Is back pain affecting your happiness?

February 11, 2022

Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, which prevents many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.  About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time and it is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  Most cases of back pain are mechanical, meaning they are not caused by serious conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, infection or cancer.

Chronic back pain not only affects you physically, but it can also affect you emotionally and mentally.  Over time chronic back pain can take an emotional toll.  It can cause depression, fatigue and irritability.  It can also create a dependence on pain relief medications.  If you are dealing with chronic back pain, it is important to do things that help relieve your pain and improve your well-being.

Yoga has become an effective alternative to aid in relieving chronic low back pain.  Based on a recent review of Yoga for low back pain, the review found strong data for short-term success and moderate evidence for long-term success of yoga for chronic low back pain.  And concluded that doctors can suggest yoga as an additional therapy to chronic low back pain patients[1].


How Iyengar Yoga can help relieve back pain

Iyengar Yoga is a distinct, in-depth system of yoga that highlights safety, optimal body alignment, and attention to detail.  It offers clear, detailed instruction with focus on proper form and function and is great for learning the subtleties of correct alignment.

Poor posture can lead to back pain.  Through a consistent practice, yoga builds strength and helps support the spine, which in turn improves posture.  Yoga also helps to stretch tight muscles that may be leading to back pain.

Individuals with herniated discs benefit from extension of the spine to alleviate pressure on the bulging disc.  Iyengar yoga focuses on extension and elongation.  One of the yoga props, the rope wall, is a great way to create traction in the spine to aid with disc herniations.

By taking 1-2 yoga classes per week, you will notice a significant improvement in your posture and pain levels.


What is the yoga rope wall and how can it help for back pain?

The yoga rope wall was first developed by BKS Iyengar as a useful tool to support and assist your body in the poses.   A rope wall can be an invaluable tool for students who are stiff, weak or unable to perform certain poses independently.  The body is safely supported by the traction of the ropes, stretching and strengthening those hard-to-reach areas of the spine.

Rope poses are especially beneficial for spine health.  The ropes work by using gravity as a natural form of resistance.  This releases tension from the joints and stretches the body.  It creates traction for the spine to relieve pressure from compressed vertebral discs.


What is involved with working privately for your back care needs?

Private yoga sessions are a great way to work specifically for your individual needs.   Private yogaYoga for back pain sessions first start out with a thorough evaluation of your history.  The instructor then observes you for imbalances and habits formed in your gait and the way you stand.

Once a deeper understanding is established, the instructor develops a sequence of poses to practice geared specifically on your needs and conditions.  The poses are demonstrated and explained to you, so you have a thorough understanding of how to perform the poses.  You are encouraged to practice the sequence regularly.  The sequence is also revisited regularly and adjusted as needed.

Through this process you will learn techniques that alleviate pain, so you have a toolbox of things to practice on your own.  You will also gain a greater understanding of things that may aggravate your pain and what should be avoided.  You will become empowered and in control of your health and well-being.


What are some of the benefits of Iyengar Yoga?

Strength, coordination, flexibility, and an increased sense of well-being are some of the benefits of Iyengar Yoga.  The practice will often result in eliminating aches and pains as well as improving posture.  It can be used therapeutically to aid in healing many kinds of injuries, both physical and emotional.  The attention to detail allows students an opportunity to learn about their body and postural habits.  It develops an awareness to the body and the self.  With continued practice, abilities, along with health and vitality will develop.



Yoga is an effective alternative to helping alleviate chronic back pain.  A consistent yoga practice will often result in eliminating aches and pains as well as improving posture.  It can be used therapeutically to aid in healing many kinds of injuries, both physical and emotional.   If you have chronic back pain, consider yoga as part of your wellness routine.


[1] Cramer, Holger MSc; Lauche, Romy PhD; Haller, Heidemarie MSc; Dobos, Gustav MD A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Yoga for Low Back Pain, The Clinical Journal of Pain: May 2013 – Volume 29 – Issue 5 – p 450-460 doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31825e1492


About the author

Cristina Roy is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and has been practicing yoga since 2005.  She has had a lifelong passion for helping people and loves sharing the tremendous benefits she herself received from yoga with others.  Nothing makes her happier than hearing from her students the improvements they’ve experienced since starting their own yoga journey.  She lives in Chelsea of the Town of Wappinger, NY with her husband where she operates a small yoga studio.  To learn more please visit