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Season 1 - Episode 4

Low Back Relief

10 min - Practice


Patricia shares a short practice designed to help release and relieve low back pain. We start by loosening up the hips. With the support of a bolster and strap, we develop a relationship with our pelvis, thighs, belly, and low spine. You will feel satisfied.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Strap

About This Video

Nov 19, 2016
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(waves crashing) Hey. We're about to do a practice that helps to juice up and loosen the hips as well as releasing and relieving low back pain. It also gets a good, intelligent connection between the thigh to pelvis relationship and the pelvis to belly and low spine relationship. So, we're going to start on a bolster. Normally pelvic clocking is done with the pelvis on the floor.

I like to start on the bolster because it feels so good. You're going to lie down, and then you lift your hips and slide your bolster under. So it's kind of a flat bolster, not real thick, and not real hard, and then lifting up your legs, hold on to your knees. So you want to feel like your lower back is a little bit supported. You're not hanging your lower back off behind the bolster.

And then this is passive, in that you're making the clocking, the circles happen by being relaxed in the legs and the pelvis and the back and the belly, and just using your hands to make these circles. And you can make them as small or as large as you like. Usually slow is helpful, and reversing directions. Why this is called pelvic clocking is that whoever invented it thinks of drawing a clock around from above the naval down to the pubic bone, and so you go clockwise for a while, whatever that means to you, and then you go counterclockwise for a while. Tuning in to the massage-like effect as your body rolls around in these circles.

And then sometimes I like to do a little bit this direction as well. And this I think of as tail wagging. So if I had a big long tail, the tail would be swishing out that way in the direction that my feet are going and back the other. And so when you're clocking, you're actually including head to tail, tail wagging, and letting the pelvis rotate a little bit. And you almost don't even need to know that, but it is helpful when you go down to the floor which we're going to do next.

I'm rolling over to put my bolster away because we're going to be flat, I'm going to have you flat on the floor now. With your knees bent and feet on the floor, you're going to push with your feet and that way you can press your lower back to the floor and then you tilt your pelvis so that your lower back slides, arches up off the back a little bit. You can feel that. You can feel lower back on the floor, lower back off the floor. Then you're going to begin turning the hands around the clock again just like you did on the bolster except that you're not doing it passively with your hands around your knees now, you're doing it by using your pelvis and lower back muscles.

Now you could do this with a lot of swinging of the knees and so on, but I'd really like you to try to do it from the belly muscles and the lower back. Feel your head moving almost in the same direction, kind of creating a mirrored clock. That way you're not resisting and holding anywhere and occasionally every four or five turns, you can go in the opposite direction. You can turn this into figure eights around your pelvis. You can just imagine a figure eight that you're tracing on the floor with your pelvis as you make these movements.

If that drives you crazy, go back to the clocking. So for the third section of this, I'm going to roll over and sit up and get my strap and my bolster for a little relaxation and knee bends up towards the chest. Rolling over to the side, bringing the bolster right behind my head where it will be most convenient, and taking the belt and resting the head on the bolster. We unwind the belt. It's a nice big loop.

Take the knees in. Get rid of any twisties. And then see if it's easy for you to take the belt up over the top of your head, then it's going to be easy to put the belt around the base of your neck, the bottom of your neck where it joins your spine, and then you tug the belt a little bit and just hang out there for a few breaths. Your knees will probably separate. You'll feel a pleasant pressure on your low back and you can feel your belly touching your thighs when you breathe.

Then I'm going to suggest that you put your hands behind your head, lift your head and tuck your chin so that you make sure that the back of your neck is long and released and your chin is dropping down toward your chest. That really helps to calm the brain and the mind and allow a connection into the breath to occur spontaneously. I'm already feeling like a little more snugness on my belt would feel good. This is totally up to what feels good to you. It's nice to hold this for a minute or two, just keep letting go into your breathing.

It's very tidal, gentle wave of breath. The breath very soothing. I like to imagine that from the crown of my head over my face towards my chest, there's a little downward releasing flow towards the belly and the heart. Now you may end up wanting to stay here a good deal longer or a little bit longer. I'm going to take the belt off now and do the final piece here.

So to take the belt off, you're going to just lift your head, loosen the belt, slip the belt from behind your head and neck, slip it out from under your knees. So now the feet go back to the floor and you're just resting here for a few moments before going into the final piece here. And as you're resting, you're breathing, you can have your hands on your belly, breathing into your belly, and just feeling into the result of being in that nice position for a while. The Bound Ball Pose. Then you're going to take the bolster away and put the belt back over there on the bolster, and we're going to practice a couple of little things called Shimmy One and Two.

Shimmy One is rocking the heels, and you feel your belly move a little bit like a fast wave, and you're quickly pointing and flexing your toes while resting on the heels. The legs are almost not touching the floor. This causes your head and pelvis to tilt and it's not super fast, but it's fast enough to feel everything shaking around like a little bowl full of jelly. And it often brings a smile to my face. It can be done that way with the legs straight, rocking, pointing, flexing over the heels, or on the feet flat, you can bend your knees, put your feet flat and just push with your feet to create that same, quick, gentle rocking across the hips and feel your shoulders, head, and neck rocking as well.

This simulates the lymphatic pump inside our body which is extremely important for removing end products of metabolism, and it takes away inflammatory cells and other things that we don't need. And it feels delightful. And then after you pause, you get even more sense of delight once you're done. I feel my sinuses are a little cooler. My head, neck, and chest feel very spacious.

What do you notice? And I'm going to stretch my right arm overhead as I turn to one side. And push up to sitting. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed this practice.


Silke S
1 person likes this.
Namasté again. Short and so effective. Especially the rocking at the end to activate the lymphatic system. Thank you.
Patricia Sullivan
That pelvic clocking really seems to set things back into place and leaves the low back and sacrum feeling very spacious, and yes, the rocking motion further adds to the effect. That last part always leaves me smiling.
Joan J
1 person likes this.
Wow patricia, so happy I found this practice. My low back is very painful today. The pelvic clock, bound ball pose, and the heel rocking gave me relief. I will do this every day and hopefully prevent my pelvis and low back from tightening up. Grateful for your teaching
Patricia Sullivan
It really makes my day to heart the practice on Pelvic Clocking gave you relief from back pain! I wish you continued relief and enjoyment in your body. Blessings!
Elizabeth H
thanks Patricia- Happy New Year
Patricia Sullivan
You're so welcome Elizabeth. And Warmest wishes for this new year to be fulfilling.
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Very effective practice! Thank you for this! It's so great to be able to come back to it and be reminded of the efficacy of this practice. Loved the clocking on the bolster as well as the rocking/shimming and all the rest.
Patricia Sullivan
That's great Christel, these uncomplicated  movements  allow one to really dive in to the tender sensations with, well, tenderness. Thank you so much for reminding me of this sequence - I know someone who could really use it right now!  Warm heart, Patricia

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