Postnatal Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Low Back Relief

30 min - Practice


This practice is designed to offer much needed relief and support for a tired, achy low back. Alana leads us through leg stretches, lunges, and heart openers that strengthen, stabilize, and find space in the hips, legs, and abdominals. You will sense greater ease in the low back and breathing room in the whole body.  
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)

About This Video

Jul 06, 2023
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back. So glad you're here. This practice is designed to strengthen and stretch the low back. As moms, we spend so much time caring for and carrying our babe that the low back can feel tired and achy and sore. So hopefully this practice offers some relief. It'll be helpful to gather up some props for this practice.

You might grab two blocks, a blanket, and a strap. And let's meet on our back. You need to start by drawing your knees into your chest. It might feel good to rock a little bit from side to side. You might even bring a blanket under your head for support if that feels good, or a pillow.

And let's start by drawing the right knee into the chest, ground the sole of the left foot. And you might stay right here for a few breaths, or you might stretch your left leg out on the floor. Feel how you can soften your shoulders down your back, relax your face, allow for an inhale. Let the knee float away a little bit. And then exhale, soften the knee in towards the chest.

Let's do that two more times. Inhale, let the knee float away, creating a little space through the hip. Exhale, soften the knee towards the chest. One more. Inhale, knee moves away. Exhale, draw the knee in.

Nice. And then stretching the leg out. Let's find out on the other side. Bend both knees and just draw that left knee into your chest. Again, softening the shoulders, the jaw. You might stay right here.

If it feels good, you might stretch your right leg out on the floor. As you inhale, send the right knee away, creating space. Exhale, soften the knee in. Two more. Inhale, let the knee move away. Exhale, draw the knee in.

Last one. Let it move away. Exhale, draw the knee in. And then as you're ready, stretch both legs out. And let's just find a full body stretch for a moment. Lengthening through the arms, through the heels.

What would it feel like to draw the toes towards the face as you stretch through both heels and then lengthen a little bit through the right heel and the right arm? Lengthen a bit through the left heel, left arm. A few more times on each side, lengthening through inner right heel, right arm. Inner left heel, left arm. Find a full body stretch through both heels and hands.

Nice. And then slow bend the knees. Let's hug them back into the chest. And then bring your knees so they're about 90 degree angles. We'll do a little bit of core work or abdominal awareness work here. As you're ready, bring your hands behind the back of your legs.

And you might stay right here. Feel the action of drawing your back to the floor and gently drawing the front ribs down so you feel that integrity in your abdominal muscles and support. This might be enough. Or you might play with scissoring your legs, extending through the right leg, drawing it back in, extending through your left leg, and drawing it back in. And try, if you want, do that a few times.

Left leg, right leg, supporting your legs with your hands. Relaxing the effort, again, through the face and the shoulders and keeping the lower back on the floor. Yeah. Let's do a few more. I like bicycling the legs. Nice. And then release.

We'll bring the arms up to the sky, palms facing each other, legs still at 90 degrees, so the knees are stacking over the hips. And we'll extend the right arm overhead and touch the left toes down to the floor. And then bring everything back to center. Extend for your left arm, right toes, back to center. Right arm, left toes, back to center.

Left arm, right toes, back to center. A few more at your own pace with the breath. And feel the low back stay settled on the floor. Feel the front ribs drawing in. It's a nice workout for the brain here, this cross-body movement.

And then as you're ready, hug the knees into the chest, rock from side to side. And before we transition, ground the feet nice and wide, stretch the arms overhead, let's windshield wiper the legs. Oh, that feels nice through the hip flexors, through the side body, oh, side to side. And notice the quality of the breath as you stretch and lengthen and create a bit more space within. Nice.

Draw the knees into the chest and let's roll to our side and find a nice side body stretch here. So extend for your bottom arm, let the head rest on the arm or you can bring a blanket there. Stretch the top arm overhead and then bring the bottom hand to clasp the top wrist. It might feel nice to bend your top knee, open the hip and ground the sole of that foot behind you as the knee points up. Let's feel you can gently wiggle and lengthen a bit.

It might feel interesting to kind of roll the upper body forward so you feel that nice stretch across the back left ribs, the intercostals. Keep the neck and head relaxed here. Nice full breath into the left lung. Nice. And then slowly release.

Lift your head, support it with your bottom hand and we'll play with some leg lifts. As you're ready, lift the top leg, the left leg and then begin to swing forward and back, flexing the foot and pointing as you move back. And with that front hand, stabilize as best you can your upper body. My upper body is moving around a lot at the moment. See if you can isolate the movement in the hip and the leg.

This is good stabilizing work for the core muscles as well as the hip flexors, psoas muscle. A few more. Playing with your balance. And I find the more I do these leg stretches, the stronger my legs feel and the hips feel more stable. And then we'll play with the heel-toe.

So heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, working the internal-external hip rotation, hip flexors. You might feel a burning there. I do. A few more. Nice.

And then we're going to internally rotate, turn the toes down and we're going to move the leg back and up. Back and up. Back and up a few times. And see if you can stabilize in the upper body. Breathing.

Back and up. Last one. We're going to go forward, open and stretch. And lower. Forward, open, stretch and lower.

Finding a pace and a rhythm that feels good for you. So if there's any popping or pinching in the hip joint, you might move a little bit slower here or explore a different range of movement. Nice. Let's do one more. Forward, open, up and release.

It might feel nice to drop the leg in front of you and just jiggle your top hip a little bit. Jiggle, jiggle. And then a little massage with the fist. Nice. And as you're ready, we'll switch sides.

So bringing yourself up or rolling over to the other side. Extend the legs, extend the bottom arm and then support the head with the hands. Before we move into leg swings, let's find a stretch here. So extend your top arm up. You might clasp the bottom hand around the top wrist.

Bend your top knee, open your hip and it might feel nice to offer just a little bit of length in the side body here. Easy in the neck and the head. And you might roll and explore drawing the torso forward a little bit. Feeling that nice stretch across the back ribs and the intercostals. Taking a nice breath wide into the right lung if that feels good.

And then as you're ready, release the top arm. Support your head with your hand. Lift the top right leg and then leg swings. We'll swing the right leg forward and back. Flexing as you move forward, pointing as you move back.

Watch out for your baby and your props. And then stabilizing yourself with that arm. And feeling the core muscles, your abdominals and hips. Yeah, drawing in and stacking. A few more.

Breathing. Nice. And then we'll go heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe. Ooh, might feel that burning. Deep in the hip.

Heel-toe, a few more. We'll internally rotate and move back and up a few times. Back and up, back and up, back and up. A few more. Ooh.

Last one. And then we'll go forward, open and up. Nice and slow. Forward, open, up and lower. Really listening to your hip, your hip joint.

Moving slower if it feels right. Changing the position of the leg, the hip. A few more. Forward, open, up and lower. Forward, open, up.

Forward, open, up. Let's do one more. Forward, open, up and release. Nice work. Bend the top knee.

Let it rest. And then just jiggle, softening the jaw. Jiggle the hip. Little kitty paw fists around the hip and the glute. Nice.

As you're ready, we'll transition up, supporting yourself as you come up. And then let's ground the soles of the feet. Bring the hands behind us. Palms can be facing in or out, whatever feels best for you. Feet nice and wide.

Maybe as wide as your mat. Wider than the hips. And we'll explore some cat-cows. So see what it feels like to round and stretch the back. Curl the tailbone under.

Roll the pelvis forward. Lift the heart. Feel the space up through the front body and the shoulders. And then round the back. Roll the pelvis forward.

Feel the length and space. A few more times here. Feeling your ability to lift and lengthen. And round. Nice.

Rounding and lifting. Next time you come into the lifted position, pause here. Lifting the heart. Find a place where the neck feels good. And then we'll windshield wiper the legs.

You might turn the palms in the opposite direction. I'm turning them out. Little windshield wiper side to side. Relaxing the effort through the hips. And then we'll transition into tabletop.

So you might have two blocks nearby and maybe a blanket under your knees. Spread your fingers nice and wide. Let's take a few rounds of cat-cow because it feels so good. Rounding the back. Tucking the toes under.

Inhale, arching and lengthening. Exhale, curl around. Stretch the back. Hips might draw towards the heels. Inhale, arch, lengthen.

Feel the space. A couple more. You might lean from side to side, forward and back. Inhale to lengthen. Exhale to stretch and round.

Eventually come into what feels like a neutral position where you're spreading the fingers nice and wide. Drawing the front ribs up and in. And let's extend back through our left leg. And just roll forward and back a little bit, feeling that nice stretch in the back body, back of the leg. And then with the ribs drawing up and in, extend through your right arm.

You might stay right here. You might play with lifting that left leg and letting it release. Extending through the right leg and roll forward and back, waking up the back of the leg. And then from here, lifting the left arm and maybe play with lifting the right leg. Continue to draw the front ribs up and in, lifting and lowering.

We'll play with one more. Extending through the left leg, right arm. You might lift that left leg, breathing, flexing the back foot. Lowering down, extend through the right leg, left arm. Stay here or lift.

Flex the foot. Breathing and release. Nice. Let's take a child's pose. Bring the legs nice and wide, the knees nice and wide. Maybe a little wobble from side to side.

Nice. And then as you're ready, we'll come back into tabletop. Let's bring two blocks with us. And then extend the right leg, lift it and then draw that right foot nice and wide for a lunge. So the blocks are on the inside, the hands are on the inside.

And then let's ease in. So inhale, draw the hips back, extend through the front leg. Exhale, sink into your lunge. Inhale, draw the hips back. Extend through the front leg, exhale, sink into your lunge.

A few more times. You might keep the back foot on the floor or tuck the back toes under. Easing into the hamstrings, the back thigh. Nice. Next time you come into your lunge, you might pause here.

You might stay low with the hands on the blocks or you can bring the forearms onto the blocks. You might play with coming up onto that front thigh as you lift up. And feel how you can draw the pelvic floor muscles up and in gently. You might lift the arms up towards the sky. Feel how you can lift and lengthen and create space.

Inhale, exhale. Lower the hands, draw the hips back, extend through the front leg. One more time, we're going to bend that front right knee. And you might even come onto the outer edge of that right foot as you let the hip open. So a little kind of lizard play here, twisting towards the right might feel good.

Softening the jaw. You might even make some circles in one direction. Again, padding supporting the back knee might feel nice. Circling in the other direction. There's so many changes that happen in the postpartum body.

Some areas feel tighter. Some areas feel looser and weaker. Really listening and honoring and meeting ourselves exactly where we are in the moment is so important to our healing process. Nice. As you're ready, draw the hips back. Let's come back into tabletop position.

We'll find the other side. Bring the blocks back to the right a little bit. Extend through your left leg. Draw that left foot forward, easing into your lunge. And as you're ready, inhale, draw the hips back, extend through the left leg. Exhale, bend the knee and sink into the lunge.

Inhale, draw the hips back, feeling the hamstrings. Exhale. A few more times, you might keep the eyes open. You might soften the gaze inward, taking this time for yourself. Let's do one more, because we can.

Sinking in, you might stay low. You might climb up onto that front leg, finding your crescent lunge. Maybe the arms reach up towards the sky and feel how you can lift and lengthen. Finding ease in the neck, breathing. And you might tap into that support, not through the pelvic floor.

And then as you're ready, lower, draw the hips back, extend through that front left leg. Bend the knee, open the hip, cruise onto the outer edge of the left foot. And you might let that hip drop open, the knee drop open. Little lizard play. The twisting towards the left a little bit.

Allow yourself to explore and investigate. And you might find a little bit of circular movement here through the hip joint, moving in both directions, breathing into where you feel the sensation. And then as you're ready, draw that left leg back. We will bring the blocks off to the side. Spread the fingers nice and wide.

Let's take a downward dog here. Bring your feet nice and wide. Bend your knees and let your sitting bones lift towards the sky. Feel the ease in the back of the neck. Feel that slight essence of lift up through the pelvic floor.

Neck is long. One more inhale here. Exhale, let the knees lower. And let's transition onto our belly for sphinx pose, stretching the arms forward. Bringing the elbows just in front of the shoulders.

And then find the cat cow here. So peel the ribs up and in round the back. And then release the belly arch and lengthen. Feel that nice traction through the spine as you draw the arms towards you, broaden through the collar bones. And then curl around, stretch a little bit.

And then lift, lengthen, find that beautiful traction. Let's go one more time, rounding. And then releasing, feeling that traction. One more inhale. Exhale, softening.

Nice. From sphinx, as you're ready, let's just roll onto our back nice and easy. And set up for bridge pose. Now bring your heels in line with your sitting bones, feet about hip's width apart. Spread the toes, let the arms rest alongside the body.

As you're ready, allow for an inhale. Exhale, curl the tailbone under, press through the feet, lift up into your bridge and lengthen. Pressing through the heels a little bit. Drawing the inner thighs in a little bit and lengthening. If it feels good, you might roll and draw the shoulders under the back.

Maybe reaching the fingers, maybe there's an interlace there as you open across the chest. Feeling the buoyancy in the heart, the lungs, long through the neck. One more inhale here, strengthening. And then exhale, let's reach the arms overhead. And just roll the spine back down, upper back, middle back, low back, releasing.

Let's allow for an inhale. Nice full exhale. Now let's look for our strap. And it might feel good to bring a blanket under your head for this or a pillow as you bring it underneath. And let's draw the right knee into the chest and bring the strap around the bottom of the left foot.

Extending the left leg up, just allow it to bend and extend a few times. Again, easing into your hamstrings. Eventually you might extend the right leg, extend the left leg. Strong and active through that left leg. If it feels good, bring the strap into your right hand.

And then just nice and easy from the right hip, let it open side to side. Bringing the leg to the right and the left. So many sensations here. You might play with opening the right leg for a few breaths. Feel the belly sweeping towards the left.

Left arm might reach out from the heart. Feel how you can reach and lengthen through the inner right heel. Breathing. Of course you're welcome to stay longer. You might inhale, draw the leg back and then bring it across the body.

Bring the strap into your left hand, reach the right arm out. Stretching the outer hip IT band, hamstrings. And maybe spiraling towards the shape of a twist if that feels good. Inhale to lengthen. Exhale, softening the belly.

Easy up through the neck and the face. Breathing into where you feel the sensation. Take your time with this. As you're ready, inhale, draw the leg back up. Keep the right leg high.

Remove the strap. Bend your left knee. Turn that right thigh and foot out and then bring the ankle on top of the thigh. You might stay right here rocking from side to side. You might lift your left knee, draw it in.

Weave your right hand through the window and find the back of the left leg for a figure four stretch. Big beautiful stretch in that right hip area. Breathing. Exhale, softening. Easy through the shoulders, neck, face.

Mmm. Allow for another inhale. As you're ready, exhale, release the hands, ground the sole of the left foot. And then stretch the right leg out. Stretch the left leg out for a moment, shake it out.

We'll find the second side. Bending the knees, wrap the strap around the bottom of your left foot. Bending and extending a few times. Nice. You might stay here with the leg extended or stretch the right leg out, feeling the right leg active.

Bending the strap into your left hand and then nice and easy let the leg move across the body and open. So you're moving from the left hip joint. You might stay with this. You might let it open out to the left for a few breaths, stretching through the inner left heel. Feel the action of the belly sweeping towards the right, heavy through the right hip.

Maybe reaching that right arm out if it feels good. Allow the lungs to sing, breathe, expand. You might play with reaching and lengthening through the inner left heel a little bit more. Noticing how those subtle details of tuning can offer different sensations. As you're ready to inhale the left leg up, pass the strap into your right hand, bring the leg across just enough to feel a stretch.

Ooh, big stretch down the outer leg. You might stay here. You might spiral towards the shape of a twist if that feels good for your body. Inhale to lengthen. Exhale to soften.

Feeling that spiral up through the spine. Easy in the neck, face, jaw. Take your time with this. Eventually inhale the left leg back up. Remove the strap, bend your right knee, ground the foot, turn the left foot out and bring the left ankle on top of the right.

Again, you might rock from side to side. You might draw the right leg in, weave the left hand through the window and find the back of the right leg. Allow for an inhale. Exhale to soften. Breathing into where you feel it.

Allow for another inhale. As you're ready, exhale, release the hands, ground the right foot and stretch the left leg out. Both legs are stretching out. You might let the legs flop in and out a few times. Bend the knees, hug them into the chest and rock.

One last time. Feel nice to make circles with the knees, so you're circling and massaging the lower back and the sacrum. Doing that in the other direction. Coming back to center, bringing the soles of the feet together, knees wide into a supine butterfly position. Hands might rest on the belly.

You might let the arms open wide into a cactus shape. Exhale to soften. You might stay here and rest. You might stretch the legs out, taking a few moments for a final relaxation. Feeling the weight of the bones drop.

Missing any sensations or pulsations through the body. Connecting with that flow. You might stay here a bit longer, lingering. You might slowly begin to transition. Rolling to your side, you might pause.

As you feel ready, you might join me for a few moments in a seat. It might feel nice to sit up on something. Resting in your center. Joining the hands together at the heart. Let's inhale together. Nice full exhale.

Thank you for being here and have a beautiful day.


Sandra Židan
Thank you very much, Alana, for this beautiful and calming practice! I really needed it today because I woke up with stiff low back and iz helped me to feel better! Namaste! ❤️💖🌹
Alana Mitnick
Sandra Židan, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this low back practice and found some relief! Thank you for sharing, always. So delighted that you are here! Take good care. Love, Alana 
1 person likes this.
You are one of my favorite teachers. I always enjoy your classes. This practice really gave me much relief from a lower back injury that I am recovering from. Many thanks. :)
Alana Mitnick
LISA B l, So delighted that you are here! It’s warms my heart to hear from you. I’m so glad that this practice offered some much needed relief for your lower back. Take good care of yourself and stay close. Love, Alana 
Pam H
1 person likes this.
My low back feels so much better after this practice! Thank you!
Alana Mitnick
Pam H So wonderful to hear that your low back feels better! I’m so happy that you are here!! Stay close. Love, Alana
Katie H
1 person likes this.
Ahhhhh this so helped! I haven’t mastered our baby carrier yet and really have had trouble with my back since a few long non ergonomic walks! This class was super helpful!! Also reminding me how important some lower body focus is to release those low back muscles! Thank you!
Alana Mitnick
Katie H , I am SO happy that you are here and found this practice helpful! All of the lifting, carrying, and awkward positions that come with being a Mom - make self care so important. Stay close on your postpartum journey! Love, Alana 

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial