Back pain is one of the leading causes of doctor’s office visits in the United States. It’s no wonder this is an epidemic given our sedentary lifestyles and how we spend the majority of our days sitting in cars, at desks and on couches.
Low, middle and upper back pain come with stiffness in the spine and tightness in the muscles. In today’s video, yoga teacher Lauren Golen will teach you a simple series of three postures that will help you lengthen your spine, release tension and stretch the entire backside of your body. This set will get the blood circulating and help you feel energized for the day.
Cat and Cow
For this exercise you will be doing a flexion and extension of your spine while positioned on all fours.
To begin, go down to the table top position, which is on all fours. Make your sure hands are directly under your shoulders and fingers are spread apart, for optimal balance and less chance of hurting your wrist joints. Make sure your knees are directly under your hips.
Take a deep inhalation as you lift your chin up away from your chest. Be sure to press your weight down into the floor as you use that balance to lift up your head and chest. Arch your spine and move your shoulders away from your ears.
Now exhale as you curve your back by rounding your shoulders, tucking your chin down and inward, and pulling your belly in.
Keep pressing your hands against the floor to help the upward arching of your back while continuing to pull your chin as close to your chest as possible.
Go slow and time your movements with your breath. You want to relax into the stretches and bend and extend as deeply as possible. This helps loosen muscles and creates space between the vertebrae.
A series of 8 or 10 repetitions is a great session.
From the last position you will slowly sink back into your hips into what is called the “child’s pose.”
In this position you will essentially be sitting on your heels with spine straight and arms extended in front of you. This position lengthens and extends the spine and shoulders.
Remain in this position for a couple of breath cycles.
Slowly stand up with feel about shoulder’s width apart. You can either place your hands on your hips or allow them to hang down; whichever you find easier.
Keep a slight bend in your knees as you slowly roll your upper body downward by bending at the waist. As your body is low you can either grab opposite elbows or place the backs of your hands on the floor for balance.
You want to feel the weight coming down closer to the big toes than the heels, so that the muscles get a deep stretch. (But don’t come up on your heels).
In this position your entire backside is being elongated: the legs, hips and spine. This means lots of blood is flowing, tension is releasing and you are re-energizing your body.
Take a couple of breaths in the hanging position and then release your hands and slowly rise back up to a standing position.
Give this easy set of three yoga stretches a try in the morning to enliven your energy or any time during the day to relieve back pain, release tension and feel invigorated. You can even pick just one and do it anytime you need. Enjoy!