The Happy Back Show Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Open Front, Strong Back

15 min - Practice


Life seems to have us permanently in the posture of the exhale. This sequence aims to be a counterpose to the daily life of chair-sitting, offering stretching through the front body and strengthening through the back body.
What You'll Need: Blanket, Block (2)

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(surf rumbling) So in this next sequence, we explore what might happen if we create a little bit more space in the front of the body, and a little bit more strength in the back of the body. This is particularly useful if your life has you in a permanent sort of exhale rounded forward fold kind of deal. I'm gonna show using two bricks. These are super helpful, because they make the floor taller. If you have anything else that you can use to put your hand on, it'll probably work.

I'm gonna go ahead and set up in advance with those at the top of the mat, and then we're gonna start at the back of our mat in child's pose. So you're gonna let your knees widen a little bit. Big toes make their way towards touching, and then let a little bit of a haa happen. Sit bones draw under, hips are coming back towards you heels. You're only going as far as your knees, and your hips, and your ankles allow.

Wobble it a little bit from side to side. Like let this be one of your assessment points today. Let how comfortable or uncomfortable this feels help you measure whether or not this practice works. Okie-dokie. As you're ready, on an inhale, come back upon to all four, spread the fingers wide, and we'll make our way into cow stretch that we've been doing so far.

So as you inhale, rolling your pelvis forward, letting your heart lift, and as you exhale, rounding your sit bones under, pressing down through the hands, and letting the stretch come into the upper back to begin with. And as you inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, letting the heart lift, letting the back arch. This time, as you exhale, rounding the back, pressing into hands, and to bring the stretch more into your lower back, reach the hips just a little bit more back towards your heels. Yes. Okay. One more like that.

Inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, drawing the heart up. And as you exhale, get round in the back. Beautiful. Okay. Let yourself come back to neutral. Bring the hands up onto your hips as you come up onto your knees.

Now, this next transition is so easy. The request is bringing this left foot forward between the hands. So hands on the waist, step the left foot forward, and then lean in and find your bricks. Bring your bricks back around your foot. Your bricks might be of the taller variety.

So as you inhale now, draw the hips back. And as you exhale, let that front left knee bend. As the right sit bone sinks under, and you'll feel stretch through the front of that thigh, and do that again. Inhale, draw the hips Back. Nicely done.

And as you exhale, let the front left knee bend. Let that right sit bone under feeling the stretch through the front of the right thigh. Now sometimes you'll feel a crunchy munchy in that front left hip, or a strain in the back of that left hamstring. As we gotta adjust it a little bit for you. Some of you might toe heel the left foot out a little bit, widening your stance.

And just as you come forward, you wanna curl the right sit bone under, and give yourself a little bit more room. Yeah, nice. About two more like that. Okay. Just kinda introducing yourself to the stretch.

If you're wishing you had some padding underneath your right knee, you put some there, maybe a blanket, or maybe you have a sweatshirt nearby. Okay. Now, next time you come into the sink, draw the right sit bone under. I like to have the top of the right foot on the floor, and press down a little bit there through the stretch. You might prefer to have the ball of the foot on the floor changes it.

Now, let a little bit of haa happen, and bring your awareness back into that breath we've been exploring. So as you inhale, you can feel the reach of your awareness all the way down the spine as the pelvis rolls forward. And as you exhale, you feel the sit bones draw under a little bit as the breath leaves. And as you inhale, you feel your awareness run all the way down your spine. Your pelvis rolls forward a little bit.

And as you exhale, you feel the sit bones draw under. Nice. One more like this. You're doing great. Beautiful. Now, to get out of here, let the hands on the bricks help you.

As you draw your hips back, press into the hands a little bit. We're coming all the way back into child's pose, knees come wide. Hands might even stay on the bricks for this, as you wiggle on back. Let a bit of haa happen. See if already maybe, maybe not the child's pose feels easier.

Okay. Let an inhale. Bring you forward onto all fours. Now, it just depends on your range of motion today. So some of you might keep your hands on the bricks as you bring your right foot forward between. But for some of you, it's just gonna be anatomically more accessible to come all the way up unto your knees.

Find your right foot forward, and then bring your hands onto the bricks. Okay. Make sure you're set up for success. As you inhale, draw back a little bit, and exhale, sink in. Do that again.

Inhale, draw back a little bit, and exhale, sink in. And notice the points of awareness for you. About three more times. So for some of you, if it's too munchy in that spot, in that hip pocket, between the torso and the right thigh, you might walk the right foot out a little bit. Okay. Nice.

About two more. Beautiful. Exhale, sink in. At least one more. Okay. Nice.

Now, once you've sunk in, again, I've said that I prefer the top of my foot to the floor, usually pressing down through there, drawing the left sit bone under. If it feels more correct for you to have the ball of the foot, that might feel better as you reach back a little bit through the heel. That adds a different dynamic, so just experiment. Okay. Now, as that left hip is sinking under, and the heart is lifting a little bit, and the lips are soft, come back to the awareness of the breath that we've been exploring, that inhale that comes down towards the tail bone, and that exhale that let's the sit bones draw under.

So let that inhale affect the moment of the pelvis. Feel the slight rolling of the pelvis forward on the inhale, and feel the slight draw in the sit bones under on the exhale. Beautiful. At least one more. Okay? Really, really nice.

Now, to get out of there, you're gonna use the hands on the bricks as you draw your hips backs. You're gonna bring your right knee back to meet your left. Use the bricks to help you as you wiggle back towards child's pose, finding out if it's any easier or not. Super nice. Now we're gonna find our way onto our belly.

So inhale, come on up. You can move the bricks off to the side, and then come all the way down onto your belly. Okay. Elbows wide, head rest on the hands, bend the knees, wobble the legs a little from side to side. Pretty.

Let the legs come back behind you. Rest the legs so they're about hip distance apart, tops of the feet on the floor. Bring the hands right underneath the shoulders. Face is on the earth. Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears.

Roll them back and down. And the feeling here, in this baby smidge of a cobra, let a little bit of a haa happen, as your navel draws back to your spine, pull your hands back towards your toes as you peel your heart up just a little baby smidge above the floor. Wider in the base of the skull, soft in the eyes. Mm-hmm. Just a few more moments here. So there's a traction of the hands back towards your toes.

There's a lengthening of the heart forward, a little bit of haa breath again, just to kind of help the navel draw back to the spine. Inhale here. Exhale, lower land. Left ear comes down to the floor, arms can come down along your sides. You can let the legs rest or bend the knees and wobble them a little bit from side to side.

Super nice. Let's repeat that. Let the legs come back behind you. Let the hands come underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears, roll your shoulders back and down. Now get a little traction.

Pull your hands towards your toes to let your heart lengthen and lift. Let a little haa happen as the navel draws back to the spine. Beautiful. A couple more moments. Sometimes it can cramp a little bit in the back of that right hamstring. So if that's happening, a little squeeze of your buttocks can sometimes help that.

Yes. Inhale here, exhale slow, lower land, right ear to the earth, arms come down along your side. Leg's can be static, or you can bend your knees and wobble the legs a little slide to side. Beautiful. Now we're gonna add a little bit of leg lifting to that, so bring it into a locust.

Again, this is the interest of starting to strengthen the lower back, and you gotta figure out of its working for you. Let the legs come back behind you, hands come underneath the shoulders again. Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears, roll them back and down. Traction action, pull your hands back towards you as you lengthen your heart forward. Soft during the upper palate, kind in the eyes.

Let a little haa happen. From here, if appropriate, bend your knees. Lift your thighs above the floor, and so slowly start to stretch your legs back. Feel the reach back through the toes. Feel the lift up through the heart.

Usually, it feels pretty good to bend the knees again. Lift a little higher, and then re-reach last few moments. You're doing great. Inhale here. Exhale, lower land.

Left ear comes down to the earth, arms come back down along your side, legs are static or bend the knees, and wobble the legs a little side to side. Feel the inhale reaching down the length of your spine. Feel the exhale as you soften. So nice. Last one like this.

Hands underneath the shoulders, squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears, roll them back and down. Traction, action, lengthen. From here, if appropriate, bend the knees, lift the legs above the floor. Slow, just try to stretch back through the legs. Feel the enthusiasm through your toes.

Pull your hands back towards your toes as you lengthen. Now, feel the breath. Beautiful. Feel that reaching down towards the tail. Feel the exhale softening.

Yeah. Gorgeous. Last few moments here. Beautiful. Inhale here. Exhale, lower land, right here down to the earth.

Arms come down along your side, rest, either leg static or bend the knees. Wobble the legs a little side to side. Beautiful. Now we'll be pressing back to our last child's pose, so you can assess if any of this has been useful at all. Hands come underneath the shoulders, pressing your hips back.

Widen your knees a little bit, so you have just a little bit more room, and wiggle your hips back towards your heels. Walk your hands forward. Let a little bit of a haa happen. Forehead might make our way towards the earth. Again, if she doesn't, you support her with your hands or maybe when of your bricks.

Beautiful. Okay. Our transition will be back onto our back, or just a sequence of just a few abdominals, just to kinda help make sure we've put everything back together. Okay. To get there, one of the easiest ways is to simply side forward again.

Find your way back onto your belly. And then from the belly, roll it back on over. Okay. Now, once you're on your back, pause, spread the toes wide, big deliberate inhale. Exhale, let a haa happen, and let one knee come into your chest, and the other knee come into your chest.

Hold your knees where the shins and the knees meet, and just kinda wobble a little bit from side to side. Really nice. Okay. This is one of my favorite abdominal techniques. Bring your knees to be right over your hips, so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, and then lift your shins up, so they're parallel with the floor, so it's like you're sitting in a chair.

Flex your feet, a little bit of enthusiasm. Now step one, let a haa happen, so the naval comes back to your spine, so you can feel this gentle knitting. Step two, bring the heels of you palms up to where your thighs and your knees meet. Step three, begin to press your hand into your legs and your legs into your hand with equal parts enthusiasm. This will start to create a deep low-belly quiver.

As you press with equal parts enthusiasm, okay. For most of you, this is enough. For a couple of you, inhale, and as you exhale, curl your chin in tightly towards your chest as you press your hands into your legs, and your legs pressing to your hands. Beautiful. Release the head, let the knees relax into the chest, and maybe one hand on each knee as you wobble.

Beautifully done. Let's do that one more time for fun. Bring your knees so they're right over your hips, thighs perpendicular to the floor, shins parallel, feet enthusiastic. Heels of the palms right where your thighs and your knees meet. Let a little haa happen, so your naval comes back to your spine.

Next step, press legs in the hands, hands in the legs, so it's equal parts enthusiasm. So if I move my hands, my knees would mush my face. Press. We're looking for deep quiver deep down in the spine. And once you feel Like you found that, if you want more, curl your chin up to your chest.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Last few beats. Okie-dokie. Slow. Let the knees come into the chest and wobble.

Really nicely done. Let the feet find the earth. Okay. Heels align with the sit bones. And then from here, let your arms stretch leisurely over the top of the head, bending the elbows enough so it's soft in the shoulders. Okay.

Widen the feet a little bit. Inhale here. And as you exhale, roll onto the left edges of your feet as your knees gently come towards the left. And as you inhale, bring the knees back to center. And as you exhale roll under the right edges of the feet as the knees come all over the right.

Inhale, knees back center, and continue exhale leisurely. Knees to the left. Inhale, back to center leisurely. Knees to the right. Beautiful.

And now back to center. Leisurely, knees to the left. If it's okay, leave them here, and maybe stretch a little bit through the right arm as you lengthen through the right thigh. Yey! Inhale, knees back to center. Exhale, knees over to the right, lengthen through the left thigh and the left arm.

Super beautiful. Relax with the knees, come back center. Inhale, the arms up towards the sky. Exhale, arms come back down along the side, widen the feet, and let the knees fall together if that feels okay. Big deliberate inhale, exhale everything, and bring yourself back to that assessment.

Feel the inhale, reach down, as your pelvis rocks forward a little bit. Feel the exhale as you relax the lower neck back to the floor. So nice. It's so nice. Again, only you can know if this is working.

And the nice part about yoga, let the knees come into the chest. Actually, there's so many nice parts about yoga, but one of them is there are many ways to do yoga as people doing them, and there a million upon a million upon a million different techniques. Okay, but the solution... Okay. Well, now we're close to the solution, if there's less pain.

Okay. Roll to the left side. Use your hands to press yourself back up. Maybe come into a cross-legged position. If that's really not an option, it's not a big deal. So if your back feels better after opening up the front of the body and strengthening the back of the body, then we know we're on to something.


love the low back work
Kira Sloane
Glad you are here, Esther. xok
Gayathri S
thank you kira- love your instruction and your pacing.
Zoe Ho
Thank you just what I need today... xo
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
zoe !
Suzanne L
2 people like this.
That sessioin and the chair sitting session were perfect for me after mulching the garden yesterday.
Kira Sloane
Suzanne, this makes me so happy! xok
Maria Elena D
yup! we are on to something! thank you!
Kira Sloane
Maria, love. Keep us posted! xok
Elle H
Thank you, Kira, I enjoyed this very much...
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