Yoga, Men and their Back Pain

Margaret Kruszewska

While we’re on the subject of our menfolk–the most common complaint I heard from middle-aged male students coming in to try yoga was lower back pain.

I was familiar with this and had already done some research on what might help because I had lived with a boyfriend who experienced chronic debilitating back ailments – a man who otherwise was healthy and athletic but was heading into his late 40’s in constant agony.

So what was up with men and their backs? If you believe in what yoga (and other mind/body/heart practices) has to offer, then you know it’s not just a pain in your back. And why did it affect so many men during their mid-life transitions?

In the chakra system, the lower back is part of the energy of the muladhara, the root being connected with issues of survival, security and, particularly for men, their sexuality. All issues that get tossed around for men leaving their youthful virility, perhaps dealing with how to support themselves and others. No wonder the back starts signaling!

All this came to mind because as I was stooping down to make my bed today, I felt a riveting surge of pain all along my lower back. A pain I’ve only felt once before in my life, when I injured myself while traveling in India grabbing a heavy suitcase. (Interestingly, it was also while with this boyfriend I just described- and during the trip I came to the painful decision of ending the relationship with him.) So it all instantly came flooding back to me. Fortunately, I have never had problems with my back. This incident was so unusual that it remained etched in my own body memory.

I did something that I knew would help right away. Got down on the floor, hugged my knees to my chest, back flat and just gently swayed from side to side. No abrupt moves or tall stretches. Just this releasing movement with back to the ground supported and tucked-in knees protecting the back.

I swear by it- so to our sweet menfolk with “bad backs” – try it, for the physical relief, and keep asking what fear or burdens are lurking in those strong back roots of yours!

[tags]back pain,chakra, yoga and men,yoga and health[/tags]

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