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 legsā€¦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

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The future is bright for the Astros. Composite image by Jack Brame.

2020 has shown us lots of things. A few of the things it's shown us is that anything is possible, expect the unexpected, and do not be surprised at the outcome. Well, the Astros checked all three of those boxes in this pandemic season and post season. Anything was possible when they finished the 60 game season 29-31 and barely made the playoffs (yes, the new format helped, but they made it). We should've expected the unexpected when they were able to beat the Twins in the first round 2-0 after the A's ran away with the division this season. We for damn sure shouldn't have been surprised at the outcome of their ALCS series when they forced Tampa to a game seven after being down 3-0 because this team is experienced and scrappy. We are talking about the team that's made it to the ALCS four years running and won it all in 2017.

Sure, there are some high dollar guys that mean a lot to this team that they may lose (looking squarely at George Springer and Michael Brantley), but that's the end of it. They'll also be without Justin Verlander after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Some will say coming back from a 3-0 deficit to force a game seven was good enough. They'll tell this team to accept its fate and fall into the background. They replaced their manager and general manager after the cheating scandal, no way they can move forward and succeed right? (insert your favorite GTFOH GIF)

Springer and Brantley could both leave as free agents

This team may not be thought of a contender moving forward, but I have faith in the talent that's still there. I believe Jim Crane knows who and what he can't live without moving forward, so I think he'll shell out the cash necessary to keep guys like Springer and Brantley...as long as it's within reason. Crane won't, and shouldn't, get into a bidding war with another team for either guy, but I think he will make a fair offer to both. Verlander being out in his last season under contract is a big blow. However, I think it can work to the team's advantage.

Let's say they're only able to bring back Springer OR Brantley, but Kyle Tucker takes that next step. Let's say Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, and Jose Urquidy all take that next step while Lance McCullers continues his accent. What will the league say when Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman return to their previously dominant forms? All of this speaks to the continued era of the dominant Astros.

Even if they lose Brantley and/or Springer this offseason, I still think they have enough in place to keep the lineup competitive and threatening. The pitching staff has enough firepower to put some fear into opposing lineups. If they continue to make the right moves and develop the talent they have in-house, this team won't fall off or take a dip. Instead, they'll continue to be a force if they hold true to the talent they have, and acquire the complimentary talent they need to accent the players they have now. The pitching staff will be in good hands. McCullers, Framber, and Urquidy are guys I feel that can carry the load. Meanwhile, Forrest Whitley is waiting in the wings. Kyle Tucker is poised for the next step in the lineup, and Captain Correa clearly established himself as a leader this post season.

The future is bright for Astros fans. If ownership and the front office pony up the money to keep some guys, it'll be even better.

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