Do you suffer from lower back pain? This yoga sequence can help.
Unfortunately, back pain is a very common health issue in today’s society. In fact, 4 out of 5 Americans have experienced or will experience back pain at some point. It’s debilitating when it happens to you, which is why it’s so important to remedy the pain by keeping your core and back strong, thus protecting your spine. A strong core can help to keep your spine properly aligned and fortified.
Simply incorporating a few core-strengthening exercises into your yoga practice can be enough to help alleviate your lower back pain. Focus on slow, controlled movements when doing the poses. Moving with intention will be much more effective than speeding through movements mindlessly. So, without further ado, here are six yoga exercises to strengthen your core and help relieve lower back pain.
By Michelle Stanger
Bridge Pose with Hip Pulses
Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your hips with the palms facing down. Inhale and lift your hips. Bring your chest closer to your chin. Take a few breaths then slowly lower your hips to the mat. Activate your core and lift your hips back into Bridge Pose. Practice 5-10 times.
Begin in Table Top Pose. Extend your right leg back and your left arm forward. Squeeze into the mid-line with your arms and legs to balance. Keep your core engaged and your pelvis tucked to protect your lower back. Hold for a few breaths, or if you would like more intensity, crunch your knee and elbow to meet on your exhale. On your inhale, extend the arm and leg back to Spinal Balance. Practice 5-10 times then return to Table Top Pose and repeat on opposite side.
Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Inhale and bring your shoulders forward to stack over your wrists and come onto the balls of your feet. Keep your awareness on activating your core. Lift your hips almost level with your shoulders and draw the navel up and in towards the spine. Reach the crown of the head forward and the heels back to lengthen the spine. Hold for 5-10 breaths. When you are ready to release, either return to Downward Facing Dog or Table Top Pose.
Forearm Side Plank Pose
From Plank Pose, roll onto the outer blade of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot, or option to stagger your left foot in front of the right foot for more balance. Keep your right hand on the yoga mat and reach your left your arm skyward to stack your left shoulder on top of your right shoulder. Lift your hips high and flex your feet to protect your ankles. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides.
Hollow Body Hold
Lie on your back with your arms overhead. Engage your core and press your lower back into the mat. Hold and keep the core engaged, but don’t forget to breathe. When you’re ready to add intensity, lift your legs and arms off the mat without allowing your back to lift off the mat. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly release. Practice 3-5 rounds.
Lie on your stomach and bend both knees to bring your heels towards your hips. Reach your right hand to your right foot (grab the outside of the foot). Now the left side. Use a yoga strap, if needed. Inhale and kick your feet into your hands to lift your chest off the mat. Pause here and activate your inner thighs to bring your knees hip-distance apart. After a few breaths, release your grip and slowly lower your body to the mat. Bend the knees and tick-tock the feet side-to-side to relieve tension in your back.
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All images courtesy of Michelle Stanger / YogiApproved.com.