The key to having a strong and healthy lower body is to maintain balance and good posture. Lower back pain can be debilitating and hard to ignore, as it can be caused by a wide variety of factors, from an injury or condition to hypermobility syndromes and movement habits. Thankfully, yoga can be an effective way to help improve and support lower body wellbeing.
Yoga is designed to bring balance to the body, mind and emotions. It can help strengthen the muscles in the lower body and improve posture, as well as encourage increased flexibility and stability. Regular practice results in improved flexibility, abdominal strength, and increased awareness of the body and mind. In order to get the most benefit out of yoga, you need to find the right type and level of practice, as well as be mindful of your body’s signals while doing the poses.
Child’s Pose is a great yoga posture for those with lower back pain, as it helps to alleviate tightness or tension in the lower back, as well as releasing tensions from the neck and shoulders. This pose gently stretches the lower back, hips and thighs, making it a good all-over posture for gentle relaxation. To do the pose, start on all fours, with hands directly below the shoulders and legs bent at the knee. Reach your arms forward with your forehead resting on the floor. Draw your chest closer towards your thighs, and deepen the stretch by moving your tailbone towards your knees. Stay in the pose for about 5-8 breaths and then release.
Cat & Cow Pose
Cat and Cow are often used together as one sequence and are great for those with lower back pain. This combination helps to create a natural rhythm of stretching and releasing, which can help to reduce stress and tension in the lower back. To start, begin on all fours, taking a few deep breaths. Slowly arch your back, pulling your abs in and lifting your head, in Cat pose. Then, move into Cow pose, by lifting your chest and lifting your eyes towards the sky. Link the two poses together and move through the two sides continuously.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a well known pose and is an effective one for strengthening the lower body and for relieving lower back pain. This pose gently works the muscles of the lower body, especially those in the back, as well as opening up the spine and shoulders. To do the pose, begin on all fours and then press into your hands and feet to create a “V” shape with your body. Lift your hips up, pressing back through the heels and drawing your shoulder blades down your back. Focus on pressing your heels down and outward, and keep your thighs strong and active. Allow your head to hang heavy, lengthening your neck and releasing the spine.
Knees to Chest
Knees to Chest pose is a restorative pose that works to sooth the lower back while cradling the lower body. This pose helps to open up the lower spine, as well as reinvigorating the nervous system and relieving tightness. To do the pose, begin by lying on your back, legs fully extended. Then, bring both knees to your chest, using your hands to gently support the knees. You can also gently rock your body from side to side to deepen the stretch. Hold the pose for 3 – 5 minutes and take several calming breaths.
Incorporating these four postures into your regular yoga