Most people sit in a chair all day and the spine is rounded forward or in spinal flexion. Then after work, most people, come home and sit on the couch where the spine is in the same rounded position. This sustained position draws the vertebrates in the lumbar spine apart, which for sustained periods, is unnatural and uncomfortable. The human body is not designed to sustain this position.
Great News! Yoga can help heal lower back pain!
Drawing the vertebrates of the spine together in extension is the first solution and stretching the hamstrings is the second. Here are three poses that best relive low back pain.
1. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Come to the knees and draw the hands to the low back. Feel the inner thighs spiraling up and in. Slightly tuck the pelvis forward and hug up through the pelvic floor. Squeeze in the low belly and gently lift the chest. Feel the sensation of drawing the elbows together. Imagine there is a string attached to the sternum drawing the chest up. The throat and the head back. Breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale the chest open and exhale back to neutral positon. The slower the breaths the better. Move very slowly in and out of the posture with awareness to ensure safety. A variation of this posture can be done standing.
Stack the shoulders directly above the wrists. Spread the fingertips and press them into the ground. Slightly retract the chin for a double chin. Press up through the crown of the head. Slightly roll the shoulder blades back and down away from the ears. Draw the sternum forward. Press the tops of the feet into the ground. Keep the knee caps lifted. Gently release the knees to the ground if there is excessive pressure on the lower back. To release the posture relax the knees down and come to all fours. Inhale lower the pelvis to up-dog and exhale back off. Move very slowly in and out of the posture with awareness to ensure safety. Breathe slowly and deeply.
3. Supine Hamstring Stretch with a Strap
Lay on the back with one leg extended. Draw the strap around the middle of the foot. Gently flex the toes toward the face on both legs. Keep the arms straight and relax the head down. Draw the shoulders away from the ears and hold the strap taught. Breathe deeply into the belly of the muscle. Each exhale draw a little deeper into the posture. Switch legs after 10-15 breaths.
Each of these postures can be done once daily to start and even several times a day. Move slowly with the breath and with your intuition to cultivate a healthy back.
See if you can limit your time in a seated position throughout the day. If you have to be seated for long periods, make sure to take breaks every hour or so to get up and stretch. Also, make sure that you have good lumbar support in your chair.
Wishing you a healthy spine!