The Happy Back Show Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Exploring Nooks and Crannies

25 min - Practice
44 likes
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Description

Pain in the low back can often be contributed to tightness in other parts of the body. Kira helps us lie down and explore how releasing the buttocks, hips, hamstrings, and IT bands might loosen the grip in the low back.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block

Transcript

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(gentle waves crashing) So the lower back tends to be empathetic. And sometimes she's just in pain because others around her are in pain. So in this next sequence, what we'll do, is we'll explore what might happen if we can get some relief by offering a little bit more space through the buttocks, the hips, the hamstrings. Now, I'm gonna show, using a strap and a brick. So you might want to have something like that, something you can support your legs on, and something you might be more easily able to grab your leg with.

Okay, we'll start lying down. Again, coming to lying down isn't as easy as it looks. And if coming to lying down hurts, what you might do is bend the knees, soles of the feet on the floor, and then just one elbow at at time. Like lean back, find your weight down on one elbow, lean back, find your weight on the other. Crawl your sit bones under a little bit, slide your elbows a little bit more forward, hold onto your ass, it really helps as you round on back down.

Okie dokie, you made it, awesome job. Now, step one, let's just do a short assessment. So with the heels in line with your sit bones, spread your toes wide, big deliberate inhale, letting your lower back arch a little bit, and exhale. Letting your lower back fall. Do that again, we've been practicing that.

Inhale. Nice, and exhale. Beautiful. Okay. Let your right knee come in towards your chest, hold your right knee with your right hand, and just start to let your right hip, find some circles.

So my right hand is on my right knee, and I'm just kinda letting that hip rotate. But it's hard to see it in the hip, but I can see it in the knee. Okay, so you're holding your knee, and you're just letting that hip kind of rotate in the socket a little bit. Okay, start to let the circles get a little bigger. Okay, notice if you're trying to do it with your face, soften the jaw, soften the eyes.

Beautiful, next time that knee comes towards your chest, pause, and then reverse direction. So, just gently, reversing the direction of the circles. Okay, let it start to get bigger, only as it feels more comfortable. You know, if you start to hit inner groin tightness, you just, like, back off a little bit. Okay, nice.

And then let that knee come in towards the heart, pause. And then just let the foot come back down on the floor. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything. And allow your awareness to check out the results down around the right side of you, in your hip, in your lower back.

See if that was helpful. Okay, other side. Left knee comes in towards your chest. You're holding on to that knee, and you're just starting to let that hip make small circles, but the knee is following. Okay.

And again, notice the tendency when we're doing something new, is to kind of hold the breath and make sure you're doing it right. As we've already talked about, the breath is one of the main ways to stay connected. So do your best. Soften the mouth, soften the jaw, let those circles start to get bigger, easy, kinder in the eyes. If you're rushing, then your body will feel rushed, nobody likes to be rushed.

And it will start to resist you. Next time the knee comes in towards the chest, pause, and then other direction. Okay. And again, like, let the circles be appropriate. If smaller circles and keeping it small is where it's at for you, keep with that, you're moving into relationship.

The tendency when we're in pain is to want to make it go away. To move away. Or to just try to fix it right away. The request of pain is to move in closely, listen, become more intimate. Be willing to hear what's trying to be said.

Okay, next time the knee comes back into the chest, pause, nice. Then release the left foot down onto the floor. Big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything and see, maybe that already helped a lot. Maybe this is all you really need to do.

Okay. If it's appropriate, right knee comes in towards the chest, and often times, many of us experience pain, between the torso and the leg, I tend to call that the hip pocket. It feels bunchy there. So if that's you, just let the knee fall out a little bit towards the right shoulder. That sometimes helps.

And then interlace your fingers back around the back of the right thigh. And we're just gonna move with the breath here. So as you inhale let the knee move away from you, keep the grip. And as your exhale, draw the knee back in. And as you inhale, let the knee move away.

And as you exhale, draw the knee back in. Now you don't have to go into that squishy painful part, if it's painful in between there and the hip pocket, inhale, move away. Exhale, draw the knee back in. Inhale, move away. Exhale, knee back in.

You're doing great. Next time the knee moves away, keep the knee moving away, relax the grip on the outside of that right hip, like see if you can just let the right hip drop a little bit. Soft in the front of the thigh, soft in the face. And then just so tenderly let this knee fall back in. For most of you, keeping the hands around the thigh is the way to go.

For a couple of you, you might bring your hands on top of the knee. But the tendency there is then to just squeeze the knee too much. So keep them behind the back of the thigh, if it's alright. Few more moments, let the sit bones relax. Really nice.

Okay, release the right foot back down to the floor. And just pause. And see how that is. Big deliberate inhale, letting the lower back arch a little bit. Exhale, softening the sit bones under.

Beautiful. Let's find out how that is on the other side. So as the left knee comes in towards your chest, interlace your hands back around the back of the thigh, up underneath the knee. Knee might be coming towards the chest, or a little bit more out towards the left shoulder. Just depends on your anatomy.

And as you inhale, the knee moves away from you. And as you exhale, the knee moves in. And as you inhale, the knee moves away from you. And as you exhale, the knee moves in. About three more.

Nice. Beautiful. Two more. Nice. One more.

As you come to this point where the knee is moving away, pause there, make an effort to relax the grip that has happened in the left hip. So let a bit of an exhale happen, soften the outside of that left hip. Soften the front of the thigh, and then only as appropriate, let the left knee fall back into towards you. You're not yanking. Okay, feel the inhale, reach down towards that lower spine, yes, feel the exhale, soften.

Excellent, okay. Release the grip. Let the left foot come back down to the floor, pause, spread the toes, big deliberate inhale, feel the lower back arch a little bit. And as you exhale, feel the lower back soften. Nice.

And again, this might be the relief you needed today. We'll continue our exploration into the hip. I'm gonna draw my brick up a little closer, and have my strap handy. Right ankle up on top of the left thigh. Keep the left foot on the floor.

Continuing to get to know our hip joint. As you inhale, right hip and knee in towards heart. And as you exhale, roll the right hip and knee away. As you inhale, right hip and knee towards heart. Yes.

And as you exhale, roll the right hip and the knee away. That left foot is still on the floor. Inhale, right hip and knee towards heart. Exhale, right hip and the knee away. Really nice, two more.

Yes. Beautiful. Now as you come to this last one. Inhale, right hip and knee towards heart. Exhale, right hip and the knee away.

Most of you, this is flavorful enough. Just the rolling of that right hip and knee away is enough. To increase the stretch, however, in the back of this right buttocks, you're gonna slowly start to let this left foot come in towards you. Now for some of you, okay, just putting a brick underneath that left hip, is like ooh daddyo! Okay, so that might be enough. As you roll the right hip away, this left foot is coming in towards you a little bit.

If it's appropriate to pull that left leg in a little bit more, you let the left thigh start to come in. You're gonna start to feel it in the right hip. Now, remember, where you start to feel sensation is demanding your attention. So you move the breath into this right hip. Like bring your right hand there to help you.

Inhale, breath in to that right hip. Exhale, let it soften. Some of you, this is enough. Some of you are gonna use your strap to help you by wrapping your strap around the back of that left thigh. So that you can more easily draw that left thigh in.

If your hands reach around the left thigh and interlace then you don't need the strap. Okay, but for most of us, the strap is super helpful. Let the left thigh draw in, roll the right hip away. Notice that you're not trying to make it happen in your face, soften the jaw. And can you really feel the inhale allowing the lower back to arch a little bit?

And can you feel the exhale allowing the lower back to fall a little bit? Last few moments here. If you're holding the left leg like it's a wild animal, soften a little bit. Yeah. Awesome job.

Okay, now slow, let the left foot come back down, maybe it's to the brick. Okay, maybe it's to the floor. Pause for a moment, let this right leg reach up to the sky. Shake her out a little bit, like (gurgling). Couple circles, of your ankle.

Couple circles in the other direction, of that same ankle. Okay, let the right knee bend, let the right knee find her way back down to the floor. You can just remove the left foot off the brick, you can slide the brick out of the way. And pause. Big deliberate inhale.

Exhale everything. Okay, and like, notice how that feels. Like, allow your awareness to be down in the right hip, down in the right buttocks. Again, we're trying to find solutions. So the only way you're gonna know if it worked, is if you check in.

Okay super nice. Let's find the other side. So left ankle up on top of right thigh. I'm just gonna assume that I'm gonna use the brick on this side and bring it there, in advance. You keep your right foot on the floor, and you're just getting to know the left hip.

So inhale, left hip and knee towards heart. Exhale, left hip and knee away. Inhale, left hip and knee towards heart. Exhale, left hip and knee away. Three more like this.

Inhale, you're doing great. Exhale, two more. Last one. Now next time that left hip and knee is moving away, again, if this is deep enough, stay here. Feel the inhale reach down, let the lower back arch a little bit.

Feel the exhale soften you. If it's appropriate to feel more, you're gonna let the right leg lift towards you a little bit. Maybe sliding that brick underneath. For some of you, this is enough. Okay.

Alright. The play here is that you're starting to bring your awareness towards where that sensation is, that dull achey like ohh, wow sensation. Okay. For a couple of you, it's gonna make sense to bring this right thigh in towards you a little bit more. That will increase the opportunity, if you start to fight it, then that's all you're getting good at.

That's all you're doing is creating more tension. So, bring that left hand, on the left buttocks, where you feel in and feel the inhale move into your hand. And feel the exhale soften. If it's appropriate to pull that leg in a little bit more, then maybe use your strap around the back of that right thigh. If your hands reach around the right thigh, use them.

Okay. My new friend Leanne Kerry said the most beautiful thing, like props are designed to help bring the posture to us. Okay, if we think we're trying to make our way towards the posture, that creates the sense of striving. Okay, so let the props help you and the shape be in relationship. Okay, soft in the eyes.

I like to wobble a little bit. Now feel the inhale, reach down into that lower back creating a little arch. Feel the exhale, soften, soften the mouth and the jaw. Excellent, you're doing so great. Okay.

Beautiful. Now when you're ready to release that, you're gonna release the right foot back down onto the floor or the brick. Okay. You're gonna release this left leg up towards the sky. Now shake the left leg out a little bit.

(gurgling) Couple ankle circles in one direction, okay, couple ankle circles in the other direction. And then bend the left knee and place that left knee back down on the floor. Or the left foot back down on the floor. Slide the brick out from underneath the right foot, if it happens to be there. And rest and just gently, like, assess your situation.

Okay, I like to see how that feels. Big deliberate inhale. And exhale everything. Do that again. Inhale.

And exhale. Soften the hips. So if it feels better in your lower back, then you can maybe have a sense of, oh, maybe a little release in the hips every day, would help. To continue our exploration though, let's tap into the hamstrings as well. So again, maybe you're gonna want to have your strap, as you bring your right knee in towards your chest, and with your right knee in towards your chest, you're gonna wrap your strap around the ball of that foot, and here's the play.

You're gonna let your leg extend, only as far as feels correct for you. So for most of you, having a little bend in the knee, is really gonna make a lot of sense. Hold the strap so that your shoulders are relaxed, back and down, and your eyes are easy. And what I like to do is bend the right knee a little bit, and then re-extend through the leg, reaching up through the heel. And then bend the right knee a little bit, letting her come towards the chest, and then re-extend up through the heel.

Do that a few times. Like, bend the right knee a little bit, so you come out of the intensity. Reach back up through the heel, keep your left knee bent, pull through the left foot, and once you feel an opportunity through your hamstring, okay, just come back to the breath. Inhale, feel the breath. Reach down to the lower back, let her arch a little bit.

And as you exhale, feel the release as the lower back drops. So that's subtle, I'm not implying that you make a big movement. But you just feel the inhale in the lower back arching a little bit, and you feel the exhale release. Beautiful, last breath. Okay, super nice.

Let the right knee bend, remove the strap, let the right knee come in to your chest for a moment. And then reach the right leg up, shake her out a little bit. Bend the right knee, place the right foot back down on the floor, nice work. Beautiful. Big deliberate inhale.

Exhale everything. Left knee comes in to the chest, wrap the strap, extend the left leg up towards the sky, keeping the left knee a little bit bent. Holding the strap so your shoulders are back and down, and then bend the left knee a little bit, and then re-extend. And then bend the left knee a little bit, and then re-extend. Do that a few more times, so you bend the left knee, bring it into your chest.

You re-extend, and then once you've come into that spot where you feel an opportunity of stretch in the back of that thigh and your hamstrings, bring your awareness back into the breath. So really feel the inhale, that reaches down towards the lower back as it arches a little bit. And really feel that exhale. Just drawing the sit bones under a little bit. Few more like that.

Really nicely done. Then let the left knee bend, removing the strap, extend the left leg, shake her out a little bit. Couple ankle circles, and then let the left foot come back down on the floor to meet the right, and pause. Big deliberate inhale. And exhale everything.

Bring your awareness into your lower back, feel that inhale that arches the back a little bit. Feel the exhale that softens. Okay, so it's really up to you to assess, which part of these might be working. This might already be enough. But since we find ourselves here, let's offer ourselves to one more opportunity in this region that might help.

And that's ye old, what gets known as the IT band. So the request here is this, let your left leg wrap over your right leg. So, the left thigh wraps over the right thigh. And for most of us that left foot will just sit along the outside of that right shin. A few of you out there might find that it's easy to wrap that leg but it's rare.

I have a brick to the side of me. Some kind of support is helpful, so that as you inhale and you exhale and you start to bring the legs over to the left, okay, I'm gonna find my right knee onto that brick. And for many of you, this will be demanding enough, through the outside of this right hip. And to help even get a little bit more stretch, you can reach your right arm over the top of your head. Your knees are dropping to the left, your right arm's reaching over the top of the head, and you are intentionally trying to find a stretch through the outside of this right hip.

If you're not feeling anything, you just lower the brick and let the knees drop a little bit lower. Let a bit of a (breathing slowly) happen, and feel your breath. That inhale that allows your back to arch a little bit. And then exhale that lets the sit bones drop under. Nice.

It's that inhale that allows the back to arch a little bit and that exhale that draws you under. Beautiful. One more breath here. So nice. Now to get out of here safely, free the wrap first.

So keep the knees to the left, free the wrap of the left leg, place it on the brick or the earth, as you then let the right knee lead and you come back to center, both feet on the floor. Beautiful. Come back to the center with your awareness, big deliberate inhale. And exhale everything. And then as you're ready, we'll repeat that on the other side.

So you have to bring your support to the other side. You're gonna wrap your right leg over the left, again for most of us, that foot just rests down along the left shin. Inhale here, and as you exhale you start to drop your knees over to the right. Place your support underneath your left knee, and for some of you, this is enough. Okay, the outside of this left thigh gets super grizzly.

If you need to feel more you just drop the support. Now of course if the support is not helpful, if your knees can find their way towards the earth, for most of us, that's not an option. Keep the knees dropped and if it's useful to feel more, stretch your left arm over the top of your head. Let a bit of a (breathing slowly) happen. Beautiful.

And feel the breath, that inhale that creates that slow arch. That exhale that lets the sit bones draw under. The inhale that creates the pelvic arch, the exhale that draws the sit bones under. Really nice. One more.

Beautifully done. Beautifully done. Now to get out of here safely, you unwrap first. So you're keeping the knees to the right but you're unwrapping the right leg off the left, place the right foot on that support, as you press into the right foot and the left knee comes back up. Okay, release both feet to the floor.

Pause here, big deliberate inhale. Exhale everything, relax the left arm back down along your side and just allow yourself to assess how this is going. These practices are to move us into relationship. Beautiful. Okay.

Now to find our way up, you're gonna let your knees come towards the chest, left arm's gonna roll over the top of your head, you're gonna gently roll over to the left, okay. Pause. Use your right hand to start to press yourself back up. Beautiful. Now we're gonna find our way onto all fours.

Okay. Knees underneath the hips, hands underneath the shoulders. Spread the fingers wide, and then we've done this before together. So as you inhale, the pelvis rolls forward, and the heart lifts. And as you exhale, you curl the sit bones under, and you round.

And as you inhale, you're gonna roll the pelvis forward, letting the heart lift. And as you exhale, you're curling the sit bones under, and you're letting the back round. One more like that. Inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, and as you exhale, you're letting the back round. And this time, round the back so much, and you're bringing the sit bones back towards the heels.

We're gonna make our way towards child's pose. Tops of the feet come towards the floor, you wiggle on back. Okay, now for most of us, the head doesn't quite come to the floor, so let the elbows bend. Let the hands come underneath the face, and maybe the forehead finds the hands, if the hands are still too far, let your forehead find your brick, pause here for a moment. Allow the inhale to reach down into the lower back.

Allow the exhale to soften. Beautiful. And now we will make our way to standing, hands underneath the shoulders, tuck the toes under, you're gonna roll your weight back a little bit, walk your hands back towards your feet, feet a little bit towards the hands, bending the knees, hang over here, beautiful. Then, as you're ready, hands on the legs for support, chin into the chest, and slowly roll on up, feeling the belly open, and feeling the heart open, and feeling the throat open, and the face open, yes. Okay.

Spread the toes wide, and again, the importance here is to allow yourself to assess, like, does it feel better? So big deliberate inhale. And exhale, let it happen, soften the knees. Let your mind's eye see the inhale move all the way down into the lower spine. Let the exhale soften.

Beautiful. So if you found out that getting a little bit of room in your hips and your hamstrings and your IT band helped, if that relieved some of the pressure in your lower back, then dive in a little deeper here on the site. There are so many different practices from all our friends. Getting a little geekier, getting a little deeper, getting a bit more in those nooks and crannies of tightness.

Comments

2 people like this.
Great, gentle and encouraging practice. Thank you Kira! Nice pants!
Aren't they great?? Thank you, Lorice! xokira
I love this sort of class, it really feels good. I have Scoliosis so lots of tightness etc - my inner thighs and groin areas are very 'clicky' - can you recommend this or any others to try please?
Dearest Glynis, so happy that this practice was helpful.

Arturo Peal offers some wonderful practices in the second Season of this very show.
http://www.yogaanytime.com/show-se ason/4598/Yoga-The-Happy-Back-Show-Seaso n-2-Low-Mid-and-Upper-Back-Relief

You might also check out some of the practices that Alana and Emily share in the Too Tight to Stretch Show.
http://www.yogaanytime.com/show-vi ew/87/Yoga-Show-Too-Tight-to-Stretch

Yo also might like Padma's practices for the pelvis and legs in Season 3 of Asana Studies:
http://www.yogaanytime.com/show -season/564/Yoga-Asana-Studies-Season-3- Padma-Borrego

If none of these are match, let me know. There are more to consider!

xo
kira
Thankyou so much - will have a look today, got mat out ready!
1 person likes this.
Thank you dear Kira - The Happy Back Show is just the bees knees. Less pain, loving it (and I bet bees have happy knees)
Dearest Kim, so happy! !
I have to be so careful with my back, this practice felt sooo good and helped me to loosen up in all those little places. Thank you for this wonderful sequence.
1 person likes this.
Dearest Joan, your success makes me so happy. Yes, please take good careful care of yourself. xok
Kira, the more I do this the better I feel, and the more aware I am of the suble movement in my body. I love your philosophical teaching of how breath affects the body and movement, and the changes in the muscle, bone position, and the softening. I am so grateful to be following your teachings and learning something new with each practice. Love💕
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