Did you know that low back tension is often caused by tightness in your hip flexors (the area at the front of your thighs)? This is commonly caused by spending a lot of time sitting, which most of us are guilty of (or can’t really avoid).
These 7 poses will help you to open up this area and extend your hip flexors.
I suggest you keep a couple of blocks (or other props like cushions, pillow or books) close by to make this as comfortable and restorative of a practice as can be.
1. Grounding Meditation – Find a comfortable seated position. If you find it hard to sit cross legged, sit up on a block. Or opt to kneel. Whatever is most easeful for your low back here. Sit tall, and let your hands rest on your knees. Keep the chin parallel to the ground, raise the crown, and find a neutral spine. Notice if you are tilting forward or back, left or right. Focus on breath, breathing through the nose and sending it to the low back. Pinpoint any tension you feel, as you work to set an intention for your practice.
2. Baby Dragon – Or low lunge. Have your set of blocks handy as you come up to your hands and knees. Step your right foot forward, between your hands at the front of the mat. Ensure that your knee is stacked over your ankle. As we will be here a while, you may want to double up your mat to pad the back knee. If you find having your hands down to the mat too intense, bring the blocks under your palms for a more restorative pose. Let the pelvis be heavy. Relax your shoulders down. Simply breathe here, you aren’t chasing anything. Slowly ease your way out of this side, step the right foot back, returning to table top. Then make your way to the other side.
3. Rag Doll Fold – As you come out of your second side of low lunge, step your back foot forward. Take the feet wide, towards the edges of the mat. Bend your knees generously as you hinge at the hips into your forward fold. We aren’t looking to stretch the hamstrings here but rather the low back. Hold opposite elbows as you let yourself hang over the legs. If you like, sway from side to side. Release your neck. Take 10 deep full breaths here.
4. Malasana – Or Yogi Squat. Turn your heels in slightly, then bend your knees and drop the hips down. Bring your hands together at the front of the heart, using your elbows to push the knees open wider. Try to lengthen the crown of the head up so that you’re not rounding the back. Your heels may be lifted, that’s totally normal. If your hips are tight, you can support yourself here by placing a block under your seat.
5. Reclined Child’s Pose – Come down to lay on your back. Pull the knees in towards your belly. Let your spine curve naturally here as you hold on to your shins. Sway or rock side to side, whatever feels good to your low back.
6. Supported Bridge – Letting go of the legs, grab a block. Bend the knees, bringing the soles of the feet to the mat. Lift the hips and slide the block under to support them. I’ve put the block at the lowest level here, while you are welcome to go higher, the lower the block the more restorative the pose will be. Keep your feet flat on the ground or extend the legs out in front of you. If extending the legs causes any strain in the low back, step them back. For some extending the legs will feel better, listen to your body. Bring your hands onto your low belly to help guide you through deep belly breaths. Relax your shoulders and upper back. After several deep breaths here, bend the knees if legs are extended. Lift the hips and slide the block out, then lower your hips.
7. Laying Spinal Twist – This is one of the best poses for relieving low back pain. Reach your arms out into a T. Shift the hips slightly to the right, then drop the knees to the left. If your knees drop all the way to the ground stay here. If they’re lifted, bring a block or prop under to support them. Or if you are quite close to the ground, you can add some gentle assistance with the left hand on top of the knees. Whatever iteration, ensure the right shoulder is grounding down. Switch sides.
These 7 poses come from a half hour yin practice over on my YouTube channel. You can find the full thing below.
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Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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