Lessen Your Back Pain with Yoga and Walking

Posted by on Oct 22, 2017 in Back Pain Relief | 2 comments

Lessen Your Back Pain with Yoga and Walking

I love yoga. I have studied, taught, and practiced yoga for over 35 years. I started my yoga journey because it was the best relief I found for my low back pain. I even wrote a book in 2016, Healing Our Backs with Yoga, reflecting my life’s work in order to share my gifts and knowledge to help others learn how to apply yoga effectively for the relief of back pain.

Changing Lifestyles…

As we go through life the demands, our habits and our activities change. For me, my fully active teaching schedule and duties as a business owner operating Asheville’s first yoga studio, gave way the more stationary activity of writing a book and working on-line.

Embarrassing Confession… I was sitting to much and not practicing enough yoga. My back suffered. It was time for me to get away from my desk and start moving more. Why not walk? Fresh Air, Sky, Sunshine!

Walking is good for back pain

I found some research to support the benefits of Exercise Walking and discovered the benefits of walking are similar to the benefits of yoga.

• strengthens the muscles of the feet, legs, hips, and torso – increasing stability of the spine

• nourishes the spinal structures improving circulation and the transfer of nutrients and toxins

• strengthens the bones – reducing osteoporosis

• improves overall metabolism and cardio-vascular conditioning

According to an article in Better Homes and Gardens by James McCommons,  “Walking works because it stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins, neurotransmitter chemicals that make you feel better physically and mentally. Walking also blocks pain through distraction. This is known as the gate control theory of pain: When you work the big muscle groups in the trunk and legs — muscles with correspondingly large nerves — the signals fired to the brain literally overload pain messages coming from smaller nerves.”

Plus the Huffington Post reported on a study of 52 sedentary patients with chronic low back pain who “improved significantly in all areas of assessment” by walking 20 – 40 minutes a day. Another drug free therapy to reduce back pain mentioned was Yoga. Both practices lessen pain, hasten healing, and boost strength and flexibility.

“Perfect,” I thought. “I found winning combination! Allow my yoga to create structural balance, flexibility and ease of movement, and let the walking help me build tone, and get me out of the house!”

Can you get back pain from walking?

Yes, it is possible to get back pain from walking. Which is mostly a result of poor posture and weak core muscles, allowing the lower belly to drop forward. However, that was not the case for me. It seemed the deeper muscles of my hips joints, buttocks, and low back were weak from sitting. I am always harping to my students to “keep a strong core and

Great stairs in the old world.

My daughter and I, September walking in Assisi.

balanced flexible hips” to be able to squat and stand without assistance, thus avoiding the future use of a wheelchair.

You can understand my surprise….. When I started walking again in July and could not walk even a 1/2 mile without limping from hip pain. My joints are healthy, my core is strong, my posture is great… but my hips were weak.

I live in the mountains which is both good and bad. So I started on the most level route I could find every morning. I would have to stop along the way and do a few yoga poses to relieve the muscle spasms in my hips. By the end of 3 weeks, I was walking a ‘hilly’ mile, at 6 weeks I had no hip or lower back pain, and my vitality was up!

Best Way to Relieve Low Back and Hip Pain

My recommendation would be to start with the right yoga moves to reduce pain, create length and space in the spine, and improve flexibility in your hips and legs. The yoga talent I share has helped thousands of people find relief and even freedom from back pain using my Nationally recognized DVD’s, my book – Healing our Backs with Yoga, and my yoga therapy sessions and classes. For more guidance to get you started with your walking practice read what Mayo Clinic has to say.

To our Health, Vitality, and life satisfaction….. Lillah Schwartz





  1. Thanks for the great reminder on how walking usually lessens back pain. I’ve certainly found this to be true over the many years since I suffered from a nearly ruptured disc. This spring and early summer, I also spent too much time sitting at my desk after having left a job that had required me to be very active. I had hip and sacro-iliac pain that wouldn’t go away. I walked 3x a week, but was still too sedentary. Finally, it was time to go to India. I went with much trepidation due to the pain I was still experiencing. Within a week of being there, the pain was nearly gone. By the second week it was a memory. I was doing lots of hiking and simply being on my feet. As you suggest, anything has its liabilities but this most recent experience drove home the lesson for me that hours of extended sitting is a “No,No!”

    • Thanks Koriander for sharing your experience…These days I am asking my yoga students to add walking to their routine as well! Watch for a PDF of my favorite yoga poses to do on a walk to keep my hips and back balanced and fluid… Best to you.

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