Monday, September 26, 2011

DVD Review ~ Yoga for Total Back Care

 Yoga for Total Back Care features vinyasa flow teacher Annie Carpenter.

This DVD features two 45-minute sequences which target the back's major problem areas: one for the lower back and one for the upper back, neck, and shoulders.

The first sequence I tried was for the lower back. I had been working on a few different house projects through out the day: painting in the morning and then hauling, mixing, and pouring concrete for a couple hours in the afternoon. My low back was really feeling sore and stiff and I knew I needed to do some yoga. So, I decided to try out this DVD.

Carpenter started us on our backs with pelvic tucks and tilts, eased us into Supta Padangustasana and then led us into some core work. She brought us to upright and we did a few long held lunges with down dog transitions and then moved into standing poses like Warrior I, Revolved Side Angle and Wide Leg Forward Fold with a twist. She emphasized keeping a level pelvis and keeping our breath steady and smooth. We finished on the floor again with some block-assisted Bridge Poses, gentle twists and a hip stretch.

After Savasana I felt great. My low back was not hurting me at all. After carrying all that concrete I was worried but this sequence helped me get out of pain.

I tried the Upper Back, Neck, and Shoulders sequence the next day after painting for about 6 hours. My right arm, shoulder and neck were very tight and I was getting a headache on the right side too. I try to paint with both hands to bring balance but I can only manage to use my left hand about 20-25% of the time.

This sequence focused on noticing the differences that you might have between the right and the left side, building strength and releasing tension. We started out on our backs again and rolled our heads slowly from side to side which felt great. Then we worked on some shoulder stability with blocks, transitioned into table for cat-cow, down-dog and hanging fold. From there, we moved into slow flowing postures: sun breath + chair, WII + Extended Side Angle, and Plank to Down Dog flow. We came down to our bellies for a Belly Boat flow and ended with some seated arm stretches - Cow's Face arms and Eagle Arms. After a gentle twist we settled into Savasana.

I didn't connect with this sequence as much as the first one. But perhaps that is because it was more challenging and I felt like relaxing, not working. I know I need more strengthening though because I often have ribs out of alignment in my upper back which tells me I don't have enough stability.

I was a little worried that this would be too vigorous a practice for me to enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised to find a smooth, calm, and flowing practice that really did make my back feel better - especially the low back sequence. Over all, I liked the DVD and would recommend it.