunching shoulders do not allow you to lean into the arch of the upper back, or place your neck above your shoulders. A tight psoas muscle, will pull your hips forward and compress your lower back discs.
Structural change needs to happen. Start by flexing your feet.
Feel your body. How is your body today?