Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Our postural habits, stress, sitting for too long, lack of exercise and also the position that we sleep can all be factors that cause those little back niggles we get from time to time.
Here are four simple yoga stretches that you can do every day that will help to ease your back pain. Whilst performing these stretches its important to focus on your breathing. Take deep breathes in and out of the nose, matching your inhale with your exhale, so if you are breathing in for 3 counts then breath out for 3 counts. This will help to relax your mind, body and release toxins including stress and emotions that get stored up in the spine.
If you have a medical condition or injury, please consult your GP or physiotherapist before doing these exercises.
Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Centre your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
Inhale slowly arching the back, lifting the chest allowing the belly to sink towards the floor, lift the chin so the head is looking forward. Exhale slowly rounding your spine dropping the chin gently towards the chest making a hump in the back drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Repeat slowly 10 times breathing in as the back arches and out as the back rounds.
Childs Pose (Balasana)
Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Walk your hands forward and lay your torso down between your thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck taking the head towards the floor. Stretch your arms forward drawing the shoulder blades down the back, creating as much length as you can through your spine. Hold the position for 5 slow breathes, as you breath in focus on breathing into your back expanding your rib cage laterally.
Double Knee Lying Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Begin by lying on your back with your knees and and feet on the floor. Open your arms out to the side in line with your shoulders, palms facing down for support. Take a deep breath in then exhale and slowly lower both legs to the left side of the body. Continue to breath slowly as you let your head turn naturally to the right. Encourage your right shoulder to stay in contact with the floor maintaining the twist through the upper spine. Hold the twist for 5 breaths focusing on sending the breath down the right side of the torso. For a deeper stretch draw both knees up towards the left arm pit. To exit, press both hands into the floor at shoulder level and contract your abdominal muscles, then lift your knees back up to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie supine on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
Pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, tilt your pelvis gently pressing your lower back into the floor. Keeping your thighs and inner feet parallel inhale then slowly lift your buttocks until the thighs. Exhale and slowly lower back down repeat 5 times.
Becca Mclachlan Fitness Studios will be launching new Small Group Yoga classes including classes for beginners in January 2018. For details email [email protected]