Gentle Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Low Back Release

40 min - Practice
208 likes
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Description

Alana guides us in a sequence to release the sticky spots in the low back. We begin slowly on our backs before moving into a low lunge building from the ground up. You will feel spacious and relaxed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)

About This Video

Jan 30, 2020
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Transcript

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Welcome back. Nice to be together. This is a low back relief sequence. It'll target all the sticky spots in the body. We're gonna start on our back and then we will gradually build towards a lunge from the ground up. So for this practice it'll be useful to have a blanket for your head or supporting your spine if you like a little extra cushion. Two blocks will be useful, not necessary but helpful, and a strap. So let's start on our back and you might have a blanket underneath your head or your spine and just find your way onto your back. And once you arrive and get settled, draw your knees into your chest and just start by rocking yourself from side to side. You can let the head sway along and just feeling into your back body, feeling into the muscles around the spine, the lower back. There might be some areas that feel a little tender or tight or stiff or achy. So we're gonna bring the hands onto the knees and find a circle with the knees in one direction. It's like you're stirring a pot with the knees and keeping it relaxed through the upper body, through the jaw. Just finding this fluid movement, kind of massaging the perimeter of the sacrum areas, the back of the pelvis, and then just a slow circle in the other direction. Yeah, letting the knees move away and then just circling them back in. Nice. And then as the knees come back into center, bring the feet down to the floor about hips width apart and we'll start with some pelvic tilts. So keeping the hips on the floor, your arms can be alongside the body. I'll stretch my arms out to the side so you can see. So hips down the ground, exhale. We're gonna draw our tailbone under. So lower back presses down towards the floor and then as you inhale, you're gonna rock your pelvis forward. So feel how the low back can arch up off the floor, front of the body lengthens, and then exhale, curl the tailbone under. Feeling the lower back connect down, keeping the hips on the ground, and then inhale, roll the pelvis forward, arching the back, and then stretching the front of the body. And a few more rounds here. Hips stay grounded, exhale, curl the tailbone under, lower back presses down, and then inhale, roll the pelvis forward, arching. A couple more rounds here. And you might keep your eyes open or just softly focused inward, paying attention to the movement through your spine from the tailbone all the way up through the cervical spine, the neck, keeping it relaxed through the face and the jaw. Nice. Good. And then just take a moment to relax the effort. We'll take a clearing breath, inhale. Nice, full exhale out of the mouth. Moving into windshield wipers, bring the feet a little wider than the mat, or wider than your hips rather, as wide as the mat, and then let the knees go side to side. Now it might feel good in this moment to keep your arms alongside the body, or you might stretch your arms overhead if that would feel good for your shoulders, and letting the knees go over to the right, lengthening through the left side, back up through center, and then over to the left. And your head might want to roll in one direction or the other. Feeling the back of your head on the floor, the blanket, and a few more rounds here. Really staying in touch with the quality of your breathing. Nice. And then as you're ready, just draw the knees back into the chest. Nice. We'll keep the right knee into the chest and bring our hands around that right knee. Left foot down on the floor, and then just let the knee move away from you a little bit. Arms extend, and then just draw the knee in towards your chest, feeling into your right hip. And then with your inhale, the knee moves away, and then exhale, knee draws in. One more time, knee moves away, arms straighten. Exhale, knee draws in. From here we'll wrap our strap around the bottom of our right foot. So go ahead and find your strap there, and then wrap it around, and then just start by bending and extending. So maybe we've done this together before. Bend and extend, just easing into the hamstrings, and you might keep your left foot on the floor to support your lower back. Finding this fluid movement through the back of the knee, the whole knee joint, and then moving towards that extension, right? Softening the shoulders down the back, releasing a little bit through the fingers. So now you might keep your left foot on the floor, or you might extend out for your left leg and maybe flex the foot. So you're drawing those toes towards the face. Notice if the breath feels a little held or short, and allow for an inhale. Nice, full exhale, softening any tension here. It's keeping a soft little bend through the back of the knee. If you find that your tendency is to kind of lock the back of the knee there, it's keeping it soft. And we'll bring the strap in the right hand, ground through your left hip, and then slow from the right hip. Let it open out to the right. Just a bit. So you're moving the foot towards your right shoulder. That's it.

Take a nice full breath here, feeling into the inner leg line, the hip, groin, grounding through your left hip. Inhale, bring it back up, and we're going to bring the strap in the opposite hand, the left hand, and then bring it across the body. So just enough to feel a stretch through the outer hip, down through the back of the leg. Feeling on the inhale, the right side can lengthen, and then exhale, relaxing through the belly, through the abdomen. Nice. And then a few more times, back up through center, and then out to the right, towards the right shoulder, back up through center, bring the strap in the left hand, and across the body. One more time, inhale through center, and let it open to the right. Rounding through the left hip, inhale back up through center, and then over to the left in any amount. Maybe you're reaching through your right arm, towards the shape of the spinal twist. Breathe wide into the spine, into the back ribs, and then when you're ready, inhale back up through center. You might stay right here today if it would feel good for you. You might draw your chin into your chest, and with an exhale, lift your upper back, curl up, drawing the navel towards the spine, forehead towards your right shin bone, curling up, maybe reaching through your left leg, and then just slow, roll the spine down, one vertebra at a time. Beautiful. Keep your right leg extended. Go ahead and bend your left knee if it's straight, and then we're gonna turn our right foot out. So externally rotating through the thigh, the foot turns out, and then we're gonna remove the strap, bend the right knee, and then bring the right ankle on top of that left thigh. I love this one. Send the knee away, stretch the arms out to your sides again, and then we're gonna rock from side to side, kind of cruising on to the inner outer edge of that left foot, letting the knee fall towards the floor, and letting the foot move across the body towards the floor, and letting your head rock in one direction or the other. Let's explore in your range of movement that feels good for your back and your spine. Nice. You might stay with this. You might rock it back through center and without your hands. Go ahead and flex your right ankle, and then lift your left foot up off the floor, draw that left thigh in, increasing the stretch through that right hip. Nice. You might stay with this or weave your right arm through the window there, finding the back of your left thigh or top of the shin, and then the play is to let the shoulders and the head release down. Now if you find your head is dropping back a little bit, you might tuck a blanket or a pillow underneath your head. Nice. Flexing the right ankle, rocking over to the left a little bit, lengthening through that right hip, and then rocking back through center. Breathing into where you feel the stretch or the sensation, and rather than trying to open and stretch your right hip, consider the possibility of allowing the hip to release on its own, in its own timing, in its own sweet way. Nice. We'll inhale together, and then exhale, release the hands, lower that left foot down, and go ahead and free your right leg back up towards the sky, bring your hands around the back of your thigh, and we'll point and flex the foot out. Just pointing, flexing, and then just circling the ankle. And as you circle the ankle, you might hear some sounds, some, I hear some snaps and mine, and both directions. It's like you're cleaning out the inside of a jar with your foot. Nice. And then go ahead and flex your foot, lead with your heel, and just slow lower down, drawing the lower abdominal muscles in towards the spine. Nice and slow releasing, and then stretch both legs out for a moment, and just relax the effort through your body, and relax the effort of your attention. Notice how you feel. A mini shavasana. Let's take a clearing breath. Inhale. Nice, full exhale. Let's draw both knees into our chest, and reset rock from side to side. And then keeping that left knee into the chest, let the right foot lower down, and as you inhale, let that left knee move away. Arms straighten, and then exhale, draw the knee in towards your chest. And inhale, knee moves away, so you're creating space around the hip. Exhale, knee draws in. One more time. Inhale, knee moves away, and then hug that knee in. Nice. And then we'll find our strap again, and wrap it around the bottom of our left foot, and just start by bending and extending. So nice and easy through the left knee, the back of the knee, and finding this, and this nice easy movement. Generally this helps to communicate with our nervous system. There's a way to come out of the stretch, right? Because stretching the hamstrings can be a lot and overwhelming. So bending the knee communicates, hey, there's a way out. Safe to stretch. Nice. Softening through the fingers, letting the shoulders release. You feel a lower back connected, tailbone drawing under a little bit. Nice. Again, you might choose to keep your right foot on the floor to support your back, or maybe it feels good to extend your right leg, but bring some juice into it. So flex the foot. That's right. Draw the toes towards your face. Allow for an inhale. Nice full exhale. Bring the strap in the left hand. Round your right hip with your hand, and then from your hip let it open out to the left. So towards your left shoulder, rather than collapsing down on the floor. Nice. Let's take a full breath here. Soft through the eyes. Ground through your right hip. Inhale, back up through center. Bring the strap in the right hand, and then just nice and easy across the body. And it doesn't take much to feel a lot, right? It doesn't take much to feel a stretch. Feel how that left side can lengthen. And then inhale, back up through center, and from the hip out to the left. Ground through the right hip. Inhale, back through center, and then switch over to the right across the body. One more time. Back through center, and then out to the left. Back through center. Strap on the right hand, and then across the body towards the right shoulder. You might stay where you are if it makes sense. You might move towards a bit of a spinal twist as the leg moves across the body, reaching that left arm out from the heart. Nice, full breath in, and find a place where your neck feels good. Let's keep.

Slow. Inhale, back up through center, and you might stay right here today. You might draw your chin into your chest. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your upper back up off the floor. Maybe you're reaching through that right leg, curling up, navel to spine, and then slow with control. Lowering down, mid-back, upper back, head, pause. Bend your right knee. Turn your thigh out. So externally rotate that left foot, bend the knee, and bring the ankle across the thigh. Bring your strap off to the side, arms out to your side, rock from side to side, cruising on to inner outer edge of that right foot. And you might notice the side feels a bit different. I notice it feels different for me in the hip and in my back. And just exploring a range of movement that feels good. Knee or foot falling towards the floor. And you might stay with this movement, side to side. As you come back through center, you might lift your right foot up off the floor, draw the knee in. Maybe you're rocking a little bit from side to side. So you're definitely feeling right, your abdominal muscles turning on, and you might stay with this as you flex your left ankle, or you might weave your left arm through the window there, finding the back of your right thigh or your shin. A strap could be useful here as well to extend the length of the arms. And then rocking a little bit from side to side. And you might play with rocking over to the right as you lengthen through that left hip, lengthen or draw the left knee away from you. And then rocking it back through center. Notice the quality of your breath. You might allow for an inhale. Nice, full exhale out of the mouth. Jaw relaxed. Nice. One more inhale. When you're ready, exhale, release the hands over your right foot. We'll free our left leg up. Bring the hands around the back of the left leg, and then just point and flex, stretching the top of the foot, drawing the toes towards the face, and then circling the ankle out in one direction, warming up the joint, and then in the other direction. Nice. And then when you're ready, go ahead and flex the foot, release the leg, lead with the heel, and just slowly lower down, relaxing through the upper body, and drawing the lower belly towards the spine. And then just free both legs. Relax the effort. You might shake the legs out. Notice again how you feel. Taking a few moments to consciously rest in the space you've created, through the legs, the hips. And then draw the knees into your chest and rock from side to side. From here, let's roll to our side. We'll use our arms to come on up. We made it up. Then we'll transition to tabletop. So find your way onto your hands and your knees, and you might have a blanket underneath your knees for some extra padding and support. And have your two blocks handy if you'd like to use them. And then spread the fingers wide. And then moving at your own pace, as you exhale, let your back round, releasing the head, stretching the back. And then as you inhale, lead with your heart. Rolling the pelvis forward nice and wide for your collarbone, sitting bones. And then exhale, round and stretch the back. And then inhale, lead with the heart. Extend and lengthen. A couple more rounds at your own pace, letting the eyes soften. You might visualize the movement through your spine. And in your cat cow, it might feel nice to explore and lean from side to side. So finding any areas that feel a little tight or sticky. Maybe through the hips, the ribs, the shoulder blades, up through the neck. Nice. New rounds in both directions. Nice. And then when you're ready, just bring the spine into a neutral position. We'll tuck our toes under and move towards a downward dog. Coming into this inversion, right? So spreading through the finger, soft bend through the knees. And then reaching the sitting bones up towards the sky, back, the neck releases. Let's bend our right knee a lot. And then just stretch the left calf and heel towards the floor. Good. And then bend the left knee and just stretch the right calf and heel down towards the floor. And then a few more times side to side. Each leg kind of pedaling the feet, bending the knees. Good. And then as you're ready, go ahead and lower the knees down. And nice and slow, find a child's pose, drawing the hips back towards the heels. And you might rest your forehead on your hands or you might make a fist with the hands. A few moments here, breathing wide into the back of the body. Nice. And then take your time. As you're ready, we'll come on up and we'll set our blocks up for some lunging. So you might start with your blocks at the highest setting. I know I like blocks there. Definitely have some padding underneath your knees. And let's start by drawing our right foot through between the hands.

And reorganize your blocks so that your back knee is padded, if you like it. You might tuck your back toes under or release the top of the foot. And then as you inhale, you're gonna draw your hips back. So finding the hamstrings again in this half split. And then exhale, go ahead and bend the front knee and lunge. And then we'll inhale, draw our hips back again. And then front knee bends, lunging. So a lot of sensation right through the back thigh, the hip flexor, psoas, muscle, and then a few more times. Draw it back and forward and back and forward. Next time you draw that right knee forward, pause with the knee tracking over the ankle. You might draw your blocks in a little bit closer as you feel the spine begin to lengthen. Nice. Back toes might be tucked under or top of the foot might be connecting down with the mat. Feeling that lift up through your spine, nice and wide through the collarbones, easy through the neck. Connecting with your breath. And this play, right, of finding ease within the effort. So I find in this shape there's a lot of sensation happening. Where can you soften, maybe with an exhale. Nice. And then slow as you're ready, draw the hips back. Find that length through the front leg. And then we're gonna slowly bend that knee, draw it back in and bring it back. Nice. And we'll find the other side. So draw that left knee or foot in between the hands. You might reorganize your blocks, reorganize the blanket. And then inhale, we're gonna draw our hips back. So again, feeling into our hamstrings and then exhale, lunging forward. Feeling that back thigh, hip flexor, and inhale, drawing the hips back. Ooh, exhale, lunge. A few more times at your own pace. Just exploring the whole landscape of sensation. Yeah. And then when you feel ready, bend that front knee. So the knee is tracking over the ankle. And then maybe draw the blocks in a little bit closer there. Feel how you can lengthen the front of the spine. Drawing the shoulders down the back. Relaxing the mouth and the eyes. And settling into the sensation. We're looking for that kind of good stretchy, curious sensation, right? Rather than painful or sharp. Nice. More moments here. You might allow for a exhale. When you feel ready, draw your hips back. Find that leg through the front leg. And then slow draw that left knee in and bring it back. Bring the blocks off to the side. We'll use them again for one more round. But first, tuck the toes under and downward dog. Just stretching out through the back of both legs. Back of the neck soft. Nice full breath in. Exhale out of the mouth. From here, let's lower our knees and we're going to lower onto our belly. So nice and slow, easing onto the belly. Drawing the shoulders down the back for cobra. So pressing the hands into the floor. Inhale, lifting up through the chest. Nice and wide through the collar bones. And exhale, slow. Releasing the forehead down. One more time. Press the hands into the floor. Inhale, lifting the upper chest. And then exhale, slow. Lower down. This time, bringing the forehead towards the floor. Stretching the fingers towards the toes, setting up for a locus. Spin the inner thighs towards the sky.

And as you're ready, inhale, lifting up through the chest. Any amount. And then you might lift the legs and lift the arms. And we're drawing the back body into the spine a bit here. Looking down so the neck can really lengthen. Inhale, brings you up. Exhale, lowers you down slow. As you're ready, bring the hands underneath the shoulders. Draw the elbows in. Tuck the toes under. Press up onto the knees. And then round your way back into a child's pose. Bring your knees onto the blanket. Knees wide. Forehead resting on the top of the hands. A nice full breath into the back body. And then from child's pose as you're ready, make your way back up. We'll take one more round of lunges. So if you like your blocks, bring them with you underneath your hands. And we'll draw that left foot through. And reorganize the back knee. And we'll come back one time. So just draw the hips back and then lunge forward. Then you might keep the blocks where they are. You might draw them in a bit closer. Finding that length through the spine. Feel that you can lift and lengthen. That's it. Hands might stay on the blocks or you might bring the hands onto that right thigh. Nice. In the second round, you might choose to reach the arms up towards the sky. That's right. Feel that you can draw the tailbone under and lift the ribcage up away from the pelvis. Maybe there's a soft bend through the elbows. Easy in the neck. Breathing. Easy to forget to breathe here. And then with the exhale, lower the hands down. Beautiful. Draw the hips back. One last time on this side. Find that length. And then just slow. Draw the knee back in. Bring it back behind you. Last side. Draw that left knee through. You can just kind of help the foot along. Bring the blocks around that front left foot. And let's draw our hips back one time. Find that length. And then find the lunge. Bend that left knee. And you might draw the blocks in a little bit closer. Finding that length and space. You might notice the second round feels a little different than the first. And you might stay right here for a few breaths. You might bring the hands onto your thigh. You might reach your arms up towards the sky, finding the shape with a low crescent lunge. You can draw the tailbone under and really lift and lengthen the rib cage soft through the elbows of the neck. Yes. Feeling that slightly through the back of the heart. Beautiful. One more inhale. Exhale. Go ahead and release the arms and the hands on the blocks. And then just draw the hips back. So finding this counter pose for the lunge. And then let's get out of here. Draw that foot back. And you can bring your blocks off to the side. We'll find one more round of downward dog to cobra and locust. So spread the fingers wide. Tuck the toes under. Lift the hips up towards the sky. Keep a soft bend for the back of the knees. Releasing the neck. And here we're in an inversion, right? We have our head below our heart. Good. Let's take an inhale. Nice, full exhale. Bend the knees. Lower yourself down. Nice and slow for cobra. Forehead on the floor. Hands in line with the shoulders. Hug the elbows into the ribs. Untuck your toes. Roll the shoulders up. And as you're ready, press the hands into the floor and inhale. Lift the chest and knee amount. Coming into this baby cobra. Nice and wide for the collarbones. Exhale. Lead with the heart. Slow. Lower down. Again, press the hands into the floor and lifting up. And then exhale. Lead with the heart. Lower down.

Last round. Stretch the fingers towards the toes. Spin the inner thighs towards the ceiling, the sky. And with an inhale, lifting the chest, the sternum, lifting the thighs, the legs, and reaching the fingers towards the toes. You know that you can really hug the back body into the spine as you lift up. The next day is long. Beautiful. Exhale. Lower down. Forehead on the floor. Nice, full. Bring the hands underneath the forehead. Elbows wide. Bend the knees. Reverse windshield wipers. So just letting the feet go side to side. Relaxing some of that effort through the back. Nice. And then from here, we're just gonna flip onto our back for bridge pose. So just find your way there. You might reorganize your blanket or bring it off to the side. And just find your way onto your back. Ease into your chest. We will find a collective sigh. Letting an exhale happen. And then setting up for around a bridge. So bringing the feet down to the floor about hips width apart. Heels in line with your sitting bones. Really spread your toes. Arms down alongside the body. Palms facing down. Allow for an inhale. This time exhale. Curl the tailbone under. Press the feet into the floor. Lift the pelvis up. Feeling the front of the body lengthen. Feeling that internal rotation through the thigh bones. Right? Palms pressing towards or into the ground as you feel the outer arm bones. Draw towards the floor. Space through the chest. Thaw through the face. Nice inhale. Nice little exhale. To release, let's stretch the arms up towards the ceiling. Lift the heels up. Come high onto the balls of the feet and then just roll the spine down one vertebra at a time. Hollowing the belly, upper back, middle back, low back and arms. Face full breath in. And exhale. Let's stretch the legs out for a moment. So just drawing the toes towards the face. That's right. Let's draw that right knee into our chest. Long for the left leg. Nice. Breathing into the lower back. And then switch. Extend for the right leg.

Draw the left knee in. Nice. And then we'll switch. Right knee draws in. Left leg extends. Now you might keep that left foot on the floor or lift the leg up. And then switch. Left knee draws in. Right leg extends. And foot on the floor or extended. And a few more rounds. And switch. And switch. Inhale, exhale, switch. You might keep your head on the floor. You might lift your head up, chin into the chest. And switch. And switch. Good. And then just draw both knees into your chest and rock. Whoo, side to side. Feet down on the floor, windshield wiper the legs side to side. So relaxing some of that effort through the core, through the hip flexors. Coming into a spinal twist. So drawing the knees back into the chest. We'll roll onto our right side. So go ahead and stack the knees. Stack the arms. And then let that top arm move across the chest. Feeling the ribcage. The revolve to the left. And then releasing the left arm towards the floor. And settle in with an inhale. And exhale. Just finding a place where the neck feels comfortable. And breathing into where you feel it. And take your time. Lead with the top leg. Let the bottom leg follow. Want to your back. You might reset and rock from side to side. And then rolling onto the left side. Stack the knees. Stack the shoulders and the hands. And then let that top arm move across the chest. And open. Shoulder releasing towards the floor. Towards. Allow for an inhale. And exhale. Breathing into where you feel the stretch.

Take your time. When you feel ready, lead with the top leg. Let the bottom leg follow. Knees into chest rock. And stretching the legs out for final relaxation. You might keep the knees bent. Feet wide. Knees resting together. Hands on the belly. Or you might stretch your legs out. Bring support underneath your legs or your head. And just begin to allow the body to release towards the earth. Relaxing any effort in the physical body or breath. Letting the back of the eyes soften. And you're welcome to stay. You're welcome to stay where you are as long as you'd like. And you feel ready to transition. It might feel nice to stretch your arms overhead. Finding a full body stretch. Lengthening. You might circle out your ankles and your wrists. And drawing your knees into your chest. Rocking over to one side and pausing there. Curl up. Allowing yourself to linger here. And take your time. Coming up. Press your hands into the floor. Head heavy. It's coming into a comfortable seat. Bring a blanket underneath you. Let's take a few moments to settle. Let your eyes soften. Resting in the space you've created in your practice, in your body. Stay with us as you join the hands together at your heart. Allow for an inhale and exhale. Namaste. Thank you for your practice.

Comments

Jenny S
3 people like this.
Always feel like I’m “gushing” when I talk about your practices, but I really do love them so. This hit the spot this morning and my low back thanks you!
June S
1 person likes this.
Downloading this one! I went into it really scattered and came out smiling. (Nice to know I’m not the only one with popping joints). ;)
June S
2 people like this.
Jenny, I feel that way too. The woman has talent! 👏🏼
Alana Mitnick
Good morning, Jenny! So delighted to receive your message. I love practicing together and I'm grateful for your presence and engagement. xoA
Alana Mitnick
Hi June, So glad you enjoyed this practice. You're not alone! I think this is part of the human experience... a scattered mind and nosey joints (lol)... the good news is that Yoga, and our ability to be aware of and track these natural tendencies, can inspire new growth and a flow of self compassion. Grateful to be in this together.  Love, Alana   
Joan J
1 person likes this.
Alana I always look forward to new sessions with you.  My low back needed this one. Your slow, gentle work gives me space where I need it.  Love the rocking, soothes my back and nervous system.  Very grateful for your teachings🌸🌾
Alana Mitnick
Hi Joan, Lovely to hear from you. So happy you enjoyed this gentle low back relief practice. Yes, the rocking is so soothing for me, as well. Sending love, Alana 
Diane C
1 person likes this.
Thank you Alana for another fantastic workout to ease low back soreness, especially after a long day of work. This is one of may favorite workouts. Your gentle spirit shines through.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Diane, So happy to hear! Yes, this is a practice I like to do often to relieve tension and unwind. Enjoy! Love, Alana 
Kate M
2 people like this.
This was exquisite. The slow pace really allows the body-mind TIME to digest the practice. (It also gave me great ideas for a class I'm subbing for tomorrow morning! Bonus!!)
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