By Michael Gleason
What can yoga postures do for tailbone pain? The objective to yoga is taking the time to realize you are in your body. While sweating and caloric output have their places, yoga is the opportunity to learn what your body is non-verbally conveying to you. In this modern age of working at desks, or being hunched over on squishy coffeehouse sofas, your yoga practice is your chance to address issues brought on by sedentary life. One of the culprits being tailbone pain. Any aches or muscle spasm just south of the lumbar region, therefore, is your body’s message that you need a change of pace. Even an hour of yoga every other day or every few days will affect these changes.
While on the mat, where you are not yet able to bend or stretch is the anatomical equivalent to unread emails. The most important message comes at the concluding segments of any yoga class: Shavasana (shaw-vahs-awna) or corpse pose. Shavasana is so such a paramount time because you are scanning your body (i.e. “I liked this” and “I disliked that”). As a writer, there is an occupational hazard called “typist’s slouch”. If you are word processing feverishly whilst on deadline, and you are using a laptop with a tiny screen or another portable electronic device, you can easily experience stress-related tension. A common culprit of this unease can grow around your tailbone region. Actually, the reason why it is called the tailbone is because it is the very tail-end of the human anatomy. Monkeys and non-primates’ spines, such as most breeds of dogs, continue along with tails meant for shooing flies or wagging to show excitement.
Sally Sussino, RYT-200 of Wellesley, Mass., she said to be very careful when practicing yoga and if your tailbone is bothering you. “Be very careful, it is a tender spot. You should speak to your primary care doctor before taking up any exercise with a symptomatic tailbone,” said Sussino. But, relieving tailbone pain in yoga can be quite simple. The main examples, per Susinno, are as follows:
- Any supine positions such as the Shavasana will feel good.
- The “floor positions” such as bridge pose – or anything else with hip opening – will relieve discomfort almost right away.
- Other sitting poses or floor poses to provide further relief are the Superman and bow poses.
- These positions require pushing on the front of the pelvis bones as well as the pubic bone. Doing so will help strengthen that region of the body as well as remedy tailbone pain.
- For standing poses give thought to challenging asanas like downward facing dog or child’s pose. In both scenarios your head is facing down and you are forcing your tailbone to become a keystone.
- Students will want to skip or be judicious during that part of the class.
- Sussino further pointed out that most classes will literally jump from down-dog to the table, cat, and cow poses.
- The curling and arching of the spine, as best as possible, will not just relive the tailbone pain but promote strength in that area. This in turn will lead to further strength around the abdominals and lumbar regions as well as the hamstrings.
In addition to discussing tail bone pain with your doctor always inform your yoga instructor beforehand. Actually, you should tell your instructor about the state of your tailbone or any other discomfort such as lumbar spasm or arthritis.
As recent as 2015, mainstream publications such as Yoga Journal have published articles on the importance of avoiding pain in your tailbone. And, furthermore, how that “body scan” Susinno referenced remains integral. Often in floor positions (remember the keystone analogy) students are told to “tuck in their tailbones.” Writing for Yoga Journal, Amy Matthews and Leslie Kaminoff reminded people that those little vertebrae in the tailbone’s can vary from three to five and some people are naturally fused together! It is no wonder everyone has a unique reaction. If you are in any pain, then continue avoiding the difficult poses or, if your doctor permits, use the modified versions of:
- Downward Facing Dog
- Child’s Pose
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