Lengthen, strengthen and open!
Whether you are feeling a little tight in the low back at the end of your work week, or struggling with long term low back pain, these six yoga postures should help ease some of your discomfort.
1. Child's Pose
Basic enough, and simply the best way to stretch out the lumbar region in all directions.
Try reaching your arms out in front to dig a little deeper, and possibly even rock side to side to help land in the posture. Use a block or blanket under your forehead if it doesn’t rest on the ground -- this will ensure you stay relaxed though the spinal muscles.
2. Puppy Pose
This variation of Down Dog is wonderful if Child's Pose is a challenge for your hips or ankles.
Try to create a straight line from your fingertips up to your hips, and keep your knees deeply bent. The more you bend your knees and push into your fingertips, the better the stretch becomes and the more relief you will feel.
3. Triangle Pose
This posture is key in combating back pain because it stretches out your spinal muscles and strengthens your legs and core.
Use a block to rest your hand on at first, but aim to have no weight in your bottom hand so that your core is holding you up and supporting your spine as you stretch.
Remember, your goal here is not to touch the block or the floor. Your goal is to have both sides of your rib cage parallel with one another with barely any visible curve.
4. Reclined Twist
Unwind tight muscles with this delicious twist.
Both knees fall over to one side with your gaze in the other direction. Relax your shoulders so that you can soften your back muscles and release completely into your mat.
If you feel like you are holding any part of your body up, place a bolster or block there to support that limb. You really want to be completely soft to reap the benefits of this restorative pose.
5. Rag Doll
Let your head provide a weight that lengthens out your spinal vertebrae, releasing any compression. Make sure you keep your knees bent so that all the emphasis in in stretching the spine and none is handed over to your pelvis or hamstrings.
You could rock side to side or shake your head out to help sink you more deeply into the stretch.
A little upside down time like this is a great way to reset your nervous system, too; a little trick that entices less of a pain response in your brain.
6. Reclined Pigeon
Any kind of Pigeon Pose will do the trick, but if you are in pain, then stay on your back and try to release all four corners of your upper body to the mat.
You can always use a strap to pull your leg closer to your torso if you cannot reach your thigh. The idea behind using Pigeon Pose for a tight low back is that tight hips cause back pain to worsen.
Begin to open your hips, and gradually the pain will dissipate.
Try holding each of these daily for 20 breaths or more at a time, and use as many props as you can get your hands on to support your body where you need it.
Do you experience lower back pain? Have any of these lower back stretches to reduce pain helped you? Share with us below!