20-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 8

Yoga Has Your Back

20 min - Practice


Sarah guides us through a sweet, mellow sequence to target lower back pain and release tension associated with sitting. Savor the held gentle postures in this unwinding series to feel relieved, relaxed, and stress-free.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Thank you for joining me for this slower flow practice that will explore some shapes to really reduce lower back tension. So let's start in child's pose. If you'll meet me there, you can bring the big toes and heels together, either letting the knees come together or feel free to let the knees go a little wider so that the torso can start to drape down between the legs and then just easy crawl the hands forward, letting the forehead rest down on the earth or a block, and then just taking a moment to arrive here to feel the earth beneath you, allowing a very big full breath in through your nose as you send the breath to the lower back, and then as you exhale, like you're fogging a mirror, open up the mouth and sigh something out, let it go, beautiful, and then again like that big full breath in through the nose, cleansing breath, opening up the mouth, sigh it out, release, let something go, beautiful, allowing the inhale to feel the expansion through the ribs, through the back body, the lower back, and then let the exhale be a sweet release, maybe sigh it out, beautiful, and then from here, just walk the hands forward a little bit, let the elbows come up off the earth and then start to crawl the hands over to the right side as you let a little weight shift off toward the left hip, send the breath through the left rib cage, breathing in, releasing as you breathe out, nice, and then as you inhale, come back through center with your hands, crawl them over to the left side, let a little weight shift off toward the right hip, and then allow the breath to fill the entire right side body through the rib cage, the lower back on the right side, big full breath in, long breath out to release, nice, and then just noticing how you're feeling as you come back through center, any areas where you might be holding on to any tension specifically in that area of the lower back, and just inviting those spaces to open to release a little bit more today as we send the breath to those spaces, beautiful, and then on your next breath in, meet me in tabletop position, so we'll come up to all fours, let your shoulders come right over the wrist, let your hips come over the knees, and then we'll move into some gentle cat-cow, so on an inhale, arching through the spine, reach the heart between your arms, lift the heart in the gaze, but as you exhale, draw the navel in toward the spine, press the floor away, really rounding through the back, and we'll do that a couple times, so let the inhale bring the weight forward, arching, heart lifts, gaze lifts, exhale, navel to spine, press the floor away, maybe shift the weight back a little bit, one more like that, inhale, bring it forward, starting to link our breath in, with the movement, fluid with the breath and the movement, exhale, cat pose, nice, and then slowly come to a neutral spine, so find that place between cat and cow, walk the hands forward a little bit, tuck the toes, and lift the hips up and back into downward facing dog, beautiful, and then in this first downward facing dog, just start to move around a little bit, pedal it out through the feet, feel into the back body, let your spine be nice and long, and if the hamstrings are feeling a little tight today, feel free to bend the knees, maybe step the feet a little wider, and eventually making your way towards stillness, so letting the hands be about shoulder width apart, feet about hips distance, let your sitting bones reach up toward the ceiling, good, find your drishti, find one point to focus your gaze, maybe just in front of your toes, breathing in, stay for the exhale, breathing out, beautiful, and then pick up your hands and walk them back to your feet, find a nice easy forward fold at the back of the mat, feel free to put a nice big bend in your knees and allow the torso to drape down over the legs, maybe bring the back of your hands to the earth stretching the wrists a little bit, or you might hold opposite elbows letting the body hang heavy, crown of the head melting down, maybe shake your head yes and no a few times, maybe shift a little weight toward the balls of your feet, and if you're crossing at the elbows take your time to take the opposite arm on top, balancing it out a bit, keep the knees soft, breath deep, nice, and then letting the hands come down toward the earth, on an inhale come halfway up, so start to walk the hands up onto the shins for this first one as you lengthen through the spine, arda uttanasana, and then let the exhale bring you back into your fold uttanasana, let everything go, we'll do that two more times, inhale lift halfway up either fingertips on the earth or maybe hands come up onto the shins, as you exhale soften and fold uttanasana, good two more like that, inhale lift halfway, lengthen offer the heart forward, exhale uttanasana folding in, nice, and then take your time, walk your way all the way forward through down dog and into plank pose, come to the top of a push up, and taking a moment to land in your plank, shift the weight forward, welcome to lower the knees down to the earth, we'll hug the elbows in and just take a nice slow lower all the way to the belly, good, walk your hands back a little bit, so letting the wrists come right under the elbows, spread the toes and press into the tops of the feet and then start to peel the chest forward and up just slightly for a baby cobra bhujangasana, let the back of the neck be nice and long, and then exhale release everything back down, we'll do that two more times, inhale peel the chest up off the earth, keep the core and the legs involved, exhale slow lower, so you might feel that slight compression in the lower back, inhale as you peel up, keep the core and legs engaged, shoulders away from the ears, long in the back of the neck, good, and then exhale release, beautiful, and come up onto your forearms, walking into Sphinx pose, we'll walk the elbows in front of the shoulders a little bit, and then press through the hands, so start to draw your mat back as you reach your heart forward, keep the legs engaged pressing through the tops of the feet, and again you might feel that slight compression in the lower back, actually really good posture for low back tension, now if it feels okay, take your gaze over your right shoulder, feel a little bit of a stretch in the neck, all connected, the neck, the shoulders, the back, inhale come back through center, and then exhale take your gaze over the left shoulder, breathe into the right side of your neck, nice, and then come back through center, drop your chin down towards your chest, feel the opening in the back of the neck, and then start to draw your right ear to your right shoulder, let that feel good, breathe into the left side, and right away probably noticing if there's any tension here, I feel it, come back through center, big breath in, and then left ear, left shoulder, melt it down, breathe into the right side of the neck, beautiful, and then as you come back through center, release your hands and arms back behind you actively, let your thumbs face toward the earth, let the pinkies face up, and moving into shalabhasana, start to peel the chest up off the earth, maybe add your legs, or you can keep the feet connected, as you gently engage through the core, and lengthen forward and back through the crown of the head, and back through your toes, so maybe spread your toes, big breath in, good, exhale, just bring one cheek to the earth, rock your hips from side to side, and feel that gentle release in your lower back, beautiful, and we'll take that one more time, so chin or forehead comes to the earth, reach the arms back actively, thumbs down, pinkies up, peel the chest up, press through the tops of the feet, maybe add your legs, so strengthening here, we need that combination of both, that support, that strength, and also that stretching, that opening, good, big full breath in, exhale, opposite cheek to the earth, maybe stay here for an hour or two, let your hips sink side to side, sway side to side, so nice, beautiful, and then as you come back through center, bring the hands next to the side ribs, and meet me back in downward facing dog, good, from your down dog, rise up high onto the toes, bend your knees deeply, come to seated at the front of the mat, so you might hop your feet forward, walk them forward, however you want to get there is great, and as we come to seated, we'll set up for a variation of Janush or Sasana, so bringing the left foot to the inner upper right thigh, and then start to center your weight, right leg is straight, and out to the side, flex your right foot, and then start to crawl your right hand to the inside of your right leg, we'll sweep the left arm up and start to take it over your ear, so soften the right elbow, feel the length through the left side body, without force, find that stretch, so find your edge without stepping over, maybe eventually there's the invitation to go a little deeper, and spinning the chest open, and you'll feel that most likely in that outer left hip, the left low back, and be a pretty big stretch, so good if you sit a lot during the day to get into this posture, beautiful, and then inhale, as you come up, take a moment, notice where that lands, let it feel good, good, and then just taking it to the other side, so letting the left leg go out to the left, flex your left foot, bring the right foot to the inner upper left thigh, and then wiggle in, really the counterbalance these postures to our daily lives, so we're sitting, we're driving, we're on our computers, it's opening up through those spaces, so start to walk your left hand to the inside of your left leg towards your ankle, wherever it lands is great, and then sweep your right arm up, feel the length in the right side body, and reach it up and over your ear, take a gaze, maybe up toward the ceiling, and just tuning in to your body, the wisdom of the inner world shape is going to be different every time you visit, so with curiosity, just kind of noticing, where do I feel this, where may I need to send my breath to create a little more opening, a little more ease, beautiful, couple more breaths, maybe allow the eyes to close as you go inward, noticing what comes up for you, the thoughts, coming back to your breath as we slowly come on out of that side, good, and then reach both legs in front of you, we'll move into a forward fold, feel free to soften your knees here, and you might even wrap your arms underneath your legs or you could take a bolster or blanket under your knees, and then just move into just a variation of a forward fold, if you want the legs straight and that feels better for you, feel free to let your hands find your feet, your shins, a block, otherwise maybe it's a little more passive as you feel the opening through the lower back, let the feet relax, super calming for the nervous system, it's kind of alerting the body that in this moment, all is well, tracking your inhales, your exhales, if there's an intention for your day, for your practice, for showing up, maybe setting that here, giving your practice a deeper meaning, beautiful, and then take your time, we'll roll up and onto the back, take the knees with you, start to rock a little bit from side to side, as you feel into the lower back, maybe take your knees in circles in either direction, massaging through the lower back, feeling into the hips a little bit, beautiful, and then let the soles of the feet find the earth, hips width apart, maybe brush the backs of your heels with your fingertips and we'll press up into an easy bridge pose, so just lifting the hips, pressing through the palms of your hands, if you want to interlace behind the low back, go for it, just feel that opening in the front body, see if you can lift from the hamstrings, try to release any clenching in the glutes, chest to chin, breathing, beautiful, let your exhale, bring you all the way down, from here, hook your right ankle on top of your left knee, we'll find a figure four shape with the legs, as we come in to thread the eye of the needle, so start to draw that shape in towards you, you might interlace behind your left thigh or on top of the left shin, but be at a place where the shoulders can soften, the low back can release, send the breath to the right hip as the right knee draws away and the left knee draws in, maybe let out a deep sigh, releasing, nice and then releasing that side, as you're ready, bring the soles of the feet back to the earth, we'll move into the second side, so crossing the left ankle on top of the right knee, find that figure four shape, releasing right away if this side feels a little different, start to draw the shape in towards you, and then again, you might interlace on top of that right shin or behind the right thigh, breathe into the left hip, let the shoulders release and soften, softening the space behind your eyes, relaxing the jaw, the tongue, the throat, beautiful and then letting that side go, we'll take a quick happy baby hugging the knees in, maybe holding on to the outsides of the feet, the ankles or the shins, knees go wide, low back soften, shoulders relaxed, maybe rock a little side to side or just find stillness, notice what feels correct for you in this moment, honoring what you need, beautiful and then hugging the knees back into the chest, let's let the knees come right over the hips, flex your feet parallel the shins to the earth and reach the arms on either side of your body with the palms facing down, let both knees drop all the way over to the right side as you come into a nice easy twist, maybe pick up your right hand, place it on top of the left thigh, maybe gazing over the left shoulder, just wringing it out, and feel that gentle pull on the low back, breathing into that space, creating just a little more ease, beautiful and then bring it all the way back through center, so knees again are over the hips, parallel the shins to the earth, let both knees drop over to the left, maybe pick up your left hand, place it on top of the right thigh, maybe take your gaze over the right shoulder, bring it out, where might you soften a little more, beautiful and then take your time, just come back through center, stretch the legs long on your mat, we come to the shape of our final resting pose of Shavasana, allowing a very big full breath in, let something go on your exhale as you release the retention you might be holding onto here, can you let it go just for now, just a little bit more, and just rest. Gently allow the breath to begin to deepen, letting the next inhale be a little longer than the last, inviting any organic movement back into the body or feel free to stay here as long as you like, otherwise we'll make our way to seated, so taking your time maybe bringing the soles of the feet to the earth, reaching your arms up over your ears, rolling to one side or just simply coming up to seated, we'll find comfortable cross-leg seated position gathering hands together in front of the heart, Anjali Mudra, thank you so much for sharing this practice with me today, I hope to see you again really soon in practice with you, have a beautiful rest of your day, Namaste.


Jenny S
5 people like this.
This sweet, gentle practice was just what my body and soul needed on a day of blissful solitude after the fun (but exhausting!) week of holiday and family birthday celebrations…following this up with a nice long soak in the tub = perfect start to the new week 🛁 Thank You Sarah for this offering 🙏🏻❤️
Sandra Židan
Great practice, Sarah! I've enjoyed doing it! Thanks and kind regards!
Silke I
3 people like this.
My lower back says Thank You, Sarah! Nice, slow and releasing flow, perfect at the end of a day full of sitting. 
Pat Pao
2 people like this.
Lovely - so nourishing - my back feels happy!
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
Your day of blissful solitude sounds so lovely, Jenny S! You are inspiring me! Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season. Warmly, Sarah
Sarah Beston
Thanks for letting me know, Sandra Židan! Glad this was a good practice for you!
Sarah Beston
I am so glad to hear it was helpful, Silke I! I am glad your lower back felt good!
Sarah Beston
So glad to hear that your back felt good after this practice, Pat Pao!
Robin J
1 person likes this.
Wonderful way to start the day thanks!    Love the new season
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
A new back, a new day! Thank you Sarah!
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