80% of people suffer from lower back pain, either chronically or intermittently and it can affect work, play, sleep, daily activity and overall health. Taking time each week to soften, mobilize and release tension in the back can help you manage pain and often prevent pain by keeping the back healthy and mobile.
Please consult your physician or physical therapist if you have any questions about whether this practice would be good for your specific back issues and whether it is appropriate for you and ALWAYS listen to your body and use props to support you or come up out of the pose completely if you feel any sharp shooting pain or intense discomfort.
Please Subscribe to my YouTube channel for a NEW practices each week! http://bit.ly/TheYogaRangerStudio AND/OR join me for EXCLUSIVE weekly content, 100+ ad-free remastered YouTube practices, community forum, LIVE monthly video calls, free app (videos downloadable and viewable offline) on my Member Community at https://theyogaranger.vhx.tv.
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
Come onto your back and walk both heels over to the right, stacking the left ankle over the right (option to just keep them side by side). Keeping the hips in place, move your upper body and head over to the right as well. Take arms up overhead and grasp left wrist with right hand OR simply take hands where you feel stretch but not pain. Turn your head wherever it feels most comfortable. Take deep breaths into the left side body feeling the opening from the left foot through the left hand. To come out, release the hands to the hips and move the upper body back to center. Slowly unwind the ankles and realign the lower body to center. Relax with arms and heels wide for 1 minute. Try the second side.
1/2 Stirrup (Ardha Ananda Balasana)
Hold: 2-4 minutes/side
Bring your right knee into your chest and take your right hand to the inside of the knee to grasp the inside or outside of the right foot. Using a little bit of shoulder and chest traction, pull the knee into the outer right side towards the floor and head the bottom of the right foot towards the ceiling. Take your left leg either bent or out straight. Hold here feeling the deep stretch in the lower back, hips and glutes. Release and take 5+ breaths - sense the feeling in the right body versus the left. Take the second side.
Sleeping Swan (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
From hands and knees, take your right knee forward towards the right wrist. Tuck your right foot underneath your pelvis or take your right shin more in line with the front edge of your mat (depends on your hip bones). Keep your right foot activated. Walk your left foot back more with top of the foot on the floor behind you. Walk your hands out in front of you either lifted, on a bolster/blocks, onto elbows or all the way to the ground. Lengthen your spine once you are down and then release fully into the pose. Focus on your breath. After a few breaths you can try to lower more or take your right foot out further forward. Always know you can come back out if it isn't right for you to go deeper today. Take the side body variation below next on this side. Remember to do both sides!
Hold: 3-5 minutes
Bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front, palms together with outside edge down. Feel your chest pulling forward and belly towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and breath into it. Release the tension in your lower back and shoulders. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides. Slowly roll onto your back and take a few breaths with your entire body flat on the floor.
1/2 Dragonfly Lateral Bend
Hold: 2-5 minutes per side
Come onto your seat (use a folded blanket if needed to prop under hips) and take both legs out wide to the sides. Reach under your left leg with your left hand and pull the heel into the pelvis. If this is uncomfortable for your knee, take the heel out further from your body. Take a block on the outside edge of your right knee and begin to lean over to your right, allowing your right elbow to come to the block and support your head. Keep your left shoulder open and facing forward and take your left hand up and over resting your hand on your head or using to to support your head. To come out, press up to center and bring both feet flat - windshield wiper the knees side to side for 5-8 breaths and then take the second side.
Hold: 1-3 mins/side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. Try to keep your abdomen in the middle and not leaning over and both hips on the floor (use blanket if necessary). To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
Hold: 3-5 mins
Gently press through your feet to lift hips slightly over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible (using a block underneath if the knees don't come to the floor easily). Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Supported Fish Pose
Hold: 3-5 minutes +
Take a rolled towel or blanket across the mat. Settle down onto it with the shoulders fully supported at first and then slowly begin to inch your way towards the floor with shoulderblades barely grazing the floor behind you. Start here allowing the shoulders and upper back to fully release and open. Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). You can stay here for the remainder of the time OR gently inch your way to where the shoulders are fully supported on the floor. To come out - bend knees, press into your feet and lifting your hips - remove the blanket from underneath. Bring your hips back down and relax for 5 more breaths before continuing.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the feet to slide out to the width of your mat, knees bend, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands to your belly. Drop your knees towards one another and allow your fingertips to gently massage the abdominal area in circles starting out at the edge and moving gently inwards. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Feel the softness in your belly and let it relax COMPLETELY.
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.
All of my online offerings are funded by students just like you! If you have enjoyed and benefited from the practices I offer, please consider donating to support free online yoga! Thank you!
One Time Donation
Sign up for our newsletter for more tips, online offerings and news!
All rights reserved by Aprille Walker and The Yoga Ranger Studio 2014-2018 (copyrighted material)