Yoga for Back Pain Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 11

Gentle Yoga for Acute Pain

20 min - Practice


This gentle class is designed for days when you need to soothe your body and your mind. We move slowly through gentle holds reciting the Metta meditation to find relief in the back and hips, and cultivate a sense of gratitude and lovingkindness toward self.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket


Read Full Transcript

Welcome. My name is Hattie Bluestone and this gentle yoga class is for days when your back is really flared up. It has more stillness than movement and it's designed to soothe not only your body but also your mind. To begin, fold a blanket at the top of your mat and then come to lying down on your belly. As you come down onto your belly, gently fold your arms on top of that blanket and turn your neck in one direction, resting your head gently on top of your arms. If there are any little adjustments you could do to make your body even 5% more comfortable, go ahead and do that now. Feel welcome to allow your eyes to close and start by just feeling the support of the earth underneath your body. Beginning to soften your muscles as if you're getting into a warm bath, releasing the weight of your body into the earth. And bring your awareness to your breathing. So noticing the way the breath expands your body as it flows in and softens your body as it flows out. In this way the breath has a kind of soothing rhythm, just like the movement of the sea. So gentle ocean waves flowing in and flowing out. Taking a few moments here just to settle in and rest with your breathing. While we're in this pose we'll begin a meditation practice. This is called metta meditation or loving kindness. These are just words of kindness, kind wishes, wishes of friendliness and care. And in this case those wishes are directed to ourselves. So we're simply including ourselves in the circle of compassion. I'll say these phrases out loud and you can say them gently in your own mind. Just allowing this practice to be easy. Letting the words float through your mind. And then the first phrase is, may I be safe. May I be safe. May I be safe. Perhaps feeling into the sincerity of that wish, the kindness of that wish. May I be safe. Another version of that phrase is may I be safe and protected from harm. May I be safe and protected. So these are just words of kindness. You don't need to feel any particular way in this practice. We're just letting the words of kindness flow through our mind and maybe land somewhere inside. May I be safe. For our next position start to lift yourself into a gentle sphinx pose. So you'll interlace your hands and have your elbows about shoulders distance apart. We're just easing our way into a gentle back bend. If for any reason this does not feel good in your body, come on back down and just turn your head in the second direction. For some people's backs this will feel really soothing. So just settling in here, perhaps allowing your eyes to close once again. Tuning into the movement of your breath. Perhaps imagining the discs in your back gently expanding as the breath flows in and softening as the breath flows out. And now another meza phrase. This time may I be peaceful. May I be peaceful. Just as much as possible. May I be peaceful. This is a simple wish, something we wish for the ones we love and we're just including ourselves in that circle of kindness and well-wishing. May I be peaceful. May I be peaceful. May I be peaceful. May I be peaceful. From this position begin to turn over, take your time, be gentle with yourself. We're just going to come down onto our backs. Keeping that blanket there as a pillow for your head. So coming onto your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Perhaps allowing your eyes to close here, softening your shoulders. And once again feeling that gentle rhythm of your breathing, kind of soothing rocking rhythm. The breath gently rising and falling. Some of you might like to stay here. For others it would feel really good to draw your knees to your belly. If that's the case for you, draw one knee in and then the other. And we'll just breathe here. Whichever position you're in we'll come to our third metta wish. And this one is may I be healthy. May I be healthy. And you might notice the mind wander as it often does. That's just the nature of the mind. And so in a gentle and friendly way coming back. Feeling your muscles soften like getting into a warm bath. May I be healthy. Another variation, may I be healthy and strong. And so just offering these wishes just like we would wish for a dear friend to be healthy. And offering that same wish for ourself. In a kind and caring way, may I be healthy. May I be healthy. From there if your left foot is not on the ground, set it on the ground. And then with your right leg just begin to straighten and bend the knee a few times. This means stretching the right leg up toward the sky, gently lengthening the hamstring muscle any amount and then rebending the knee. And then next time the right leg is elevated in that gentle hamstring stretch, circle your ankle, moving your ankle one direction and the other. To switch sides, set your right foot on the ground and then extend your left leg up toward the sky. Just bending and straightening. Just giving a little bit of care to the hamstrings, lengthening. Next time the leg is elongated, circling your ankle one direction and the other. Re-bend your left knee and set the foot on the ground. Now take your feet mass distance apart. So that means that the pinky toes of your feet are touching the floor on either side. That's how far apart the feet are. And then like windshield wipers, slowly let your knees rock down toward the left and toward the right. Moving slowly from side to side, rolling across your low back. Letting your knees knock one way and then the other. Breathing in, rolling across your back. Breathing out, let your knees point to one side. Breathing in, rolling across your back. Breathing out, let's point the other way. Do one more on each side. Breathing in and out. Breathing in and out. From there, gently coming back to a neutral position for figure four stretch across your right ankle, across your left thigh and gently rotate the right knee away from you. Sometimes this is plenty of stretch. If you would like more sensation of stretch, you can draw the left thigh in toward you, perhaps interlacing your hand behind the back of the left leg. As you settle into this stretch for your outer hip, perhaps softening your shoulders. Letting go of any muscles that don't need to be working right now. Then we'll settle into our last meta phrase. May I live with ease. May I live with ease. May I live with ease. It's just a simple wish of friendliness toward yourself. Maybe as you offer yourself this wish, remembering or imagining what it feels like to have a sense of ease. May I live with ease. To switch sides, set your left foot on the ground if it was elevated and then your right foot. Cross your left ankle across your right thigh. Option to stay here or to draw the right thigh in toward you to deepen the stretch. Softening your shoulders, the muscles of your face and jaw. Again, remembering or imagining what it feels like to live with ease. A sense of ease in the body and in the mind. May I live with ease. May I live with ease. Perhaps feeling the warmth or the friendliness of a wish like that. We're going to set up for final relaxation, placing your right foot on the ground and then your left. Take your feet apart from one another and let your knees knock in toward one another, resting on one another. You could take one or both hands to your belly or your chest or your ribcage, really anywhere that would feel a bit soothing or comforting for you. Softening your toes and your fingers, allowing your eyes to gently close and allowing these phrases to float through your mind in a way that feels friendly and easeful. May I be safe. May I be peaceful. May I be healthy. May I live with ease. Remember, you don't need to feel any particular way. Allowing your experience to be as it is. May I be safe.

May I be peaceful. May I be healthy. May I live with ease. Once again, perhaps feeling the kindness, the warmth, the good intention behind those wishes. As you allow yourself now to just rest and perhaps returning once again to that soothing rhythm of your breath. As you allow yourself now to rest and perhaps return to that soothing rhythm of your breath. As you allow yourself now to rest and perhaps return to that soothing rhythm of your breath. We'll close this practice just here on our backs. I'm taking a moment to acknowledge and maybe even send some gratitude toward the part of you that decided to do this yoga practice today. That part of you that really cares about your health and your happiness that wants you to be well and free from suffering. So acknowledging that part of yourself. And then we'll take one more mindful breath together, breathing in and breathing out. Thank you so much for your practice. Namaste.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
This sweet little practice was a surprise! Seemingly passive, in actuality this practice was quite restorative to my creaky old gardener’s back and very nourishing for mind and soul as well. I’m so thankful for your offering on this hot summer afternoon 🪴🌞🌻 Thank you Hattie 🙏🏻❤️
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Hattie, for this beautiful and calming practice! Namaste! 💖🌼🌞
Kate M
Lovely!  : )
Marisol C
I did this class with my two boys to calm down before bedtime - it was a wonderful practice to do together. Thank you.
Lenise Jay
Thank you, I needed that for my body! 🧘🏾‍♀️☺️

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