The Bending Habit You Want to Cultivate

How many people do you know that have strained their a couple hours of yard work, going through a big move or simply by picking a piece of paper up off the floor? Most of us know someone who has or have experienced this type of injury ourselves. My goal is to show you that you can learn to do all that day to day bending safely and with relative ease.

Yoga can definitely help you prevent back injuries and there are several asanas which can help support your bending habits by strengthening the front and back core muscles. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to build the core muscles slowly to give your fascia, muscles, ego, mind, and belief system time to adjust to the new you.

Examples of good asanas to build your back core:

Salabhasana (locust pose)

Vimanasana (airplane pose)

Virabhadrasana III (warrior three)

urdhva hastasana

With these or other variations, keep the back straight and core muscles engaged when lifting the torso. Be sure to use all of the core — front, sides, and back.  Yoga Yoga has many great core strength classes worth a weekly visit that can help you develop full core stability.

We are made to move, and the more we move, the freer we become because we keep our fascia elastic, and energetically responsive. This is why I like yoga better than a gym:  the body/mind in yoga utilizes our entire energy system when moving, rather than a concentration on a specific muscle group.

Have I ever “pulled” my back? Yep, many times in the distant past, but not since I have adopted new movement habits. These habits are not just derived from experience. They are alignment techniques based on the structure and function of the physical body.  They aren’t limiting – you move freely. The most important aspect of back safety is the posture when bending and standing.

Rules for building a safe bending habit:

  • Be aware of your strength and flexibility.  That means move rather slowly, at least the first few times before you start your practice
  • Stick your butt out!!! Well, technically, keep the back straight with the sacrum anteriorly tilted relative to the torso.  This is NOT the same as swayback

SWAYBACK (INCORRECT)

ANTERIOR TILT OF SACRUM (CORRECT)

  • Keep the thigh bones well back in the hip socket (this automatically happens with the proper sacrum tilt.)
  • Begin to exhale, and hinge from the hips, not from the back.  If you cannot get down all the way, then bend the knees to prevent hinging in the back.

DONT: BACK HINGE

DO: BEND YOU RKNEES, HINGING FROM THE HIPS

  • Engage! (yes, Captain Picard) Engage the back core before rising
  • Test the weight of the object slowly (unless you know that piece of paper is manageable! ) This entails mindfulness when you power up the legs and back to lift
  • Lift on an inhale or exhale, your choice