by Eric Stewart

Today we have an audio class for you that works with lengthening and strengthening of the spine and trunk. It can be a helpful practice for back pain.

Also, because an open and strong trunk is essential to the function of the limbs, this sequence can be helpful for pain in other areas of the body such as the knees, shoulders and neck.

The Limits of an Audio Practice

An audio practice to help remedy pain is a little tricky given that no single asana or group of asanas works for everyone exactly the same way. Also, if you are unfamiliar with the postures, you may find that you miss the direct benefit of a teacher’s guidance.

The Benefits of an Audio Practice

On the other hand, it’s possible to use an audio class as a support to develop inner resources. This is essential to accessing a deeper relationship with yoga. Doing this can also increase your skill at reducing your own pain, which is a freeing and empowering ability.

If you are often in pain in your life, be especially attentive to how you respond to the practice. If there are parts of the sequence that provoke discomfort, explore ways to modify. If that doesn’t work, avoid doing things that cause pain. Seek the guidance of an experienced teacher.

(This is really good advice for anyone: see what you can do on your own, but if there’s pain that you can’t figure out, get help.)

Diminish the Habit of Pain

It’s especially important if pain is a regular visitor in your life because the practice will be most supportive when you can find longer periods of time where that pain-switch doesn’t get triggered.

This sequence works to decrease pain by finding a balance of lengthening and strengthening actions, decompressing areas of the body that get shortened, tight and weak.

I’ve done my best to suggest common modifications and variations that can help provide clarity if an asana is not integrating. That said, I encourage you to stay alert to how this sequence will work best for you, so that you have agency to adapt it to your body and your needs.

The practice requires a chair and two blankets. Here is a link to stick-figure drawings of the sequence.

Have fun!