Posts in Yoga
Karin Wagner, Certified Advanced Rolfer

Portland, Oregon

Karin says:

“I first tried Rolfing when I graduated from college, hoping that it would help with the back pain I'd had since high school. It turned out that improving my posture through Rolfing was the key.

The 10-session series resolved the chronic back pain, and it also dramatically improved my athletic ability. When I began practicing yoga, the movements felt easy and strong because my joints were better positioned and my movement was more coordinated. I trained to run a 5K without much discomfort, learned to ski as an adult, and got my blackbelt in Aikido. I tried each of those activities prior to receiving Rolfing, and felt a huge change after my Rolfing series. Rolfing helped me access my natural ability to move. 

Now I've been a Rolfer for 15 years, and I love doing this work. Sometimes it is like following clues to unlock a puzzle, so we work together to solve the mystery.”

Norma Colón, Level II Iyengar Teacher

New York

While I was in New York for a stretch, I studied yoga with Norma Colón.  She is an accomplished Level II Iyengar teacher — strangely difficult to come by on the upper east side of Manhattan — and she’s also one of the kindest, most patient people I’ve ever met, which makes her ideal for working with people with back pain.  She’s also tireless; no part of my body escaped her eagle eye. She’ll help you get where you need to go, by pushing you just hard enough.

If you're in New York City, give Norma a call.

Required Reading: Back Care Basics by Mary Pullig Schatz

The book Back Care Basics: A Doctor’s Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief is a good source to read up on therapeutic yoga as a low-cost solution for back conditions. Author Mary Pullig Schatz emphasizes positivity and dedication in both the prevention and treatment of issues from strain, arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, pregnancy, and stress with yoga. 

Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States

If you have back pain and an interest in yoga, Iyengar is for you. The website for the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States provides information on the Iyengar method as well as histories of its creators and developers (B.K.S. Iyengar is apparently known as the “Michelangelo of yoga”), research on the body and its interaction with yoga, information on Iyengar teacher certification and evaluation, links to books and articles, and a teacher search function. Iyengar yoga aims to adjust poses and practices to the individual, and to teach in stages, starting with standing poses for beginners and moving on from there to more complex poses and flows. Emphasis is on accessibility of yoga to everyone, regardless of age, physical condition, or mental and emotional state. Read an article about how Iyengar views the spine here.

For more information about the benefits of Iyengar yoga for low back pain, read this article published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, called “Therapeutic Application of Iyengar Yoga for Healing Chronic Low Back Pain.” And check out Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs, based off of research by the University of York.


American Viniyoga Institute


The American Viniyoga Institute is the union of practitioners and institutions that base their practice in Viniyoga. As the site explains it, Viniyoga is “a comprehensive and authentic transmission of the teachings of yoga including asana, pranayama, bandha, sound, chanting, meditation, personal ritual and study of texts. Viniyoga (prefixes vi and ni plus yoga) is an ancient Sanskrit term that implies differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application.” Gary Kraftsow developed the institute in order to tailor different methods and practices in yoga to individuals’ specific needs and conditions with a focus on back pain. The institute is based in Oakland, CA, but you can search for a teacher or therapist anywhere through the AVI website’s directory here.