Sore Lower Back and Legs From Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga, done in a studio heated to up to 105 degrees. It was created by Bikram Choudhury and consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises done in the same sequence each time. You may experience soreness in the lower back and legs, areas you consistently lengthen and strengthen in each of the poses. Some poses focus more on the legs and lower back than others. Soreness is common, especially if you are new to Bikram yoga or are returning after time off.
Soreness occurs due to tiny microscopic tears that occur in muscle fibers during exercise. After yoga, your muscle begins to rebuild itself with new, stronger muscle. If you are new to Bikram yoga practice, you may experience intense soreness in the lower back and legs, but after time, your muscles will adapt and the soreness will fade.
Usually, you will experience sore legs and lower back within 24 to 48 hours after your Bikram yoga practice. If your soreness is minor, you can practice Bikram the next day; the increase in body temperature will help more blood flow to the muscles and help alleviate soreness. If your legs and lower back are very sore, then rest for a day and go back to Bikram yoga after the soreness abates.
The best and easiest way to treat sore muscles is rest. Other remedies include icing the lower back and legs, massage and heat. Gently stretching your lower back and legs may provide some relief. Cat and Cow Pose help massage the lower back and Downward Facing Dog creates a gentle stretch for the legs.
Forward folding poses stretch the lower back and legs feature prominently in the Bikram yoga sequence. You can modify poses that lengthen the hamstrings, such as Hands to Feet, by bending your knees slightly. Modify backbends like Camel, Locust and Bow by easing back on the degree of your backbend and by using your leg and core strength to keep your lower back protected.
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Sapna Pathak is a certified professional yoga therapist, yoga instructor, diet and nutrition consultant. She is also certified as a prenatal yoga and aerial yoga teacher. A sports writer for the "Boston Globe," Pathak has won numerous awards for her coverage of sports, health, diet and fitness issues. In 2004, she earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and exercise physiology/neurobiology.