Strengthen and flexibility:
Yoga helps increase strength and flexibility in very specific muscles and muscle groups. Holding the physical postures in yoga is not intended to be uncomfortable. However, it does require concentration and specific use of muscles throughout the body. Yoga requires that the individual hold the physical postures anywhere from 1 to 10+ breaths. Within these poses, certain muscles are contracting, while others are stretching, promoting strength and flexibility.
Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen and stretch the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided. Stretching is very important for people with back pain For example, stretching the hamstring muscles (in the back of the thigh) helps expand the motion in the pelvis, decreasing stress across the lower back.
Yoga practice will result in improved posture, and an increased sense of balance, with head, shoulders and pelvis in proper alignment. All the physical postures in Yoga have a counter pose, which is performed to maintain length and strength, through the entire body as over stretching one side of the body could lead to postural imbalance. Proper body alignment and good posture, which helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine, is an important part of reducing or avoiding lower back pain.
Modern day yoga helps to control the mind by connecting with the breath during the physical postures to build concentration, meditation and ultimately relaxation. The practice of pranayam (breathing techniques) independently of the physical postures promotes relaxation. Focusing on the breath helps to cut out the chatter of the mind, reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga can therefore, relieving back pain caused by psychological and emotional factors.