The human body is a miracle. Have you ever considered how many things must function properly to simply walk and talk? Luckily, we don’t have to think about every heartbeat or hair follicle to keep our heart pumping and our hair growing. However, there are areas of our health, which do require our attention to function well.
In fact, we can play a crucial role in facilitating our own health and healing. Self-healing is the ability to invoke our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical powers for own healing experience.
Today’s “Self-Healing Tips” post is about preventing back pain through the implementation of 7 simple yoga stretches. My physical therapist once quoted to me that 8 out of 10 people suffer low back pain. I was shocked at this statistic. While, I am no stranger to back pain I was still surprised at the amount of people who suffer from it.
One of the best ways to relieve back pain is through preventative stretching. The back accumulates a lot of tension through the hyper-contraction of larger muscle groups in the upper legs and thighs. The quadriceps, hamstrings, psoas, and gluteus muscles all attach onto the pelvic region putting a lot of pressure into the back.
To relieve tension in the back start by stretching out the muscles mentioned here. For best results give this sequence a try about 20 minutes a day 3-5 days a week. Hold the stretches anywhere from 1 minute to 3 minutes or by breath count. Be sure to breathe in and out at the same pace. For example, count how long your in breath takes and how long your out breath takes, then match the pace. It is recommended to breathe through your nose and keep your mouth closed.
Feel free to pass along to your friends, family members or co-workers who may suffer from back pain. I look forward to hearing what you learn. Have questions? I am here to answer them, simply comment below.
To start, choose a wall to support your forward fold. Next, step your feet hip distance apart. Keeping your back straight fold forward at the hips. Place your hands shoulder distance apart on the wall in front of you. Keep your hands at the same height as your shoulders. Press your palms into the wall. Keep the legs strong by contracting front upper thigh muscles lifting the kneecap up towards the hips. If this is stressful on your back bend your knees slightly until you feel relief.
Stand with your left shoulder and foot next to a wall. Try to step far enough away from the wall so you just barely touch your fingertips into the wall. Bend the right knee bringing the heel to the hip. Place the right hand on the foot holding the heel in place. Keep the knee in a straight line with the kneecap facing the ground. Keep the torso long and straight. Keep pulling the heel into the hip while the knee remains mostly stationary. Switch sides when you are ready. Stand with the right shoulder and foot near the wall. Bend the left knee. Bring the left heel to the back of the hip while holding the foot with the left hand. Gently pull the heel to the hip while keeping the kneecap facing straight down. Feel the stretch on the front of the thigh.
Place the left foot on the ground, a few feet in front of you, with the knee bent to a 90 degree angle. The left foot should be just below the left knee in a straight line. Put your right foot on the ground with your leg extended behind you. Let the top of the right foot rest on the earth while the heel remains in a straight line into the knee and hip. Lunge forward stretching out the upper groin. Keep the back as tall as possible while pressing both hands onto the bent knee. Relax the shoulders. Switch sides when you are ready.
Sit on the ground. Extend both legs in front of you. Raise both arms. Exhale and extend your arms to reach towards your toes. Fold forward. If your hands don’t reach your toes use a towel to wrap around the feet and hold ends of the towel while keeping the back straight folding at the hips. Bend your knees as you need. The most important part of this stretch is to keep your spine long and straight. People often mistake the purpose of the posture. The purpose is to stretch the hamstrings on the back of thighs. It is not to touch the toes.
Sit on the ground. Extend both legs in front of you. Keep the right leg straight. Bend the left knee. Step the left knee over the right knee. Place the foot on the ground. Take the right arm and reach it to the sky. Wrap the right elbow around the left knee while twisting the spine. Keep the spine tall as you breathe in. Exhale and twist. Keep the shoulders in an even line. Switch when you are ready. Extend the left leg. Bend the right knee. Cross the right foot over the left knee. Wrap left elbow around right knee.
Sit on the ground. Extend both legs in front of you. Bend your left knee. Bring the left knee toward your shoulder. Take the left arm hook it under the left knee. Cradle the left knee in the crook of the left elbow. Pull the left heel toward right shoulder. Keep extended right leg strong. Hold here. Breath in and out. Switch sides when you are ready. Straighten the left leg. Bend the right knee. Pull right knee toward shoulder and hook right elbow under right knee. Cradle right knee and pull right heel to left shoulder. Keep extended leg strong. Hold here.
7. Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lay on your back. Keep the left leg straight on the ground with the foot flexed. Bring your right leg up towards the sky. Place the hands behind the right knee and hold the leg straight. Flex the right foot. Keep gently pulling the right leg towards the shoulder. Release when you are ready and switch to the opposite side.