Updated: Oct 31, 2019
The lower back is an area that can often be quite sensitive for most of us at some point in our lives. Whether we exercise a lot or sit for long periods of time during the day – our lower back can end up holding a lot of tension and become painful. This can often affect our mood and our days.
Yoga can provide great relief from the pain as well as provide great preventative care of the future. Here are some yoga postures that may help relieve lower back pain.
1) Seated Twist – come to a comfortable cross legged-position (option to pop a block or a cushion underneath the tailbone to elevate the hips). Bring the right hand behind you and place the left hand on your right knee coming into a spinal twist. Let the shoulders drop away from the ears and the head can twist slightly further than the chest. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths and repeat on opposite side (see below).
2) Child’s Pose Side Body Stretch – come into a Child’s Pose by sitting back onto the heels so that the chest rests on the thighs, extending the arms forward. Walk the hands towards the right-hand side of the mat and circulate the breath throughout the left side body. Option to deepen the pose by placing the left hand over the right. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths and repeat on opposite side.
3) Cat-Cow Stretch – oh the mother of all yoga flows (at least, in my opinion). Come onto hands and knees (wrists beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips). As you inhale, drop the belly down towards the mat, stick the bum out and lift through the chest, gazing up. Exhale to tuck the bum under, push the ground away with the hands as you dome through the spine and drop the chin towards the chest. Repeat harmonising movement to breath for 5-10 cycles of breath.
4) Sphinx Pose – settle the whole of the front body onto the mat – hips and thighs on the mat. Bring the elbows underneath the shoulders and lengthen the forearms forward. Roll the shoulders back to shine the chest forward through the upper arms. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths – making space between the ribs and the pelvis.
5) Ragdoll - Come to a floppy forward fold – bend the legs generously as you take a hold of the elbows. Option to sway from side to side to release the lower back. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.
6) Standing Twists - drop the fingertips underneath the shoulders (onto the mat or blocks). As you inhale – lift the right arm up and twist towards the right peeling the chest open. Option to keep both legs bent or straighten the right leg and bend the left (see below). Exhale to come back to centre. Inhale to lift the left arm and twist towards the left etc. Repeat harmonising movement to breath for 5 cycles of breath.
7) Cobbler’s Pose – bring the soles of the feet together and allow the knees to drop apart. Roll the shoulders down the back and, if it feels comfortable, start to hinge from the hips and fold forward (so it’s almost like you are wrapping the thigh muscles around the hip joint as you fold). Note - this is quite a deep hip-opener so go slow. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.
8) Bridge Pose - come to lie on the back. Bend the legs and bring soles of the feet on the mat, ensuring that the knees are directly over the ankles. Bring the arms either side of the body, palms facing down. Inhale to tuck the tailbone under (flattening out the curve in the spine) and exhale to lift the hips high, peeling lower back, middle back and upper back off the mat. Option to shuffle the shoulders in and interlace fingers behind the back. If you would prefer a more restorative version of this pose, place a cushion or a block underneath the sacrum (lower back). Breath for five deep breaths – pressing down through all four corners of both feet. Roll the spine back down to come out of the pose safely.
9) Supine Twist - come to lie on the back. Lengthen the arms out either side of the body. Cross the left leg over the right and drop the knees over to the right hand side. Option to rotate the head the opposite side to the knees. Option to take the right hand and rest it on the outer left thigh if this feels more comfortable (see below). Allow the shape of the body to do all the work for you - releasing any control of any muscle in the body. Enjoy this deep twist and hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on other side.
As always be safe and do not push into anything that feels painful. Why not link these poses up with some Yoga Postures to Release Neck and Shoulders - check out my other blog post on this!
Enjoy yogis! :-)