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I have been asked the following question about back pain doing postures. Here is my short general answer:

QUESTION: I have difficulty breathing in when I drop back to a back arch (urdhva dhanurasana) from standing with my arms in the air (urdhva hastasana) as it aggravates my back pain. Can you suggest anything to help me?

MY ANSWER: It is common problem to confuse the muscles of trunk stability with the muscles of breathing. It sounds like that is what you are doing. When you ‘drop back’ to a back arch you need to be ‘firm but calm’ (sthira sukham asanam). Trunk firmness is best achieved in the upper trunk by compressing the chest by keeping the ribs inwards with the same muscles you use to make a forced exhalation from the chest. This action, in which the ribs are held close to the spine, is a type of compressive uddiyana bandha (chest lock).

However, when you using the muscles of chest exhalation to hold the trunk firm you cannot use the chest to inh… Read More

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