The qigong exercises I have been doing for the upper back and neck have made a huge difference, and I am rarely experiencing pain or tightness in the upper back. Now, however, my lower back is tight and achey. Dr. K says my spine is stabilizing, but the muscles still seem to be touchy and become sore easily. I did go ahead and order the accompanying video for lower back pain. I arrived yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.
With my recent renewed interest in Taoist exercise and meditation, I felt drawn yesterday to look through Mantak Chia's book Cosmic Healing, which I first read a couple of years ago. I have been doing some of his Taoist energy meditation techniques in my meditations lately, and I wanted to review them. And besides, it is nice to flip through the book every now and then. Chia packs a lot of information in a few pages and you never know when something will strike you as useful.
I came to a page that discussing two pairs of chi routes that run along the front (yin channel) and back (yang channel) of the body. Apparently the symptoms I have--backache, headache, and joint swelling (arthritis)--can indicate that the yin channels are blocked, creating an excess of yang energy.
Huh. I have known for years that I had underlying back issues that should probably have been treated, but the problems only became acute after I spent last year doing hatha yoga nearly every day. Hatha yoga is pretty yang. Maybe the yoga I did strongly activated my yang energy, but wasn't as effective in opening the yin channels on the front of the body. That would explain why I have been having so much success with yin yoga and qigong, both of which strive to gently open the chi routes and balance energy.
Cosmic Healing gives several qigong visualizations designed to open both the yin and yang chi routes that I will begin adding to my morning routine. Mantak Chia's website also has several free videos. I am particularly interested in this Tao Yin exercise that looks like it would be very good for lower back pain.
Along with the Lee Holden lower back qigong video I just got, these practices will hopefully unblock my yin and bring as much mobility to my lower back as the upper body qigong practices have done for my upper back.