Here is a short "lower back" sequence to add some well needed movement during the Christmas days, whether you are hibernating on the couch, on winter holidays, going for long hikes, cold surfs or are entertaining the in-laws ;-)
Happy lower back sequence
1. Sit comfortable on enough height ( so that there is no pain in the knees) in virasana, knees together feet just outside of the outer hips.
2. After a minute or more, place a brick underneath your left knee, leave it there for a minute or more.
3. remove the brick, close your eyes, feel the difference between right & left.
4. Repeat on the other side.
5. place both knees on brick, again there should be no pain in knees, stay for a minute or more.
6. slowly come forward and place your elbows on your upper legs or in front of your knees, stay for a minute or more.
7. remove the brick, close your eyes & become aware of the sensations in your body.
NB. if you have any pain in the front of the ankles, which is not removed by sitting higher, roll up 2 blankets or towels and place one under each front of the ankle
Move those hips
1. move hips up & down
2. make circular movements (not shown)
3. let those hips free ride (not shown)
4. alternate bringing one leg to your chest & then the other
Supta Padungastasana 1
1. have both knees bent, feet flat on the floor
2. place a belt around the right foot, extend that leg up
3. slowly slide the left leg along the floor, there is a tendency for the foot & leg to outer rotate, instead keep the center/inner heel pressing towards the floor
4. move the right outer hip, away from the right side waist, as it usually wants to move up towards the waist
NB. keep the leg at a 90 degree angle or if to tight for the hamstring move it more towards the floor, but try not to move it closer to your body, for all the flexies out there
Down dog it
1. place your hands on top of a chair, walk your feet back.
2. feet at width of hips or wider and ankles under hips.
3. extend your spine in Ardha Uttanasana (half standing forward bend)
4. stay for a minute or more
5. turn the chair around, place your hands on top of the seat
6. walk your feet back
7. feet at width of hips or wider and this time move your feet further back then your hips into Adho Mukha Svanasana (down ward facing dog)
8. stay for a minute or more
Sneaky strength Yoga
1. place your heels on a chair or your feet against the wall
2. lift your hips up & down, 10 times or more
3. bring your right knee towards your chest and move up & down again, 10 times or more
4. change sides
5. repeat step 3, but now pause at the top and move the knee out & in (of the heel that is on the chair), then go down and repeat 10 times or more
6. change sides
7. take a breath :-)
Open those hips
1. place your left foot on top of the chair
2. bring your upper body on the inside of the left leg, pause for a moment
3. release your upper body towards the floor
4. make sure to keep your left inner knee touching your left arm, and keep your left outer hip away from the left side waist, in line with your right hip
5. stay there for a minute or so
6. move into Uttanasana (standing forward bend)
7. feel the difference between the right and left leg
8. change sides
Baby back bending take 1
1. Place a brick between your legs & a belt around your ankles. Tighten the belt so that when you press you ankles into the belt, the brick does not fall down
2. make a few silly hops :-)
3. lie down on your belly
Now comes the most important part, as doing backbends correctly can be one of the best things you can do for your lower back (issues) on the other hand doing them incorrectly can be one of the worse things you can do.
4. firmly press your ankles into the belt, then squeeze the brick with your inner thighs and tuck your pelvis under (moving your buttocks away from your lower back)
5. keep the actions of point 4 then place your hands on top of the chair seat and lift your trunk up
6. you can stay in point 5 or add some movement up & down, but always keep point 4 in action
Baby back bending take 2
1. keeping all the actions from point 4 as explained in take 1
2. place your hands beside your chest, elbows in towards your trunk
3. lift your trunk of the floor, but keep your pubic on the floor
4. here again you can add some movement up & down
NB never go to the point that you feel pain in your lower back, instead back off and go to the point just before. Strengthening that area. If you do it like this you will find that in time the point starts moving and then going away all together
Relax in supported svasana
1. place a belt around your knees at the width of your hips
2. place your lower legs on top of a chair, with one or more blankets depending on your height. Long legged people will need more blankets
3. lie down with your back on the floor
4. lengthen the back of your neck
5. rotate your upper arms out, so that your palms are facing up
6. close your eyes, integrate & relax!