Guest blogger, Leeann Carey, is the founder of Planet Yoga Teacher Training Programs and an acclaimed yoga instructor with over twenty years of teaching experience. Leeann has trained everyone, from World Champion Los Angeles Lakers to celebrities and from students looking for a great workout and people on the healing path from injuries or chronic health issues.
I remember the days when I used to spring out of bed in the morning or read a book without squinting my eyes and furrowing my brow. I’m in fairly good shape for my 49 years of healthy living, but as of late, some mornings I wake up with an achy lower back. Millions of Americans complain of lower back aches when there is nothing structurally wrong.
Perhaps you strained your back lifting something or used poor bio-mechanics throughout the day to perform daily activities. Maybe you spend most of your day sitting at a computer which our bodies aren’t built for. Of course, accumulated stress can settle in your back without you even knowing it.I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for decades. The following is a prescription I use to loosen, lengthen and lighten the load. They are simple, effective, and help eliminate tightness and compression in your lower back. Be sure to breathe into each of the stretches, slow and steady. The routine will take only 5 minutes.
Half Downward Facing Dog Pose – 10 breaths
Face a wall. Place your hands at the wall shoulder height and shoulder distance apart. Straighten your arms and walk back into a 90 degree position. Pull your hips back and keep your ears in line with your upper arms. Breathe into the stretching of your lower back. To come out, bend your knees and walk toward the wall.
Supported Standing Forward Bend Pose – 10 breaths
Lean against a wall. Position your feet forward, about a foot away from the wall and a little wider than hip distance apart with bent knees. Keep your hips pinned to the wall. With an inhale and a flat back, hinge your hips into a forward bend. You can bend your knees if needed. Fold your arms and hold onto your elbows to encourage traction and length at your lower back. Breathe into the releasing of your lower back. To come out, push your hands against your top thighs and with a flat back return to standing.
Supported Standing Twist - 6 breaths each side
Stand near a wall with the left side of the body parallel to the wall, one foot away and hip distance apart with your toes pointing forward. Step your right leg back to a position of ‘scissor legs.’ On an inhale, stretch your arms overhead. On an exhale, rotate your torso to the left, but don’t move your hips. Bend your elbows and touch the wall, about shoulder distance apart. Each time you inhale, grow your spine long, and when you exhale, push your hands against the wall to encourage a gentle wringing out of your spine. To come out, return to a neutral position.
Follow with Half Downward Facing Dog Pose – 10 breaths
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August 28th, 2010