The lower back’s often forgotten when strengthening the core muscles, quite simply because, it’s seldom within our view & there aren’t obvious visual results to motivate a person to put effort in the area.
But many of us have probably experienced some form of lower back ache, perhaps for sitting too long or leaning over for a period... and these pains can be debilitating and frustrating.
At those moments, the body feels like it’s crying for a massage. Stretching may bring relief indeed but it’s often temporary. When we put ourselves in that position again, these aches return.
So what can we do to help?
1. Become more aware of our posture! How we hold ourselves & notice the positions that tend to aggravate & take preventive measures.
2. Strengthen the area!! This may seem obvious but it’s rarely the solution a person thinks of. Use muscular support to alleviate some of the load on the lower back. I come across so many people who have no lack of ideas on how to strengthen their frontal abdominals but when I ask them what they do for their lower backs, I get a blank stare. It’s telling if they even exercise the area.
Salabhasana is a relatively accessible pose for most as you’re only working against your body weight.
1. Start by lying on the front with legs extended
2. There are several options for the arms...
- arms by the side of body
- arms extended to the front
- arms by the side of head (as pictured)
3. There are several options for the legs too but the common ones are...
- feet together
- feet hip width apart
4. Different placements have different effects on the body
5. Inhale > engage core & lift knees, chest, shoulders, elbows & palms
6. Exhale > lower back down
*the tendency is to pull up from the neck to lift as it feels like we’re going higher; relax the neck & focus on lifting from the chest
**the higher you lift ≠ the stronger the pose. At some point, you’re impinging on the back; instead a slight lift & lengthening in opposite directions (refer to arrows in photo) will activate the muscles across the back sufficiently
Hongyi the yogi
Full-time yoga teacher & trainee yoga therapist in London. Eager to share, eager to learn!