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I was diagnosed with a L5/S1 disk herniation which was treated very conservatively with physio and traction which eventually worked. 7 months later I am practising triangle again with my hand on a chair, not lower. I'm pleased to have got this far after not being able to bend or twist at all. I am no longer teaching but if I did I would still insist my pupils work with gentle respect as some of the aggressive overambitious yoga classes I attended are the likely cause of many unstable backs. Trying go further into poses and active adjustments are not ahimsa nor safe and we should try and avoid striving to an athletic ideal.


Please, can someone explain how to do this recommended pose? "Ardha Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Half Upward-Facing Dog Pose)ówith hands on back of chair, not on floor or seat of chair" A photo would be very helpful.


I am a lean 63 yr. old female who had a discectomy last August. I have done lots of racewalking and have been teaching yoga for the past 4 years. Suddenly, it seemed, I was unable to get into several poses because of sciatic pain down my rt. leg. It took several months of doing various things (chiropractic, epidural, physical therapy) and NOT teaching yoga - to no avail - before a neurosurgeon suggested a discectomy on my L5/S1 disk. He is very conservative and only after an MRI did he suggest the surgery. I am pain-free now, 7 months later, but am being very cautious in what I do and how I move. The neurosurgeon was very tactful but said basically that the cause was just wear and tear because of my age and that I need to be more careful so as to not reinjure myself. I wonder if I'll ever teach yoga again. I'm so gunshy. Here I thought I was doing only good things for my body, prided myself on how fit I was - and then to get sidelined with this. I am SO grateful that the pain is gone but I hate that I am now so cautious. I would like to find several safe yoga postures to do, that I can teach to others, that won't come back to bite me in 4 years.


I agree wirh mark u. - these comments worry me. The individual injury needs to me addressed on an indiviudal basis. Even then I worry about the treating doctor. I was referred to "the best back specialist" that Beth Israel had to offer. I told him i was concerned about my depression setting in and weight becoming a problem since my injury (I am unable to cycle anymore out since he diagosed my L4/L5 - L5/S1 herniations. I specifically asked what if anything I should to for exercise to try to stave off the feelings of depression i get when i am unable to workout for a few days let alone an indeterminate amount of time. He recommended i get a membership to a pool in the middle of the winter, except I was unemployed and had nowhere in NYC that I could afford to use a pool.Then he said well "definitely no running", and I said "That's okay, i only walk for fun, but I can't run. All I have ever done is cycle, which is why you said my back is in the shape its in." Then, as if he did not hear a thing i just said, he replies "Oh yeah, cycling is great exercise - you can definitely do that - no problem." I don't trust this doctor. or the other 2 physical therapist he had recommended me to. I am losing faith. When (Not if, but WHEN) I heal, I want to help people prevent back injuries so they don't have to go throught the fear, the pain, and the endless parade of uncaring "medical professionals (who don't return calls for 5 days).
I pray for the healing of every other injury and prevention of all others!


I am a small 68 yr. old female and have a bulging disk at L4-5 that presses on the scaitic nerve. I was told by the neurosurgeon NOT to do any hyperextension (bending backward), bending side to side, or twisting motions. All of that pretty well eliminates a lot of yoga moves. I do all of the core and hamstring strengthening exercises given by the PT as well as the IT band stretches (Swan), and can do the forward bends. Walk 2 miles 2 X day. I sure do miss all of the intense yoga and pilates classes! Old age is not for sissies!

mark uridel

It is comments like these that worry me...i have been a physical therapist and yoga teacher for 25 years. yoga teachers really should refer people with disc problems to a physical therapist. A disc can bulge anteriorly, posteriorly or posterior-laterally. Each special condition requires specific movment cautions. A disc bulge can be latent (not causing any symptoms) or acute and this means specific cautions. It is way beyond the scope of a yoga teacher or yoga journal to address these issues and provide safe advice. It needs to be handled on an individual basis.


hi have 2 bulging disk, lumbar, and 2 degenerated, but all poses are fine, i feel fine, i just dontknow which i should avoid, only teh shoulder stand hurts after i perform it but just for a minutte, can i do all, roounding my back i thought it helped but you say not to do it,,,???


I have been diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5-S1. It seems if I jump around, pain radiates, however if I power walk I am fine. Also, any yoga practice always makes it feel better. I have stayed away from back bends. Why would yoga practice make if feel better? Also, can I do backbends?


I have received YJ for a couple of years now -- and love it. For nearly a year, I have been sidelined from my yoga practice due to a herniated disc. I entered back into practice recently and was having great success until, during "gentle yoga" class, I aggravated the disc in a sun salutation. What do I do now? I miss yoga!


I have the L4 nerve root pinched. Please help me with what I can do in yoga, thank you

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