Can Surya Namaskar be performed by people with back pain? (Yoga query of the day)

Yoga has various health benefits but should you do it when you are in pain? Find out.

yogaI want to start doing yoga especially the Surya Namaskar as I've heard of its various health benefits. But I am not sure if I can do it or if I should in fact give it a try due to some health problems. Kindly clear my doubts regarding it.

Can people who have back pain (lower and centre) or a rigid spine practise the Surya Namaskar?

In yoga, any posture that creates too much discomfort should be avoided. Surya Namaskar involves both forward and backward bending postures. If you suffer from lower back pain, you may not be able to perform all the 12 postures. It is better to take your doctor's or physiotherapist's advice before you start. You can begin with simple Bhujangasana and Shalabhasana to strengthen your spine and then move on to this one. (Read: How to practise Surya Namaskar the right way)

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I cannot bend enough to let my hands touch the ground and get my head between my knees which is needed in 2 postures of Surya Namaskar. What should I do?

It is absolutely fine if you cannot bend enough to place your hands on the ground in the very beginning. Flexibility comes with practice so try your best but don't injure yourself in the process. With time and practice, your form will get better.

In yoga, there is something called 'Sthiram Sukham Asanam' which means, in every posture (asana) you do, you should be stable (sthir) and comfortable (sukham).

Would practising Surya Namaskar help make my back/spine more flexible?

Yes, Surya Namaskar will surely help strengthen your back, improve your flexibility and improve digestion among other benefits. (Read: Surya Namaskar - hidden health benefits that will boggle your mind!)

These queries are answered by Nani Rao who has been teaching yoga since the past 30 years and has learnt it from the guru of Ambika Yoga Kutir and at the Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz, Mumbai.

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