Yoga with Simplyhealth

Gorgeous Lissy from Lissy Runs went to check out an awesome yoga workshop with Simplyhealth last weekend. The workshop was focussed on back pain prevention and it turns out Simply Health have a pretty nifty app to help with just that too. Find out how she got on…


Since running the Copenhagen half marathon back in September, I’ve been having issues with my back. At the end of the race I could barely stand upright, but thankfully after the sports massage from heaven/hell in the race village I was able walk, skip and dance my way through the post-race celebrations as planned. I’m loathed to say that I’m injured or in pain, but it’s more than I’m now very aware of my lower back and it’s uncomfortable when I push things a bit too far. It seems that back problems are common for a lot of runners and athletes – I know plenty of people who also have problems (and there was me always thinking it was a thing only Dads moaned about).

After a couple of trips to the physio, I’ve discovered my butt is to blame. Damn those lazy, good for nothing (at the moment) glutes, making my lower back and (consequently super tight) hamstrings overcompensate for the work they’re not doing.I’ve been given quite a few strengthening exercises by my physio, but am still on the hunt for anything that’s going to help strengthen my core and glutes, as well as stretches that are gentle on my lower back. So I jumped (carefully) at the chance when Sophie offered the opportunity to attend a yoga workshop that focussed on providing ‘advice on using yoga as a method of back pain prevention’.

The workshop was split into three sections. First we laid on our mats with our eyes closed, in order to focus on our breathing. The aim of this section was to become aware of both our breathing and our bodies. It’s not very often (if ever) you get to lie in complete stillness and silence, so I always enjoy these short sections of any yoga practice, for the novelty if nothing else. It is a great place to start when considering where in your body you are experiencing pain and discomfort though, and helps you distinguish between the two.

The second and third sections were movement based, one still on the floor and one standing up. We went through various (really simple) movements to stretch and move our backs – such as forward bends, side bends and arm rotations. Throughout each of the exercises, our instructor Colin asked us to share what we experienced and the impact each exercise had. This was a really gentle, slow paced workshop, and for someone used to practising power yoga, I was surprised at the impact the movements were having. At the end, some people with specific questions around their back pain had the opportunity to be shown what would be useful for them. As someone with a good base knowledge of yoga, for me the workshop just highlighted the benefit even just a few gentle stretches or movements can have if done regularly.

Pretty much all the exercises we covered (plus loads more) are included in a new Back Care app, which aims to help people take manage their back pain on a daily basis as well as take preventative steps to manage their back health easily around their lifestyle. I was able to tap in the area I was concerned with, the severity and then it gives you lots of exercises to try out. Some of these are ones I already have in my pre/post workout routine, others were new to me which I have started to work my way through. 

The section I really like is where you can choose exercises to cater to your personal needs – be it things you can do in the car, whilst at your desk or whilst cycling (of particular interest to me as I’m convinced my back ‘pain’ was triggered by poor form in spinning). I have an office job, and have already started doing some of the preventative care exercises at my desk – some are as easy as stretching an elastic band with your fingers, so are really easy to incorporate into your day.

The Simplyhealth Back Care app is available on Apple and Android and for every download Simplyhealth pledges to donate £1 to the charity BackCare (up to the value of £120,000).

I attended the yoga workshop as a guest of Simplyhealth, but all views on the session and app are my own.

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