Lower back pain affects over 31 million Americans at some time or another. For some it is temporary lasting a few days to a few months and for others it is chronic. Back pain is something we have all experienced and is often related to sciatic pain, especially if you have a herniated disc. This practice is about relieving some of the pressure and tightness which may make lower back pain and sciatic pain persist to grant you some relief and release. Always ask your doctor what poses you should or should not be doing with your specific condition and if a pose doesn't feel right or you experience sharp shooting pain or deep discomfort, come out of the pose and move to another. And always feel free to gather more pillows and blankets just in case you need more support (throw pillows, bed pillows, towels)!
Just a note here too - if you are not experiencing any symptoms of back pain or sciatica, this could be used as a preventative measure - keeping the spine long, limber and healthy.
Join me using this practice guide or using the video link below or here (https://youtu.be/F3JZdS7w08g). Enjoy!
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Supported Downward Facing Dog (chair or wall)
Hold: 2-3 minutes
Come up against a wall or use the back of a chair and place your hands flat. Begin to walk your feet back until your body is in a 90 degree angle, keeping feet about hip distance apart and knees soft. Allow your head to drop and your spine to lengthen. Breath into the length of the spine helping it grow long and extend out. Enjoy the deep stretch throughout the length of your entire spine.
Supported Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Hold: 2-4 minutes
Lift up slightly from the chair or wall and step your right leg forward about 2-3 feet. Keeping heels planted and knees soft, begin to lower until your are back to a 90 degree angle or very close. Shift your right hips back and your left hip forward so the hips are in a level alignment. Enjoy the deep stretch down the back of the leg and hip. To come out, lift up slightly and step back. Continue to left side.
Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Hold: 5-8 minutes
Take the bolster the short way across your mat with the block out where your heels will be. Sit on the bolster on the feet side, keep knees bent, and slowly lower down. You can lower the shoulders to the floor and be supported there and take the arms out wide with elbows bent (if comfortable). Take your heels onto the block for support or the floor if that is comfortable (if this is too much you can keep knees bent with feet on floor). Enjoy the deep hip flexor opening across the front of your hips. To come out, bend knees, lift hips, and push the bolster out from under you. Rest on the floor for 5 breaths.
Supported Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Hold: 3-5 minutes per side
Come onto hands and knees. Take your right knee over towards your right hand, left leg out behind you in pigeon pose (your right heel can be under your torso). Use the bolster under your torso for support. If you need to, use the block for your head and wrap your hands around the block or to the sides with your palms down. Allow the bolster to support you fully and release into it. To come out, press into your palms and shift back to hands and knees before coming to the second side.
Brighid's Cross Twist
Hold: 3-5 minutes per side
Start on hands and knees - stack the head of the bolster on a block. Take your right hip on the floor right next to the bolster. Stretch your right leg out along the floor and your left leg straight toward the end of your mat (knees can be bent). Settle your torso on the bolster with hands on either side. Use your hands to turn your torso downward for a twist. Feel the stretch in the right outside hip and rest here. To come out, take legs together and push up. Continue to second side.
Supported Supine Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Take the bolster up on a block at the head or flat. Come into a kneeling position, hips near the bolster, and take your thumbs to roll the calves out and back to settle your hips on the floor between your heels (or a block or support). You can use a blanket under your feet and hang the toes off to release pressure on the tops of the feet. Slowly roll down onto the bolster using arms to support you. Once down, reach hands down and tuck pelvis under slightly to release the lower back. Take your arms out to the side and breathe deeply. Allow your breath to deepen. To come out, press through your forearms and lift up, tilt to one side and unfold.
Cleopatras Lounge (Side Body Stretch)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Take the bolster or pillow across the short end of the mat. Take your right hip up against the bolster/pillow and begin to lean over it. Take your hand and thread it across towards the left, resting the back side of the shoulder on the floor. You can take a rolled blanket or throw pillow under your head. Reach your left hand up and over your head and reach as far away from your feet as you can then release the hand to the floor or a block or pillow. Breath into the sides of the body allowing length and opening on the left side. To come out, take the left hand along side the hips for a few breaths and press up and continue to the second side.
Supported Child's Pose (Supta Balasana)
Hold: 6-8 minutes (3-4 mins on each side of head)
Place your bolster lengthwise down your mat, take your big toes together and knees wide. Slide the bolster halfway between your hips and knees and bring a blanket or folded towel across your knees to give softness to your belly support. Gently walk your hands alongside the bolster and lower your torso down. Turn your head to one side, changing sides halfway through. To come out, walk your hands back, press up slightly and let head recenter for a breath of two. Press to upright.
Hold: 10+ minutes
Take our bolster, pillow or a rolled blanket underneath your knees. Roll a blanket or towel and place it where your natural curve in your back will be. Lie down and adjust the props so your knees are supported and the roll under your back helps support your lower back and help it release. Take your arms out to the sides and breath into the space of your spine and hips - letting the exhale be longer than the inhale - helping the body release and relax. Stay here for as long as you have and allow your body to feel supported and soft.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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