Lower back pain and tight hips is common in all walks of life. The trouble is that it messes with your walk. These 5 stretches will keep you pain free.
Tight hips and lower back pain seem to be a common complaint among everyone from the athlete to the desk-bound. Stress and emotional issues can also contribute to tension being felt in the hips. Regardless of its origin, it is important to un-do what is done to prevent injury, increase flexibility, and reduce discomfort in your hips and low back. Try practicing each of these five stretches on a daily basis, being sure to hold each pose for at least 45–60 seconds before moving on to the next one in the series. It can be helpful to include breathing while working through each pose by releasing the stretch slightly as you inhale and increasing the stretch as you exhale.
Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back resting the back of your head comfortably on the mat. Draw your knees upwards to your armpits and reach your hands up the inside of the calves and take hold of the arch of each foot. The soles of the feet should face the ceiling. Draw the tailbone down onto the mat finding length in the lower back. The sensation will be felt in the inner thigh, hip flexors, and lower back.
Reclined Bound Angle
Lower the legs onto the mat so that the soles of the feet touch and rest near the tailbone. Let the knees fall open and allow the natural weight of the legs to stretch the hips. Rest the arms on the mat with palms facing upward and draw the shoulder blades beneath the body. The sensation will be felt on the front of the hips.
From a “table-top” position, walk down onto the forearms. Begin to widen the knees outside of your mat until you find a deep stretch in the hips and inner thigh. As you feel the muscles relax and release, keep walking the legs out a little at a time. To take some pressure off of this stretch, walk the feet together. Sensation will be felt on the inner thighs and hips.
Figure Four Stretch
Lying on your back, draw the knees into the chest. Place the right ankle over the left knee, reach the arms through the legs, and interlace your fingers behind the back of the left thigh. Relax the head, neck, and shoulders down onto the mat and draw the tailbone downward also. Hold for 45–60 seconds before switching sides. To increase the stretch, slide the legs towards the hand that is holding the thigh. Sensation will be felt in the back of the hips, glutes, and lower back.
Low Lunge / Crescent Lunge
Come to a kneeling position on your mat. You may roll up the mat or place a blanket or towel beneath the knee if you feel any pressure or discomfort on the knees. Take a big step forward with your left leg placing the foot flat on the floor and lower the top of the right foot to the floor. Slide the hips in a forward motion to find a stretch in the front of the thigh and hip on the right leg. Double check that the left knee is directly over the ankle! To increase this stretch, place your hands on the left knee, and raise the right knee off of the floor. Sensation will be felt in the thighs and hip flexors.
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