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8 Yoga Poses For Your Back



Whether you sit in the same position for long periods of time or are constantly on the move, if you want to release tension or simply improve your posture, your muscles will be forever grateful for these 8 yoga poses that specifically help strengthen, stretch and relax your back!


When doing the poses, breathe from your abdomen and ensure that you go at you own pace and to your own ability, don't worry about what you think yoga poses are 'supposed' to look like or about getting a pose 'perfect', that's not what yoga is about.
Yoga is about letting go and finding and doing what feels good!




Child's Pose/Balasana


Start in a kneeling position, Drop your bum towards your heels and bring the rest of your body down and forward, resting your forehead on the floor/mat. Bring your arms around the rest alongside your body, palms facing up. And relax!
Stay here for 1 minute (10-15 breaths)

Benefits; Releases tension in the back and shoulders. Lengthens and stretches spine. Stretches hips, thighs and ankles gently. Flexes the body's internal organs, keeping them supple.




Cat-Cow Pose/Chakravakasana

Cow Pose: Start on all fours, wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips, keeping the neck long.
On an inhale, drop your belly, keeping the abdomen muscles hugging your spine and gaze up towards the ceiling (or sky). Draw your shoulder blades away from your ears..




Cat Pose: On an exhale press onto the tops of your feet as you round your back towards the ceiling, pulling your stomach towards you spine and bringing your gaze towards your navel.
*Those with neck injuries should keep the head inline with the torso.
Repeat this spinal flex for about 5-10 breaths.

Benefits; Improves posture, balance and coordination. Strengthens and stretches spine and neck. Stretches hips, abdomen and back.Massages and stimulates organs in the belly (e.g. kidneys, adrenal glands) and creates emotional balance, relieving stress and calming the mind.




Seated Twist/Parivrtta Sukhasana

Sit in a cross-legged position. Roll your shoulders back and keep you chest open and sit up tall, aligning your heart over your pelvis and your head over your heart. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand behind your spine, fingers spread and pointing back. Inhale to lengthen (sit up taller), expanding your chest, exhale to twist deeper (if you wish). Set your gaze softly over your right shoulder.
Stay here for about 1 minute (10-15 breaths)




Inhale to come back to centre and gently unravel then repeat on the opposite side!

Benefits; Stretches hips, knees and ankles. Increases flexibility in the spine, shoulders and chest. Stimulates abdominal organs. Helps with detoxification.




Fish Pose/Matsyasana

Lie on your back with you knees bent, feet on the floor. Then inhale, lifting your pelvis slightly and slide your hands down, below your bum, resting your buttocks on the back of your hands. Be sure to tuck your forearms and elbows against the floor and press your scapulas into your back. Inhale, lifting your torso and head away from the floor , then release the head to the floor - your back or crown resting on the floor, depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest - ensure that there's a minimal amount of weight on your head to avoid your neck crunching.
You can keep your legs bent or straighten them, keeping your thighs active and pressing out through your heels.
 Stay here for about 15-30 seconds.

Benefits; Stretches deep hip flexors and intercostal muscles. Relieves tension in neck, throat and shoulders. Strecthes and stimulates the organs of your belly and throat and stimulates the front of your neck and your abdominals. Strenghtens upper back and back of neck, improving posture.




Triangle Pose/Uttihita Trikonasana

Stand with your feet about 1 metre apart. Raise your arms so that they are parallel to the floor, actively reaching out to the sides, shoulder blades wide and palms facing down. Turn your right foot (90 degrees) out to the right, keeping your right heel in line with your left. Firm your thighs and ensure your right knee cap is in line with the centre or your right ankle, then exhale as you extend your torso to the right, bending from the hips and pressing your outer left heel to the floor. Rotate your torso to the left, keeping both sides equally long and let your left hip come forward slightly. Rest your right hand on either your skin, ankle, the floor or outside your right foot - wherever that doesn't distort the sides of your torso - and stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, inline with the tops of your shoulders.
You can either keep your head in a neutral position or turn to the left, gazing at your left thumb.




Stay here for about 30 seconds - 1 minute.
Then exhale back to centre, and repeat on the other side.


Benefits; Strengthens legs, feet,ankles, back, neck and abdominals. Stretches hips, groins, hamstrings, calves and spine. Opens chest and shoulders. Stimulates abdominal organs, aiding digestion and relieves backache.




  Camel Pose/Ustrasana

Kneel on the floor, knees hip-width apart and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your thighs inward slightly, narrowing the hip points and firming the buttocks a little. Press shins and tops of feet against the floor and rest the bases of your palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down, lightly firming the tail forward and press the front of your thighs back. Then inhale as you lift your heart and exhale to slowly lean back. If you feel you can, simultaneously touch your hands to the feet while keeping your thighs perpendicular. Otherwise, keep your hands on your pelvis. If you are compressing your lower back, come onto the toes, lifting your heels. Ensure that your lower front ribs aren't protruding sharply towards the ceiling so that the belly isn't hardened. Lift the front of the pelvis up, releasing the front ribs and keeping the lower spine as long as possible. Press the bases of the palms (fingers pointing towards the toes) into the heels and turn your arms outwardly so that your elbow creases face forward but try not to squeeze the shoulder blades together. Keep your neck in a neutral position, be careful not to strain it or harden your throat.
Stay here for about 30 seconds - 1 minute.

Benefits; Opens hips, stretching deep hip flexors. Stretches and strengthens shoulders and back. Imrpoves posture and opens chest, improving respiration. Relieves lower back pain. Strengthens thighs and arms. Increases flexibility, particularly in the spine. Stretches ankles, thighs, groins, abdomen, chest and throat. Tones organs of the abdomen, pelvis an neck. Helps to heal and balance the chakras.
 



Heart to Earth Pose/Uttana Shishosana

Start on all fours, wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips, keeping the neck long. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under. Exhale, moving your bum back toward your heels, making sure your elbows don't tough the ground. Drop your forehead to the floor (or a blanket), relaxing your neck. Keep your lower back slightly curved. Stretch your spine by pressing your hands down, stretching your arms and pulling your hips back toward your heels. Breathe into your back.
Stay here for about 30 seconds - 1 minute.

 Benefits; Stretches spine and shoulders. Strengthens and stretches arms, hips and upper back. Improves flexibility, calms the mind and invigorates the body.



 
Legs up the wall/Viparita Karani
 
(...or, up the radiator...) If you're shorter, move closer to the wall, if you're taller move farther away - your sitting bones don't need to be right against the wall, so just find a position that feels good. Use a rolled up towel or cushion as support under your lower back or behind your neck if necessary. Keep your legs just firm enough to keep them vertical and open your shoulder blades away from the spine and let your arms out to your sides, palms up.
Stay here for 3 minutes or so (30-45 breaths)

Benefits; Regulates blood flow. Stretches the back of the legs and front torso. Improves digestion. Can help relieve headaches.



Enjoy!















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1 comments:

  1. great post! such a very informative post! thank you for sharing :)
    xx Jamie | With Love, Jamie

    ReplyDelete