I have been practicing pranayam for 10 days now and have developed a lower back pain. I am also experiencing difficulty in sitting up straight on a chair while working or sitting up straight on the ground while practicing pranayam. Could you help me get rid of this pain?
– Ruplina Bhowmik
Although you have not mentioned details on your age, type of pranayams being practiced, duration and whether you are applying any bandhas or not, your body make up and also from whom you learnt the techniques but i assume you are quite new to the discipline and have probably started doing it on your own.
Few things which you should keep in mind is that Yoga is a systematic approach of mind control through breath-control leading to state of samadhi – union of individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness. Pranayam is central to it as the same primarily deals with perfection in breath-control however what precedes pranayama can not be ignored i.e. following of behavioural commandments – for self and for others (yama and niyama) and perfecting asanas. While behavioural commandments are practiced lead the practitioner to become disciplined and sane, asanas serve to purposes. The first purpose of asana deals with merely physical aspect of body – its strength, agility, flexibility of muscles, stamina etc. All asanas are aimed at providing strength to limbs, back and abdominal muscles so that these develop capacity to withstand stress and high-frequency movements during future course of pranayams.
So, if you are skipping the asanas you approach the pranayama with untrained/weak muscles hence may hurt yourself during those. My advice to you would be to stop pranayama and focus on asanas first for at least 2-3 months. These asanas should be like halasana, paschimottaan asana, chakrasana, sarvaangasana. karn-peedaasana, trikonasana, sarpasana and finally few rounds of surya-namskar. Spending 30-40 minutes in asanas each day is needed. Start with easy ones, take care of breath while these asnans (whether to exhale or inhale during a particular posture) and also follow the golden rule of not stretching beyond your capacity – you will gradually feel better.
Further before you start practicing pranayama, you are supposed to complete Nadi-Shodhana. DO NOT attempt any pranayama before you complete Nadi-Shodhana regime. To know more about it you can read my other articles and posts on this subject. Further if you wish to get trained in Yoga you can follow our activities on our website or social-media. Regular announcements are made regarding upcoming workshops and you can choose to join any if you like. Getting initiated in TSV is also a good idea to begin with your holistic growth.
As far as current situation of back pain is concerned, discontinue the pranayama first. You can try taadaasana (vertical stretching) and kati-chakraasana. If problem is worsened Stop all the physical exercises and massage the lower back with warm mustard oil mixed with one or two drops or turpentine oil (in 20ml of mustard oil). (Warning – Turpentine oil needs to be added after taking the warm oil off the flames as it is highly inflammable). Try it for 3-4 days if pain doesn’t subside you should consult a doctor.
– Ach. Agyaatdarshan Anand Nath