In this article, I'm sharing 5 Yoga exercises that will help ease tension and ache in your lower back.
I have known lower backache on and off since my teens. I experienced my first major issue in my early 20's when my back went into complete spasm. I was literally left lying on my back for a few days, dosed with anti-inflamatories and painkillers. Fortunately, this has happened only a couple of times in my life, but I have had a few more minor "seize-up's". Throw into the mix a bad horse-riding fall 10 years ago resulting in multiple fractures to my pelvis, and quite a few ski and snowboard tumbles. Yes, I know back pain.
Discovering Yoga over 20 years ago was no coincidence. I started to gain some real tools which made a dramatic difference to how my back felt. Every time I felt the familiar nagging ache - which usually escalated to something more severe - I got onto my mat, and did just a few poses. They worked their magic each time. Movement was restored, and pain was relieved.
These past few days have not been good back days for me, so I am again calling upon these same, faithful friends. They never let me down!
My teaching has always had a therapeutic focus. I have naturally felt inclined to help others who know back pain. Many of my Shiatsu clients have also suffered from this common complaint.
So, I know I am not alone here. The vast majority of us will suffer from backache in our lives as some point.
Join me, and practice these 5 exercises, whenever you feel your lower back is tense or painful.
And remember, consistency is key for best results.
Remember! Always listen to your body. Never go towards pain. Intense stretching may be challenging, but not painful.
(All poses are done lying on back).
Knees to chest: Hug right knee in towards chest (with hands around it), stretch out left leg. Stay for 5 full cycles of breath. Switch legs.
Pelvic tilts: lie on back, keens bent, feet on floor, hip-width apart. On inhale, let lower back arch away from floor moving tailbone downward. On exhale, contract lower abdominal muscles and press lumbar spine toward floor (tailbone lifts naturally). Repeat 10 times or more.
Reclining upward leg stretch. Grab strap or belt. Place belt over ball of right foot. Hold belt or strap with both hands, extend leg upwards, foot facing ceiling. Actively press heel towards ceiling - you may feel stretch up back of leg. Relax shoulders towards floor, relax jaw and face. Allow the stretch to happen. Stay for at least 5 full breaths. Switch sides.
Thread the needle. Lift both feet, then place right foot just above left knee, so that right knee will open out. Bring both hands around left knee, or inside if more accessible. Use right elbow to gentle press right knee open more. At same time, gently draw right knee towards chest. Hold for at least 5-7 full breaths. Repeat sides. Often more comfortable with a small cushion under head.
Spinal twist. Lift both feet. Bend knees, so that lower legs are parallel to ceiling. Keep legs together. Let knees fall to left side. Place a support under knees if necessary. Let left hand rest on outer knee. Open out right arm. Relax belly. Take at least 5 full cycles of breath. Switch sides.
I hope you enjoy and find them helpful.
For lots more back-care tips, join me on a Sunday morning Yoga class in Wicklow for a class where you will feel well taken care of. See here for more details.
Article by Kerry White
Kerry is a Yoga Teacher & Shiatsu Therapist, Workplace Wellness Facilitator, Speaker, Motherhood Clarity Coach, and the founder of Kerry Wellbeing.
Kerry specializes in workplace sessions to help people feel as well as possible, physically & mentally. Through practical and collaborative sessions, Kerry equips people in the workplace with effective tools and insights to help them deal positively with everyday stress, challenges and common health and well-being complaints (including backache, headaches, fatigue and anxiety).
Kerry has brought her unique health & wellbeing sessions to numerous top corporates and organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Because she has spent many years working in pressured office-based roles, Kerry understands the challenges many people experience, both physically and mentally.
She teaches Yoga at a studio in Wicklow, Ireland, as well as in various workplaces in Ireland.