Lower Back Pain? Try These Stretches….
- Downward & Upward-Facing Dog Stretches
Targets: back extensors, chest, hamstrings, and core.
These complementary poses are essential for reducing back pain. Downward-facing dog helps improve lower back form, spinal support, and improve posture. Flow your way to Upward-facing dog to make it a power combo. This pose opens your chest and back and engages your core muscles.
Try it: Upward – Start by lying flat on the floor with your palms facedown by the middle of your ribs. While drawing your legs together and pressing the tops of your feet into the floor, use the strength of your back, not your hands, to lift your chest off the floor. Leave your legs extended straight out at first. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat as needed.
Downward – Start on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Pressing back, raise your knees away from the floor and lift your tailbone up toward the ceiling. For an added hamstring stretch, gently push your heels toward the floor. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat the pose five to seven times.
- Cat & Cow Pose
Targets: lower back, chest, core, and neck.
These poses are a perfect way to warm up and regulate your breath. They are also great for stretching your chest and back and improving posture.
Try it: Starting in an all-fours position, move into Cat pose by slowly pressing your spine up and arching your back. Hold for a few seconds and then move to Cow Pose by scooping your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades back and lifting your head. Moving back and forth from Cat to Cow helps move your spine into a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension.
Repeat 10 times, flowing smoothly from Cat into Cow, and Cow back into Cat. Repeat the sequence as needed.
- Child’s Pose
Target: hips, thighs, and ankles
Usually done after Cobra pose, this pose helps stabilize the spine and elongate the back. In addition, it is great for de-stressing and soothing the brain.
Try it: Start on all fours with your arms stretched out straight in front of you, then sit back so your glutes (butt muscles) come to rest just above — but not touching — your heels. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat as many times as needed for a good, soothing stretch.
- Pigeon Pose
Target: hip rotators and flexors, lower back, and glutes.
Since tight hips can worsen lower back pain, it’s important to add this to your flow. This moderate level pose works deep into aids in stretching the glutes and hamstrings by working the connective tissue. In addition, it helps increase range of motion and work often-ignored areas.
Pigeon pose, which can be a little challenging for yoga newbies, stretches hip rotators and flexors. It may not seem like the most obvious position to treat a backache, but tight hips can contribute to lower back pain.
Try it: Start in Downward-Facing Dog with your feet together. Then draw your left knee forward and turn it out to the left so your left leg is bent and near perpendicular to your right one; lower both legs to the ground. You can simply keep your back right leg extended straight behind you, or for an added hamstring stretch — seasoned Pigeon posers, only! — carefully pull your back foot off the ground and in toward your back. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch to the other side, and repeat as needed.