The secret ingredient to an everyday happy lower back is open thighs - quadriceps, psoas (hip flexors), hamstrings. If you are a runner, gardener, every day life liver then your legs are getting worked! Muscles get tight and we lose range of motion if we don't balance out with a little lengthening and strengthening.
Any of the poses listed below are great to help relieve everyday back tension. Give them a try after a long hike, gardening session, or just general spring cleaning.
In the comments below, let me know which one worked best for you. Which one do you like the best? Which one is most effective for you? Remember, listen to your gut instincts and modify according to your needs.
Tip#1 - Hips and Thighs Don't Lie
High Lunge with Blocks
Grab 3 yoga blocks (or you can hold onto the seat of a chair and grab one block).
From a forward bend, your hands each on a block, step the right leg back.
Slide the front two blocks back to be in line with your left ankle.
Wedge the third block under your right thigh (an inch or two above the knee on the base of the thigh).
It's nice to bring your left arm and block to the inside of the left leg - you made need to widen your left foot a few inches to the left to accommodate this action.
Spread the back toes, soften between the shoulder blades, and lengthen from the core of your belly to the crown of your head, and from belly back through right arch.
Now for the advanced part - turn the corners of your mouth up! 😊
Tip #2 - The Calf Smasher!
It really will help - once you get past the initial shock. Breathe at least 10-20 breaths and you'll notice things get better. ☺
1. Roll up a sticky may (or firm blanket)
2. Wedge the jelly roll towards the back of the knees (top of the calves).
3. Sit back towards your heels (like you would for vajrasana/thunderbolt)
4. It might be a 'little' uncomfortable.
5. Breathe 10-20 breaths.
6. Slide the rolled up mat back towards the little space at the back of calves, above your heels.
7. This should feel much better!
Tip #3 - Ribbit
The half frog - Ardha Bhekasana. Sometimes we just can't take ourselves too seriously! Laugh a little, live a lot, love a ton! ❤ and open up those thighs!
1. On your belly, bend your right leg.
2. Keep your thighs parallel and hips distance wide.
3. Right hand reaches back to hold onto the outer edge of right foot.
4. Press the foot into the hand and then draw the foot towards the outer edge of the right hip.
5. Lengthen from the belly to the crown of the head and from belly back through right knee.
7. Advanced option: turn up the corners of your mouth 😉
Tip #4 - Shoot for the Moon
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Norman Vincent Peale
Modified Warrior 1
1. From a high lunge, place the heel of your back foot against a wall.
2. Keep the front leg bent to a 90 degree angle.
3. Square your hips and reach your arms for the stars!
4. Actively extend from your belly through the back leg and press that heel into the wall.
5. Lengthen from the belly up through the finger tips and breathe!
Tip #5 - It's Not Over Until the Pigeon Sings!
Variations on Pigeon II (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II)
Now some people like to call this the screaming pigeon. I find that name just scares all of us! :) Why not sing instead of scream. Although I have been to some very interesting concerts where you could question singing versus screaming.
It's nice to have two blocks for this one and blanket or towel for your back knee.
Starting from table, your hands on the blocks, slide your left knee back, about an inch from the wall.
Place the top of the left foot on the wall (make sure your toes are pointing right up to the sky).
Swing your right foot forward and plant the foot flat on the floor.
Walk your hands and blocks a little to the left diagonally and see if you can lower down to your elbows or blocks. (This is going for right inner thigh and hamstring, maybe the front of the left thigh too.)
Your hips will move away from the wall.
Come back up to your hands and slowly walk them back, moving your hips towards the wall.
Maybe you keep your hands on the blocks, maybe you bring them up to rest on your right thigh. Or maybe if you need more stretch, reach them all the way up to the sky.
For even more opening, keep the hips square, muscles engaged, and move the hips forward away from the wall moving towards a backbend.
Switch sides. (Hold each side 5 - 10 breaths.)
Sing your heart out!
If you're back is feeling happy, then you won't want to miss these extra Happy Lower Back Yoga tips. Just click here to see more!
with light and love,