A staggering 60-80% of Americans suffer from low back pain, and it is the second most common reason for doctors visits. And- low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Too much sitting, not enough moving. Begin in a comfortable seated position, closing the eyes and moving inward. Spend five minutes preparing for your practice- whether that be through pranayama, meditation, or any method that helps you begin to focus. Transition into Butterfly pose by bringing the soles of your feet together so that your legs form a diamond shape. Remember that the placement of your feet will affect the level of intensity of the pose in different areas. The emphasis here is on the spine- allow it to round forward, making as much space as possible. Find your edge and stay for four minutes. If you have a sensitive back or are prone to back pain, make your way from Butterfly to laying flat on your back, and remain there for a minute or two. The mild backbend will prep you for our next pose. Otherwise, next prepare for Saddle pose. I always find myself remembering that Yin lowers your blood pressure -and thus can make you cold- in the middle of this pose, so put on socks or any other clothing that will make you comfortable and make sure any necessary props are nearby. Another tip for those of you with sensitive backs; Saddle can be broken down into a two-sided pose (do each side separately) which has a milder sensation. However you choose to take it, spend about three to four minutes in saddle. Saddle makes a lovely transition to Child’s pose, but take as much time in between the two as you need. We’ll only stay and recover in Child’s for two minutes. Remember to focus on your breath. Do you notice any new sensations in your back? Next, we’ll move into Sphinx pose. This is a simple one, but remember to keep the glute muscles relaxed and the arms below the shoulders. If there is any tingling in the fingers, hands, or arm try repositioning yourself as you may just be resting on a nerve. If adjusting doesn’t help, back out of the pose. Otherwise, remain for five minutes.
For the next pose, you’ll need a block. Come into Bridge pose (if you’ve never done Bridge with a teacher present, skip this pose) and the place the block directly under your sacrum. How open or flexible you are will determine which direction the block lays- the taller the block is, the more intense. Enjoy this pose for three minutes. Spend another two to three minutes in Child’s pose, finishing out with a 10 minute shavasana. photo credit: www.athleta.com