Here are a few postures you can do at home to help ease back tension and discomfort. It’s a quick series that requires no special equipment. I used a blanket at home, and found a quiet spot in the corner of my living room. Some of the poses will of course focus on the spine, and others will focus on the hips and hamstrings. It may not seem obvious, but stretching and opening your hips will often help to alleviate back pain. Also, tight hamstrings are sometimes the cause of lower back pain, so they need some attention too. Not only will these stretches provide relief on a physical level, they will also calm and relax your mind. My favorite pose is at the end of the sequence. I’m the kind of person that saves the best for last!
Benefits: Lengthens the spine and neck.
Begin by kneeling with your knees about hip-width distance apart and your big toes touching together. Fold your torso forward over your thighs. I have my arms extended out in front of me. That is one option. If that doesn’t feel comfortable, you may prefer to have your arms by your sides with your palms facing up. Rest here for 5 breaths. If you feel good, feel free to linger in child’s pose for as long as you need. Think about evening out your inhales and exhales. Meaning, it should take around the same amount of time to breathe in as it does to breathe out. Using four counts for the inhale and four counts for the exhale is helpful. For example, inhale-inhale-inhale-inhale, and then exhale-exhale-exhale-exhale. Use your time in child’s pose to connect to a comfortable breathing rhythm for you and then apply it to the rest of the poses.
Benefits: Stretches the spine and neck.
Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrist are aligned under your shoulders, and your knees with be aligned under your hips. Allow your spine to round out. Your head and neck will gently lower, and your tailbone will draw downward simultaneously.
Then reverse the movement. Bring your head and neck up slowly and gently. Your chest will lift as you are lifting head and neck. Simultaneously lift your tailbone up. You can take as many cat-cow cycles as you need.
Benefits: Stretches spine, shoulders, upper back, arms, and chest.
Start on all fours. Walk your hands out in front of you. Press your hands into the floor with your palms facing down. Lower your chest toward the floor. Move slowly and gently as you enter into this posture. It has the potential to feel overwhelming to the shoulders. If this is the case you can do child’s pose in place of puppy pose.
This is one of my favorite postures. It’s halfway between child’s pose and downward facing dog. I love the immediate relief I get for my spine and upper back.
Head to Knee Pose:
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, stretches/opens hips.
Begin in a seated position. Extend your right leg to start. Then bring the sole of your left foot to your right inner-thigh. Fold forward over your extended right leg. Go slowly as your fold forward, and stop if it feels too intense. If you have tight hamstrings it may feel best to start with a modified forward fold. My best advice is don’t force any stretch or movement. Repeat everything for the left side.
Knee to Chest Pose:
Benefits: Releases tension in hips and lower back.
Begin by laying down. Lift your right knee toward ... Continue
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