The Happy Back Show Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Breathing into the Low Back

10 min - Practice


Find a constructive relationship with your low back. Kira offers a short floor practice to help coordinate breath and movement with the goal of bringing gentle attentiveness to any areas of pain in the lower back.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

About This Video


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(wave crashes) Let's continue this exploration of coordinating our breath and our movement in an attempt to develop a more intimate relationship with the area where there might be pain. I've put a blanket down on my mat. If you're on a carpet, you're set up. What I'm avoiding is the sticky surface of the mat, which can create unnecessary tension. We'll start lying down.

Now, to come to lying down is not always as easy as you might think, and so with your knees bent, feet on the floor, what you might do is gently let one elbow come down at a time, just depends on the back situation you're working with. Use your elbows for support as you draw your sit bones under, and as slowly as you can, roll on back down. If it would feel better to have support underneath your head, go ahead and put it there. Bring your heels in line with your sit bones. Bring your hands on top of your lower belly.

Now by lower belly, I mean under the belly button. I like to bring one hand down there, and then the other hand on top. The play here is to just let your hands help you feel the movement of your breath in your belly. As you inhale, let the belly breath fill up towards your hands, and as you exhale, feel the hands get heavy as the breath leaves As you inhale, let the breath rise to meet your hands, and as you exhale, feel the breath leave. Continue like this, getting used to feeling, and essentially what you're feeling isn't necessarily the breath, because the breath doesn't really go beyond the lungs, but you're feeling the effect of the inhale anatomically, and you're feeling the effect of the exhale anatomically.

Some of you, this might already be enough, just bringing your awareness to an area, letting your breath help be the vehicle can be magical. We're going to start to add some movement, so letting your hands come down along your side, bring your heels a little closer in towards your sit bones if that's available. Spread the toes. Allow for an inhale, and as you exhale, curl your sit bones under a little bit, gently pressing the low back towards the Earth, and as you inhale, you're going to roll the pelvis forward, letting your low back arch off the Earth. As you exhale, you are curling your sit bones under.

You're gently letting your low back press towards the Earth, and as you inhale, you are rolling your pelvis forward, letting the low back arch. Exhale, curling the sit bones under, pressing the low back. It will feel like you're doing a slight crunchy abdominal, and as you inhale, you're rolling the pelvis forward like a swimsuit model. Just a handful more like this. Just get used to this.

Exhale, drawing the sit bone under. Inhale, rolling. Remember our instructions, tenderly, gently, and bravely into what's calling your attention. You'll feel this movement reverberating up through the spine into the head and the neck. This is why a sticky surface is cumbersome, because it doesn't allow the head and neck to respond.

Okay, beautiful. Now, next time you come to the exhale, just allow the back to relax into what seemed like neutral and pause. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything, and just feel the effect of this. Part of this low back solution finding is assessment.

How was that for you? Was that okay? Did it hurt at all? Really nice. Beautiful.

Now, see if you can bring one hand under the belly again and the other hand on top, and see if there's any more ease in letting the breath fill the hands. See if it's more available to you. Then this next request is harder. Can you feel a sense ... This takes your mind.

Can you have as sense of moving the breath to the low back, so as you inhale, can you feel the low back fill, and as you exhale, can you feel the low back soften? This is not easy. Try this a few more times though. Hold your mind's eye to the low back. Can you have a sense that you have a feeling of expansion on the inhale, and can you have a sense that you have a feeling of expansion, or excuse me, release on the exhale.

At least one more time. Nicely done. Okay, so beautiful. Now, we're going to roll to a side and come towards a posture that the yogis call Child's Pose. I'm going to suggest that you roll your left arm over the top of your head.

I'm going to suggest that you slowly roll onto your left side. Press into your right hand to gently press yourself back up. You're going to come in towards what we call Child's Pose. This may or may not be available depending on the knees and the ankle joints you're working with. To help prepare the body for Child's Pose, we'll play with a little Cat Cow, which is very similar to what we were doing on our backs, but this time on our knees.

Let the hands spread wide, and as you inhale, you're going to roll your pelvis forward and that lower back is going to arch, and as you exhale, you're going to draw your sit bones under, rounding the spine and staring to let the low back stretch. Now as you inhale, you're going to roll the pelvis forward, letting the heart open, letting the low back arch, and as you exhale, you are curling your sit bones under, and you're letting your back round. Now pause here. If you keep your weight directly over the wrists, you're going to feel that stretch more in the upper back. To feel it more into the lower back, you got to reach your hips a little bit more back to the heels.

That will bring that stretch a little bit lower. Soften the eyes. Okay, let's do that a few more times. Inhale, roll the pelvis forward, letting the low back arch. Really nicely done.

As you exhale, you round the spine. Now as you round, draw the hips back towards the heels a little bit. Allow that low back to feel it. I'm not sure if I said one more, but it's one more now. Inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, arching.

Now this time, as you exhale and you round, we're going to make our way back towards Child's Pose. The request is that you round your sit bones under, you round your sit bones under. You wobble it a little bit side to side, wobble a little bit side to side. If the knees aren't allowing this to happen, don't force it. I like to walk my hands a little bit forward, and that forehead may or may not quite come to the Earth.

If the forehead doesn't quite come to the Earth, then bend the elbows and bring the hands underneath the head. Now the play is, can you feel the breath in the back of the body? As you inhale, can you allow the breath to open up the back of the body a little bit? As you exhale, can you feel the body soften? See if you can bring that same awareness to the lower back.

It's not an easy request. At least one more time. Okay, beautiful. Now slow. The play here is that we're going to make our way to standing.

On an inhale, come on up. Bring the hands underneath the shoulders. Tuck the toes under, and we're going to start in a Standing Forward Fold. As you tuck the toes under, you're going to lift up through the hips. Walk the feet a little bit forward.

Now keep the knees bent. Bring the hands onto the legs. Keep the knees bent. Let the head drop and dangle. In order to avoid dizziness, we need to take our time here.

Then only as you're ready, knees bend, hands on the legs, chin into the chest, and you're going to slowly roll on up, feeling the belly start to open, feeling the heart start to open, feeling the throat start to open, and the face. Beautiful. Bend the knees a little bit. Bend the knees a little bit and then just see. Let your eyes soften or find a spot to focus on, and just see if you can feel that same sense of the inhale and the pelvis just rocking forward a little bit, and the exhale, the sit bones drawing under.

Continue to just exaggerate it a little bit. As you inhale, just with your knees soft, feel the pelvis roll forward a little bit, and as you exhale, feel the sit bones relax a little bit. Just feel the inhale, the pelvis tilts a little forward. Feel the exhale, it tilts a little back, and then slowly, slowly, relax the exaggeration of the movement. Shoulders soft, skull aligned, eyes soft or closed, and allow your imagination, your mind's eye, to see the inhale reaching down into your lower back.

See the exhale. See the movement of the inhale. Perceive it with greater sensitivity and see and feel the movement of the exhale. Nice. Sweet.

Of course, the most important part here is to find out, was that effective? Does your low back feel a little bit more connected to you? Do you feel a little bit more connected to your low back? Have you moved into a more constructive relationship? Love.


Frederic M
Thanks Kira. Great advice to increase the subtle awareness of the links between our breath and body!
Kira Sloane
Thank you Frederic! Glad to be here. xok
Glynis R
1 person likes this.
thankyou so much Kira - one word- 'heavenly' x
Kira Sloane
hi Glynis, sweet to see you today. xok
Glynis R
3 people like this.
I just feel so privelidged to have access to these classes, which have opened up a 'whole new world' for me and my 'strong but wonky spine'! A 90 degree C curve which doesn't really show much apart from when I am in pain, then start to 'bend forwards'! Have been told by an Orthopaedic surgeon that 'Yoga is the best thing to do' for me so here I am! X
Kira Sloane
Glynis ! Wow!
Silke S
1 person likes this.
Awesome. I love the focus onto the sacrum roll on the back, in all fours, and the small movement back to feel it more in the lower back. Thank you! Silke
Natalie W
2 people like this.
Thank you
Donna S
1 person likes this.
I loved this!!!! I only wish each class was longer...1hr
Kira Sloane
Donna, that's a great idea. We were trying to share tiny solutions in this first season so we could get a sense of the right medicine. Arturo's practices in Season 2 are a little longer and we can take your suggestion for Season 3.
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