Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 12

Low Back Quickie

15 min - Practice


Emily shares a short practice to help stretch the back and relieve tension. With the support of a chair, we find length and freedom in the shoulders, side body, and spine. We close by taking a few moments to rest in the space created through the lower back.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Blanket

About This Video


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(ocean wave) Hi everyone! This is a short practice just to bring you a little relief if your low back is feeling tight. And for this practice you will need a chair, and you'll also probably want a blanket for underneath your knees when we go down to the floor. So I'll have you turn towards your chair and walk your feet slightly back and bring your hands to the back of your chair. And then start to walk your feet back a little bit, open your feet hip-width apart, and just drop your head and let your knees be pretty soft here. And then as you breath in, start to tip your tailbone up towards the sky and lift your chest.

And then as you breath out, drop your head, pull your belly back and start to round your back into a standing cat stretch. And then reverse that. As you inhale, start to tilt your tailbone back up to the sky, creating a little bit of a deeper extension in the low back, lift the chest. Exhale, lower the head, draw the belly back to drop the tail, and see if you can round all the way through your upper back. And then just try to do that a few more times on your own.

Inhaling, getting a nice extension through the spine, lift through the heart, exhaling, scooping the belly back, dropping the head, really rounding here. Let's just do that twice more. You can have your knees as bent as you need to for your comfort here. Finishing up your last round, on your exhale, scoop the belly back, drop your head, and then as you inhale just come a little bit more into a neutral spine. Walk your feet back a couple more inches and start to reach your hips back so that your hips line up over your knees and ankles and your arms stretch alongside your ears.

And if this is too much for any reason you can walk your feet in a little bit closer towards the chair. This is a great alternative for downward-facing dog, if you feel like you don't want to put pressure on your wrists, or it's uncomfortable for your shoulders. Let's give ourselves just three more big breaths right here. (breathing deeply in and out) Good and then the next time that you exhale just start to walk your feet back up towards your chair, and come into mountain pose. Have your feet parallel, hip-width apart, weight slightly back into your heels.

And then as you inhale, spin your palms out and up. Sweep the arms up alongside the ears, and as you exhale send your right arm down, shift your hips left, and side bend towards your right. And then with your inhale come all the way back up, and exhale, side bend left. Inhale to center, exhale, side-bend to the right. Inhale to the center, and then exhale to your left.

And let's just do that one more time. Inhaling to center, exhaling to the right, inhaling coming back through to center, and exhaling to the left. And the next time that you inhale come all the way back up through center, exhale, side-bend to your right, and just stay here. Breathing deeply here. Think about reaching your right fingertips down towards your right heel.

Breathing into the left side of your low back, your ribcage. And on your next inhale come all the way back up through to center, and then as you exhale, side-bend to your left, reaching down through those left fingertips. Letting your breath fill up the right side of your torso. Good, next time you inhale come all the way back up through center, and then exhale, lower the hands down to your sides and you're welcome to come into that forward bend that we just did with your hands on the back of your chair. Or if you'd like to take it a little bit deeper you'll turn your chair around, step in front of the chair with the feet parallel, hip-width apart, place a nice bend in your knees, and then bring your hands to the seat of the chair, drop your head.

Breathing here. You can straighten your legs as much as it feels comfortable. And you can begin to bend your elbows a little bit to deepen the forward fold. And you may find that your elbows end up making their way to the seat of the chair. You can just take some really nice long breaths where you are.

(breathing in and out deeply) Try to really let your head hang. And on your next inhale, crawl yourself back up to your hands if you were on your elbows, place a nice bend in your knees, and then just bring your hands to your hips and unhinge the hips, coming all the way back up to stand. And then let's just set the chair off to the side. Good. And then find your blanket so that you can make your way down to your hands and your knees, and you'll just place your blanket right across the center of your mat.

And then let's step to the front of the mat and just take a nice big breath in, sweep your arms up, and then as you breath out, bend your knees deeply, hinge at your hips, and come forward, bringing your hands down to the floor, and just step one knee back, and then the other. And you're welcome to use your chair to help you get down to the floor if you need to. Crawl your knees back a few more inches so that they're behind your hips. Tuck your toes under and then reach your hips back again, so that your hips are now over your knees, and walk your hands forward, coming into half-downward-facing dog pose. Drop your head, you can allow your forehead to just relax down towards the floor.

You may end up putting your forehead on the floor. And take a few breaths right here. (breathing in and out deeply) And on your next exhale walk your hands towards the right corner of your mat and reach your hips back. Again, dropping your head, letting your neck relax. (breathing deeply) Inhale, walk your hands back through to center and then over towards the left corner of your mat, reaching the hips back, lowering the head.

Just feeling that nice side-body, low-back stretch. (breathing deeply) As you inhale, walk your hands all the way back to the center and then just shift your hips off to one side and we'll just move the blanket out of the way. And we'll lay down on the back. And I'm just gonna turn around so that you have just a little bit of a better view here. So we'll lay all the way back and actually you can, if you like, use your blanket for underneath the head.

So you always have that support Come all the way back. Knees bent, feet are hip-width apart. Stretch your arms out like a T shape, palms turned up. Take a big breath in, and as you breath out slowly lower your knees over to one side. And then inhale, bring your knees back to the center.

And exhale, knees over to the other side. And you'll just continue like this, inhaling, knees to center, exhale, knees lower, inhale, knees to the center, and exhale, lowering your knees over to the other side. And just think about if you were, your knees were windshield wipers on a car, just on a misty day, moving pretty slowly from side to side, just beginning to wash away any tightness in your low back. And we'll just do a few more rounds like this, allowing your breath to guide your movement. (breathing deeply) And let's finish up this last round together.

Lowering the knees on the exhale, bringing the knees to center as you inhale, and then lowering to the opposite side on your exhale. And then slowly bring your legs all the way back to the center. Draw the knees into the chest, place your hands right over your kneecaps with your fingers pointing towards your toes. Take a big breath in here. And then using your abdominal muscles a little more than your arms, as you exhale, draw the knees in towards the chest, and as you inhale, move the knees away until your arms are straight.

Exhale, draw the knees in towards the chest, inhale, knees move away until the arms are straight. Exhale as the knees draw in, inhale as you move your knees away. Let's do one more like that. Exhale knees to chest, and inhale, moving the knees away. And then from there just set your feet back down on the floor, and walk your feet a little bit wider than your hips.

And then just let your knees start to drop in towards one another until they touch. Coming into just a constructive resting pose here. Let your arms extend down alongside the body, palms turned up. (sighs) Take a nice big breath in through the nose, filling up the belly, and then as you exhale, slowly release. Let the breath go, let your body relax, and just feel the space that you've created in the low back.

(breathing deeply) Slowly allow your knees to move back apart from one another and then just roll to your side, and press yourself up to a comfortable seat. And ... Notice how your back is feeling from that quick movement practice, bring your hands together in front of the heart. Thank you for sharing your practice. Namaste.


A nice easy session that provides relief for a sore lower back. I think this will be a regular for me after a day at my desk or after a long run/ride. Thankyou
Hi Marita! Thank you for practicing together! I am so glad to hear this was helpful and you plan to re-visit this practice!
Thanks for this practice, Emily! Kind regards!

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