Its that time of year again, where we go out into the yard and just plain over do it, and the next 3 days pay for it. So here is some basic Yoga postures that can help you release that back pain. I recommend doing these 5 postures each morning, repeating the entire series 3 times. It should only take 5-10 minutes each day depending on if you stop and hold for greater effect. As a bonus you can do this series before bed for a goodnights sleep! Doing this series daily over 3 month will increase your overall spine health and flexibility.
Posture 1: Cat-Cow Posture: (Sanskrit: Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
Starting in an all-fours position (Table Posture), hands, under shoulders, knees under hips. on an inhale, move into cow by dropping your belly towards the mat, lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. Pressing palms into the mat, pulling palms towards the knees, engage the shoulders. On the Exhale, move into cat arching your back toward the ceiling, pulling belly towards spine, pressing palms into the mat, and at the same time hands pushing away from the knees. Think of that halloween cat, and stretch!. Slowly Moving back and forth from cat to cow helps move your spine onto a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension.
Repeat 10 times, flowing smoothly from cat into cow, and cow back into cat with each inhale and exhale, end in Table Posture
Starting in Table Posture , Spread your knees a little wide then hips width, on an exhale, press your hips back to your heel (sit on your heels), on the next inhale, Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head. On the exhale bow forward, closing your eyes, chest/heart coming towards thighs, extend your arms and hands out in front of you, forehead coming to rest on the mat. Keep your arms long and extended, palm resting on the mat. with each breath, inhale bring thoughts inside, on exhale consciously release any tension in your muscles and sink into the mat deeper. Take a few breaths in the the upper back expanding the should-blades. Hold for 1 minute (or more), and release on an inhale, coming back up into Table posture.
Posture 3: Downward Facing Dog (Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Staring in Table posture, Spread your finger wide, press firmly into the mat wilt palm and knuckles, on an exhale, tuck your toes, lift your knees off the mat, press your pelvis towards the ceiling, coming into an A shape. Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine. Now press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands. Hold for 6 breaths. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Do not worry about it — avoid walking your feet closer to your hands for this purpose. Maintain the length of your spine and the lift of your pelvis.
On an Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the knee over the heel. Then lower your left knee to the floor and, keeping the right knee fixed in place, slide the left back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your left foot to the floor. Hold for a minute (or longer). On an exhale turn your back toes under, lift your left knee off the floor and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat with the left foot forward, right knee down, and hold for the same length of time. Step back into Downward Facing Dog.
Posture 5: Standing Forward Fold ( Sanskrit: Uttanasana)
From Downward Facing dog, on an inhale step the right leg forward between your hands, then push off the left foot, and bring the left foot forward raising you chest as needed. Then on the exhale fold over, bending the knees as needed, bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with the opposite hand. Let the crown of your head hang down. This posture can be modified as shown. (With a straight legs you stretch the hamstrings and back of legs, with a little bend in the knees that stretch is transitioned into the lower back.) Hold for one minute (or more). When you are ready to release, bring your hands to your hips, engage your core (abs), and slowly rise to a standing position. Hold for one breath, then, exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso, bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with the opposite hand. Let the crown of your head hang down. Press your heels into the floor as you lift your sit bones toward the ceiling. When you are ready to release, bring your hands to your hips, engage your core (abs), and slowly rise to a standing position. Repeat 5-7