Yoga for Back Pain Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Low Back Strength

30 min - Practice
93 likes
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Description

This class will help you create strength, stability, and resilience in your low back. We mindfully visit lunges, Bridge variations, gentle heart openers, and standing poses, then settle into an effortless final relaxation. You will feel released and rejuvenated.
What You'll Need: Mat

Transcript

Read Full Transcript

Welcome, my name is Hattie Bluestone and this yoga sequence is designed to cultivate strength, stability and resilience in your low back. To begin, let's come down onto our backs. So lying down on your yoga mat and allow your eyes to close, draw your knees in toward your belly, taking your hands behind the backs of the knees, so between your hamstrings and calf muscles, relaxing your shoulders and just beginning with a deep breath to let go of your day. So take an inhale and exhale, arriving in your body and in this present moment. Start to circle your knees apart from one another and back together.

So here we're moving the thigh bones inside the hip joints and as you do this, allow your belly muscles to be relaxed and your shoulders to be relaxed, your head and neck soft. Noticing what it feels like to move your thigh bones, your femurs inside the hip joints. You might also feel as you do this a little bit of rocking on your low back, so it can be also a massage for your low back here, low back and sacrum. From there, bring that to a close and begin to straighten and bend your knees, so you're extending your legs up toward the sky, opening and closing your knee joints, feeling a gentle stretch on the backs of your legs, your hamstrings. And the next time that your legs are straight ish, circle your ankles.

You might feel or hear some clicks and pops as you circle your ankles, moving your feet in one direction and then in the other. And that's all okay, totally normal. Bend your knees, set the bottoms of your feet on the ground and now take your hands and place your fingertips on your hip points. So those are the bony points on the right and left side of the pelvis, right on the front of the pelvis there. We're going to rock our pelvis.

So as you breathe in, let your pelvis tip forward. That feels like your low back should arch away from the ground and these hip points move closer to the fronts of your thighs. As you exhale, tuck your pelvis under and flatten your low back down into the earth. Inhale, let your pelvis rock forward and exhale, tuck your pelvis under, flattening your low back into the earth. To make this harder, try not to push into your feet.

So inhale, let your pelvis rock forward, the low back arches away from the ground. Now exhale, flatten your low back into the earth without pushing into your feet. That's going to make you use your core muscles a little bit more. Inhale, let your pelvis rock forward, exhale, tucking under. One more mindful movement, inhale, pelvis rocks forward, exhale, gluing your low back to the earth and pausing there.

The goal of this next movement is to keep your low back glued to the ground the whole time. So pressing your low back into the earth and we're going to begin to march the legs. So as you breathe in, take your right leg up to tabletop. That means the right knee is over the right hip and the shin is parallel to the ground. Keep your low back glued to the mat as you take your left leg up to that same position.

Keeping your low back touching the earth, slowly and lightly set your right foot down on the ground and as you exhale, set your left foot down as well. Let's do that again. Inhale, take your right knee into tabletop. Low back stays in contact with the earth as you exhale and draw your left knee in. Keep your low back touching the earth as you lightly set your right foot on the ground.

Try not to push into it. The same thing, exhale, lightly set your left foot on the ground. One more time. Inhale, draw your right knee in, exhale, draw your left knee in. Low back stays glued to the earth.

Inhale your right foot down, exhale your left. We're going to do it again, but lead with our left leg. So inhale, take your left knee into tabletop. Keep your low back glued to the ground as you take your right knee up. Inhale, slowly put your left foot on the earth and exhale the right.

Just two more on this side, inhale, draw your left knee in, exhale your right. Feel your belly muscles working as you keep your low back glued to the ground. Put your left foot down and exhale your right foot down. One more time. Inhale, left knee comes up, knee over the hip, exhale, right knee up.

Lightly set your left foot on the ground and then your right. Nice job. Press your feet into the earth and lift your hips into a moderate bridge pose. So sometimes in yoga we're doing a big back bend bridge and instead of that here, just feel that you're pushing your feet into the earth and lifting your hips a moderate amount. From there, take your hands and place them onto your hip points again.

So those bony points on the front of the pelvis. Notice that right now the two hip points are level to one another. Squeeze your right glute and notice how that lifts the right hip point higher than the left. Relax that and then squeeze your left glute and notice that the left hip point gets higher than the right. Relax that.

The goal of this next exercise is to keep your two hip points level the whole time. So level one, you're going to lift your right heel off of the ground, keeping your two hip points level and exhale slowly, put your right heel back down. Inhale lift your left heel off of the ground. Exhale down. Continue with that.

Level two or three, you might try to march your legs. So keeping your two hip points level, take an inhale and take your right leg up to tabletop. So again the knee is over the hip, the shin is parallel to the earth. And as you exhale, slowly put your right foot back on the ground. Try to keep your two hip points level, inhale lifting your left leg up into tabletop.

And exhale slowly putting your left foot back on the ground. Marching from side to side. This is not easy so a lot of gentleness and compassion for yourself as you go. Keeping your two hip points level, inhale drawing a knee into tabletop, exhale setting the foot back down on the earth. Moving to the pace of your own breath.

So this is a core stability exercise we're trying to keep our pelvis and our back very stable as we move from our hip joints. Let's do one more on each side, inhale lifting the leg up, exhaling setting the foot down, hip points stay level, last one, inhale and exhale. Push both of your feet down strongly into the earth and as you exhale slowly roll down. Take a moment to just feel your hips come back into contact with the earth, feel your low back muscles begin to soften and turn off and take a resting breath here. Into your belly breathing in and out.

And here roll to the side of your body we're going to come up to hands and knees. Let's do cat and cow so as you breathe in draw your heart forward and lift your sitting bones up and then as you exhale round your spine pushing your hands and knees down into your mat. Inhale if you're sitting bones up draw your heart forward gently drag your hands back toward your knees and then exhale and push your hands straight down into the floor tuck your pelvis under let your head hang down again like that inhale this is cow pose and exhale cat pose inhale feel your pelvis tilt forward heart opens exhale feel your pelvis tuck under rounding your upper back one more inhale and exhale from there come to a neutral spine so just something in between those two extremes and from there slide your left leg back with your left tippy toes on the ground slightly tuck your pelvis under as if you're doing cat pose and keep that as you lift your left leg into the air push your right knee straight down into the ground this is bird dog and you're welcome to stay here options to make it a little more challenging when you're ready would be to reach your right arm forward continue to breathe as if you're doing cat and cow and if you need it to be even more wobbly you could lift your right foot off of the ground take a few breaths here calm breaths even though the body might feel wobbly getting stronger in the back here take one more inhale and as you exhale put your hand down and knee down nice job for the second side extend your right leg back with your right toes on the ground tuck your pelvis under slightly like you're doing cat pose and then keep that as you lift your right leg into the air push your left knee straight down into the earth and you're welcome to stay right here this is very strengthening for the muscles that run alongside the spine the glutes the hamstrings you can stay here or you can stretch your left arm forward continue to push your right hand straight down into the earth and then if you want a little more wobble you could lift your left foot off the ground so that just gives your core even more challenge take some soothing breaths here deep breath in and out push the right hand and left knee down into the earth one more time inhale and exhale nice job place your hand down and knee down and press back into downward facing dog so tucking your toes under reaching your hips up and back finding that triangle shape with your body with your hands press the earth away in down dog if you have a little bit of shorter hamstrings you're welcome to bend your knees and see if that allows you to lengthen your spine to reach your hips up and back to the place where the ceiling and the wall behind you meet perhaps relax your neck and take a full breath here next is plank pose bring your shoulders forward over your wrists you're welcome to keep your knees off the ground but if it would feel better today feel welcome to put the knees down either way push your hands straight down into the earth feel the strength of your belly feeling your whole core supporting your spine here take an inhale and with control bring your knees down and then lower all the way down onto your belly we're going to set up for locus pose so setting the tops of your feet on the earth turn the right side of your face toward the mat and reach your arms back alongside the body feel really relaxed here so feel the way the shoulders are slumpy and then from there we're going to take an inhale and rotate so the palms of the hands face one another the chest is lifting slightly tuck your chin toward your throat to lengthen the back of your neck and if it feels okay on your low back lift your legs into there as well the whole back of your body is lifting and strengthening as you breathe in and then as you exhale turn the left side of your face toward your mat as you slowly come back down fully relaxed shoulders get slumpy again good inhale lifting up stretching your chest reach your fingertips back and as you exhale slowly release back down take the full length of your inhale to lift into locus pose slowly lifting palms of the hands face in toward the body shoulders lift away from the ground legs lift up exhale slowly and with control turning your head to the other side good inhale lifting up riding the wave of your breath slight tuck of your chin toward your throat exhale slowly coming back down let's hold together this time so inhale lift into locus pose chest is lifted arms are lifted maybe legs as you inhale you'll lift a little bit higher and as you exhale you'll soften just a bit two more breaths like that inhale lifting up exhale softening a little bit out of the pose but stay in the general shape one more inhale full locus pose and exhale come all the way down if you like you can make a pillow for your head and begin to feel the movement of your breath into the muscles that were just working a moment ago so you might feel the breath in your upper back your mid back and maybe all the way down into your low back feel your breath broadening your low back as you breathe in and your whole body softening as you breathe out one more inhale and then child's pose is next place your hands next to your chest press your hips back toward your heels coming into child's pose and settling in with your breath again feel once again the low back broadening as you breathe in belly expanding whole body softening as you breathe out come into hands and knees we're going to step the right foot forward into a lunge here's a great place if you want blocks underneath your hands that'll give you a little bit more room for the movement our right foot is forward our left leg is back as you inhale your right knee is bent and as you exhale start to straighten your right leg taking it a little bit or a lot a bit towards straight inhale bend the front knee and exhale straighten push the earth away through your right foot again inhale bending lengthening your spine and exhale to straighten so we're bringing some mobility into the hips inhale bend the front knee exhale straighten from there bend your front knee and bring your back knee down to your yoga mat for low lunge tuck your pelvis under like cat pose and lift your arms into the sky you might imagine your fingertips here start all the way down at the sides of your waist so you're lengthening the whole sides of your body as you reach up take one full bright breath in and as you exhale slowly take your hands down and press back into downward facing dog inhale here exhale bring your knees down to your mat and now step your left foot forward so second side tuck your back toes under and lift that back knee and again you could place hands on blocks if you like breathing in draw your heart forward front knees bent breathing out straighten the front leg just like that inhale bend the front knee chest opens here exhale straighten inhale bend and exhale straighten this time bend your front knee and bring your right knee down to the earth tuck your pelvis under like cat pose and reach your arms up toward the sky low lunge you might look upward if you like lifting the corners of your eyes take an inhale here and then exhale hands come down stepping back into downward facing dog settling in in down dog for a full breath from downward facing dog walk your feet forward to the top of your mat coming into a hanging forward fold bend your knees a lot here so that you can get some traction in your low back and just hanging down ragdoll take a moment to breathe and as you inhale you might imagine you can feel the breath expanding all the discs in your spine and exhale a sense of letting go relaxing then from there push the earth away through your feet round your spine as you come up to standing pushing your feet down into the earth inhale and stretch your arms up coming up tall from there we'll come into some side bends so taking your right hand to your right hip reach your left arm up and over imagine there's a monkey bar up there so you're holding that monkey bar with your left hand to help you lift out of your low back as you stretch the left side of your body take an inhale reaching through your left fingertips and then use that imaginary monkey bar to help yourself come back up right left hand to left hip right arm goes up tall and then up and over as you feel a stretch on the right side of your body you're imagining that monkey bar in your right hand lifting up and out of your low back take an inhale here and then use that imaginary monkey bar exhaling to come up take a look down at your feet make sure their hips distance apart like on railroad tracks and then step your right foot back so that your right toes turn out to the right it's a pretty short stance here from there take your right hand to your right hip we're going to circle the left arm as you breathe in send your left arm forward and up as you exhale let your hips turn your belly turn your rib cage your chest and the arm all the way around breathing in glide your left arm forward and up getting tall exhale turning your hips your whole spine and the arm inhaling lengthening the back of your spine exhaling rotating around that axis two more filling your body with awareness like you might feel a vase with water so feeling this movement from the inside one more inhale and exhale bend your front knee and see if you can solidly with a sense of balance step forward putting your right foot on the ground step your left foot back for the same sequence on the second side putting your left hand on your left hip we're going to circle the right arm inhale send your right arm forward and up toward the sky gets tall here and as you exhale turn your hips your belly your spine reaching that arm back and around inhale glide your left arm forward and up lengthening your spine exhale hips turn spine turns and it can be like a moving meditation so maybe let your gaze follow the movement inhaling up exhaling back and around have a sense of your body and the space where you are inhale and exhale one more inhale filling your lungs lengthen the back of your spine exhale turn your hips and your spine your shoulders all the way around again bend your front knee and with a sense of balance step forward from there in this next movement it can be helpful to go to the wall and that will help with your balance so feel welcome to take that option we're going to put our left foot into the earth and reach our right tippy toes back behind us this is a lot like being a seesaw so you can have a soft bend in your left knee if you like you can draw your hands to your heart and then from there tipping forward so if you're at your wall you might have your right hand on the wall helping you balance as you tip forward toward a warrior three now push your left foot into the ground to lift yourself back up just like that inhale like a seesaw tipping forward and as you exhale push your left foot into the ground and come back up good the only thing that's moving is this left hip joint so rotating there everything else strong and stable like a plank inhale warrior three exhaling lifting back up good as you get a little bit more flexible and stable you could even inhale and touch your fingertips to high blocks or even to the ground you're mad and then exhale come back up let's do one more you might feel this a lot on your left leg take an inhale strengthening your left hamstrings and glutes also it's a core stability exercise exhale coming back up okay not easy let's do the second side right foot is going to be our base so reach your left hip toes back behind you find a sense of length from those tippy toes through the crown of your head and then just like a seesaw with the palms of your hands together at your heart take an inhale and tip forward to warrior three warrior three is like a capital t so it's the shape of a capital t and then exhale push your right foot into the ground in order to come back up right breathing in tipping forward long spine breathing out push the right foot down to stand up remember you could have one hand on the wall or maybe just your fingertips on the wall as you get a little bit more steady exhaling pushing your right foot down to come up we're going to do two more this is one of my favorite exercises full body exercise as you inhale if you like you might bring your fingertips down toward your mat and then exhale back up you could also use blocks on their highest height inhaling tipping forward and exhale tipping back up nice job if you went to the wall come back to your mat come into mountain pose with your feet hips distance apart as you breathe in reach your arms up toward the sky as you breathe out bend your knees and start to fold forward over your legs letting your spine drape down once again and taking a resting breath here inhale and exhale from this forward fold let's come into child's pose so bending your knees so that you can come down onto your mat bring your hips back toward your heels taking some resting breaths here and feeling the breath nourishing the low back as you rest in child's pose notice you might feel some sensation in the low back and that's really okay so part of the intention of this class is strengthening those muscles so if you're feeling fatigue or sensation just knowing that that can be a sign that you're on the right track take another deep breath and then come down onto your belly so extending your legs back behind you option one you could rest on your belly flat here again tuning into the sensations of your breathing a sense of expansion as the breath comes in and softening as the breath comes out option two you could also tune into the sense of your breath but while you're in sphinx pose so placing your elbows underneath your shoulders or a little in front of the shoulders forearms parallel to one another spreading your fingers lifting your heart away from your low back so lengthening your spine shoulders are down and away from the ears you might close your eyes and then once again just tune into your breath feeling expansion as you breathe in softening as you breathe out two more breaths and one more from there if you're in sphinx pose lower down to your belly and then we'll all place our hands next to our chest to press ourselves up to hands and knees and come around onto your back so we're lying down all the way back on our back again as you come back to the ground you might take a moment to just feel and appreciate the sense of the earth supporting your body take an exhale releasing into the support of the earth and then for figure four stretch bend your knees and set your feet on the ground cross your right ankle across your left thigh as you rotate that right knee away from you for some bodies this will feel like plenty of stretch if that's the case stay here if you need a little bit more sensation you could draw that left thigh in toward the body perhaps interlacing your hands behind the back of your left leg here in figure four stretch breathing feeling a sensation of lengthening in your outer right hip up beginning to soften the small muscles around your eyes and eyebrows right here in figure four stretch perhaps softening your jaw and we'll switch sides left foot to the mat right foot to the mat and then cross your left ankle across your right thigh again if this is plenty of sensation stay here for a little bit of a deeper stretch interlace your hands behind the back of the right thigh gently drawing the right leg in toward your body feeling a sensation of stretch in your outer left hip taking some soothing breaths and taking long breaths to help your body feel safe supported and one more breath from here setting up for final relaxation some of you might like to stay with your knees bent in final relaxation and your feet on the ground you could just let your knees knock in toward one another sometimes we call this pose constructive rest for others it might feel nice to allow your legs to straighten choose one of those options and begin to settle in allowing the shape to be as effortless as possible again softening the small muscles around your eyes jaw letting go in your shoulders palms of the hands and fingers feeling the breath moving softly in your torso like gentle ocean waves rising and falling like flowing in and flowing out nothing you need to do the body breathes itself the body breathes you feeling your hips heavy and supported by the earth relaxing all the way down through your legs to your feet and toes allowing yourself to just rest here so so so if you have longer to stay in your relaxation you're welcome to stay there to take a brief formal close of our class today together bend your knees setting your feet on the ground gently roll to one side of your body and press yourself up into a comfortable seated position coming up to a comfortable seat if you'd like you can draw the palms of your hands together at your heart you might close your eyes for a moment longer and taking one last mindful breath breathing in and breathing out thank you so much for your practice today namaste

Comments

Fabian H
5 people like this.
Love this practice :))
Jenny S
7 people like this.
This practice brought a lovely feeling of warmth and nurturing to my lower back. What a nice way to start the day…🌅❤️🙏🏻
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Hattie, for this lovely practice! I've enjoyed doing it! Namaste! 💗🌹🌼💜
David G-
2 people like this.
Loved this class too! Namaste! 
Kate M
2 people like this.
Another little gem of a class. Clear cueing, intelligent progressions. Loved it.
Lea M
I so appreciate this practice.  I learned some wonderful poses and moves that I will continue practicing.
Nina G
Thanks Hattie - another great one in this series!
Dixon H
Thank you Hattie. This whole sequence is really helpful for my mischievous back. Greatly appreciate it.
Glenford N
I did this class before a Zoom meeting with a Hollywood director and felt cool, calm and collected. Strong back soft front wild heart. Thank you Hattie.
Pam H
Great after work practice! Thank you!
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