Biting lower back pain is debilitating, so bite back and alleviate lower back pain with these 5 poses!
Lower back pain, pain in the lumbar spine specifically, while experienced by many, doesn’t always start in the back. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors could actually be the culprit causing your discomfort. Over-worked muscles, dehydration, and improper movement patterns can lead to a tight lower complex that often causes misalignment in the lower back which causes pain. What is most important to note, is that staying healthy and pain free in your lower structure leads to longevity through optimum mobility, stability, and strength. In order for the muscles in your legs and hips to stay healthy and flexible, stretching is of utmost importance. Practice these 5 hamstring and hip-opening poses to relax the surrounding muscles and alleviate low back pain.
Standing Forward Fold
Stand with feet about as wide as your hip points. (Where your hip bones point forward.) Curl your chin to your chest and start to fold forward one vertebrae at a time articulating through the spine until you reach a forward fold. Rest your arms wherever they are comfortable. You can either reach for your feet, ankles, shins or knees, or grab opposite elbows. Let the crown of your head hang towards the floor, and draw the abdomen into the spine to help deepen the stretch in the lower back as you exhale.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back and draw your abdomen into the spine. Relax the shoulders down towards the mat and ensure the tail bone is also relaxed towards the ground rather than curled up. Release one leg onto the mat and lift the other leg up towards the ceiling. Interlace your fingers behind the thigh and relax into your stretch with each exhale. Having a prop like a yoga strap, theraband or even belt can aid this pose by acting as an anchor to the foot.
Start on all fours in a kneeling table top position and slide your right knee towards your right hand. Slide your left knee back as far as your hips will allow making sure your weight stays squared over the center of your mat. Begin to slide your right foot towards your left wrist a few inches at a time until you feel a nice stretch in the right hip and glute.
Begin in a standing position, and bend your knees and lower your hips while coming into a squat. Lower your chest towards your knees and bring the backside of your arms into your inner thighs, pressing the palms together into a ‘prayer’ position and carefully ease some weight back onto the heels. If your heels do not rest comfortably on the mat, you can lift your heels and rest your hips on the heels or roll a mat up and place it beneath your heels to elevate them sagely.
Downward Facing Dog
From a pushup position, bend the knees slightly and lift tailbone upward, sending your sit bones towards the back of the room. Draw your shoulder blades down your back to create space between your ears and shoulders and externally rotate the eye of your elbow forward pressing your fingertips and knuckles into the mat to take pressure off of your wrists. Your heel may or may not touch the mat, simply focus on finding length in your hamstrings and low back. Hold this position for 5–8 breaths.
Now that you’re relaxed, go easy on yourself with a simple healthy dinner: Tortilla Heaven!