Two Great Yoga Poses For Your Low Back
The reality is any yoga pose will likely help your low back. Of course, refinements to the specific alignment of your low back will increase the efficacy and safety of any yoga pose. You can learn about what is safe and what is risky for your lumbar spine and best practices for that in my book Low Back: Yoga For Mobility & Freedom.
But if you could only do two things they would be these:
- Stretch the Backs Of Your Legs
- Open the Front of Your Hips
Stretching the backs of your legs…
…relieves the pull on your pelvis that flattens your low back and limits mobility in your hips and lumbar region. One of the safest poses to access this hamstring stretch while keep your back supported is Supda Padangusthasana, or Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose.
- Lie on your back with a yoga belt nearby
- First, stretch both legs really strong and straight and make sure your feet are parallel, not turned out.
- Bend your right knee towards your chest, then loop your belt over the ball of your right foot.
- Keep your left leg active and pressed down towards the floor.
- Stretch your right leg straight up towards the sky and keep your feet parallel still.
- Hold the belt with straight arms and relaxed shoulders.
- Stay in the stretch for 30 seconds to a minute, then do the other side.
Opening the front of your hips…
…is the counter stretch to all the time you spend sitting. The front of the hips get short as a result of being sedentary, among other things, and this contributes to misalignment and pain in the low back. One of my favorite ways to lengthen my hip flexors is in Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Supported Bridge Pose.
- Lie down on the floor with a yoga block within arm’s reach.
- Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground.
- Lift your hips and slip the yoga block underneath the tailbone end of your sacrum. (Adjust it to low, medium or high depending on your flexibility)
- Open your chest and arch your back as you sit your pelvis on the block.
- Then relax your arms and rest on the block for a couple of minutes.
When you get up from either of these postures, first lie flat on the ground, then roll to your side to sit up. Never kick out with your legs as it’s jarring on your back to do so.