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Many people hear that yoga can heal their back but end up in the wrong class with the wrong teacher, only to find themselves reinjured.

If you have low back pain, there is one yoga pose you should never do: seated forward fold.

Do not do single leg seated forward fold or double leg forward fold.

Why is this the case?

Your lower back is very important. It supports about two-thirds of your body weight.

Every vertebrae in your spine corresponds to a gland or organ.

The nerves that run throughout the vertebrae in your lower back correspond to your digestive organs, your urinary system and your sex organs and even reflect what’s going on with the neurotransmitters in your brain. They also connect to your hips, legs, knees, ankles, feet and toes. Kind of extremely important if you think about it!

In addition, if you were going to look at a dissection of the nerves in your body (quite fascinating if you are into that sort of thing), you will discover that up to the lumbar vertebrae, the nerves that run through most of your spine are a big bundle. When you get to the lumbar spine, they fan out like a horse’s tail.

Taking great care of your lower back can not only keep you pain free but also keep all your glands and organs working properly.

If you were to attend the average yoga class, most teachers teach seated forward fold the way I demonstrate in this picture.

That may be fine if your lower back is perfectly healthy.

However, if you are not properly supported in the pose practicing this way may shove the lumbar vertebrae forward to pinch your spinal cord.

I can’t tell you how many people I know who have hurt themselves in a yoga class because of practicing this particular pose improperly.

If you have low back pain, you would need to sit on a bolster, maintain a 30 to 35 degree curve in your lower back and use a strap around your foot in order to practice this pose without hurting yourself.

There are many other ways to stretch your hamstrings without hurting your lower back – just ask me and I can come up with lots of different safer and more effective alternatives!

Stretching your hamstrings is essential for alleviating low back pain, but if you stretch incorrectly you may make the whole situation worse.

Recently, I attended a chair yoga class with my 77-year-old mother. She had hurt herself a few months before in the very same class, so I paid for her to take lessons with another yoga teacher who has been studying with my mentor in Asheville. My mother’s chair yoga teacher was kind and enthusiastic, but when she instructed her elderly women students to practice this pose without props, I knew that she did not know how to teach safely.

Call me at 678-612-8816 to set up an appointment and I will teach you how to stretch safely and effectively.