If you feel a little rusty and sluggish after the Christmas holidays, a short, daily yoga session can do wonders. It does not have to be long or complicated, just enough to move your back, stretch your limbs, deepen your breath and encourage the blood circulation. What is required is your attention, so that the movements are done well and the mind can relax too. The sequence below is good to keep your back mobile and healthy as it gently mobilises and lengthens the spine. It is also generally beneficial and you may feel the positive effect on your mood. Here’s to the New Year!
All fours to child’s pose
Start on hands and knees; rock back and forward a few times from all fours towards child’s pose so that you gradually lengthen the back towards the child position. Exhale every time you move backward, inhale to bring the body back on all fours.
Once you have reached child’s pose, inhale to come up to all fours and exhale into child’s pose, 5-7x.
Cat, child, cow
On all fours:
-Inhale and lift the chest. In this “cow pose” don’t strain the neck by lifting the head too much: rather keep looking down and forward to lengthen the back of your neck.
-Exhale and arch the back up, bringing the navel up towards the spine.
-Inhale to the cow pose.
-Exhale to child’s pose.
The order of the three poses is: cow – cat – cow – child. Repeat this sequence 3-5x
Dynamic hunting Dog
I know, funny names!
This movement is strengthening for the front and back of the body. First try it with two hands on the floor before adding the arm movement.
-Bring the knee and the forehead towards each other on the exhalation.
-Move the back, neck and leg in one line on the inhalation.
-Once you have mastered the leg movement, add the arm: pointing it towards the feet in the arched position, and forward next to your head when you inhale.
Repeat 5-7x on each side.
Rest back as in the child’s pose but with the knees wider. Allow the elbows to touch the floor so the shoulders relax. Stay for about a minute.
Baby half moon, lifting and lowering the leg
If you are unsure about your balance, please do this pose with your back against or near a wall. Leave this pose if your back feels fragile.
-Place the right hand, right knee and left foot in one line. Stretch the left hand out next to your head so you feel the length and space along the whole left side of the body. Stay for a few breaths.
-To make this pose dynamic: breathe in and lift the left leg while bringing the left arm up to point at the ceiling.
-Breathe out and return the left foot to the floor and the left arm next to your head.
Repeat a few times and do the same on the other side.
Stretching legs on the back
Lie on your back with the legs bent towards the chest. Hug your knees for a few moments.
-Inhale and stretch one leg up and move the opposite arm next to your head. Keep the back relaxed on the floor. This is more important than straightening the leg completely. -Exhale to the starting position.
-Alternate sides and then try a few with both arms and legs together.
Don’t rush but allow your breath to determine the speed.
Take at least 5 minutes to rest on your back with the legs bent. Focus on the movement of your abdomen when you breathe. Allow the whole body to rest down a little more every time your breathe out.
To come out, roll over to the side and push yourself up with one hand.
My next blog will deal with strengthening core muscles, so if you haven’t subscribed yet and you would like to receive these back care tips, type your email in the subscribe box and receive a complementary “Keep Your back Safe At Home Guide”!