What's the secret to relieve lower back pain?

Yoga poses to help with back problems

I have teamed up with Yoga Expert Nathalie Kosman, who is featured in the video above and helps us identify four yoga poses that will relieve some pressure with our lower back. With all the sitting around and "hunch-back" things we do with our bodies in 2019, the lower back is typically the region that is hurting or aching the most. If you are suffering from lower back pain, in most cases this affects your mood and your day; and no one wants a grumpy co-worker! Yoga in general can help relieve this back pain, but these 4 poses will be most beneficial for you. So be sure to click on the video above! Also, since I am not the greatest at yoga, I have provided a clip-on repeat in the lower right-hand corner of Nathalie doing the poses correctly, to follow along!

1) Supine twist pose

While laying on your back and bringing one leg (bent at the knee) over the straightened-out leg, (see above). This twist offers a big relief for the entire back, as gravity takes you down. Be sure to keep your arm in a T-shape and lower both knees to the floor, (unlike mine). Also make sure to keep your neck neutral and keep your gaze beyond the finger tips, while keeping both shoulders on the floor. Nathalie suggests staying in this position for either :20 seconds (minimum), up to a couple minutes. The longer you can hold the position the better, and you can always ease into it. After your appropriate time of holding, move onto the next pose, and so forth. Be sure to repeat on both sides at least three times (in one session), on each side, for best results.

2) Sphinx pose

This pose looks like it will hurt your back by the arch, but it does not. This pose is great for toning the spine and stimulating the sacral-lumbar arch. Again, with most of our bodies in "hunch-back" position, this position will help promote the natural curvature of the lower back. Be sure to align your elbows underneath your shoulders. If this does feel like a bit of pressure in the lower back, be sure to bring your elbows slightly forward. Again, on this one hold the pose anywhere from :20 (seconds), up until ythree minutes. This is for however long you are comfortable holding. Once this hold is completed and you move onto the next, don't forget to go through the same rotation, at least three times.

3. Thread the needle pose

This one is not only good for your lower back, but also good for opening up those hips. Little known fact is, when the hips and hamstrings are open, this can help alleviate back pain. You can also roll out your hamstrings, to help alleviate this pain in the lower back. One key item that Nathalie points out (and I always do wrong) is to be sure to keep your spine neutral. Be sure to lay the back of the head on the floor, while keeping the gaze starring straight up into the sky. Don't forget to repeat this on both legs…don't want to be walking with a limp after stretching out only one side. This one also would hold for :20 seconds, up until a couple minutes. Repeat all four poses at least three times.

4. Cat and cow pose

This position offers your entire spine a nice stretch. While inhaling, lift your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling, and while exhaling, arch your back, pressing through the shoulder blades and dropping your head. Be sure to go to the rhythm of your breath. You can repeat this for :20, or longer. Whatever feels right for your body. Once you are done with this pose, be sure to go back up to the top (supine twist pose) and repeat entire session at least three times going through all four poses each time.

These are the four KEY poses that will help with back pain, even though there are plenty more! Special thanks to Nathalie Kosman for helping to walk us through these poses. Nathalie will be joining me for the next two weeks for a yoga series, so be sure to stayed tuned for that. You can catch her at The Preserve, Fit Athletic Club and Equinox for private and group classes! Also on Instagram @Nathalie_kosman

A little yoga in your life

Yoga tips, part 3: Sleep like a baby

Here are a few yoga poses that will help you ease into a restful night and sleep like a baby. Right before you go to sleep, begin your practice with the combination of these poses and deep breathing to calm the mind, your body will begin to release physical tension. This combination activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress.

1) Restorative child's pose:

To come into the pose: sit on your shins, knees together (however if you are putting a pillow under tummy, spread the knees to insert pillow. Lay forward in Child's Pose resting the body over the knees or pillow. Arms can rest forward or behind, the head should take equal time being turned to each side. If needed, make sure you have enough space under the belly, to not strain the back. Hold this pose between 20 seconds and 2 minutes.

2) Supine Twist:

There are many health benefits to supine twist. Here are just a few. Help release lower-back,

Opens tight shoulders, elongates the supporting spinal muscles, improves digestion, and quiets the mind, just to name a few. To start this pose lay on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest. Take your left hand to your outer right thigh and guide your right knee to the left. Reach your right arm out to the right on the ground. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can keep your left hand on the ground.

3) Supta battakansana:

This is also known as reclining bound angle pose. Lay on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together. Lie back on your bolster and support your head with a blanket, so that your head is above your heart. Allow the knees to open and relax into the props. Hold for about 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. You also want to remember to breath 20-30 breaths during this time period.

4) Savasana:

This is also known as Corpse pose. You want to end your sequence with this pose and hold for either 3-10 minutes. Lie back, letting your legs and arms relax. Bring your attention to your breath and notice which nostril is clearer. To come out of the pose, draw your knees in toward your chest. Instead of automatically rolling to your right side, roll onto whichever side feels comfortable.

Try these 4 positions to help you fall asleep faster and get a restful night of sleep. A huge thank you to Nathalie Kosman who helped me throughout the yoga series. You can catch her at The Preserve, Fit Athletic Club and Equinox for private and group classes! Also on Instagram @Nathalie_kosman

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