Chances are you are very busy at this time of the year, and it may be hard to find some moments for self care. If you can, give yourself a bit of time in the morning. Often, this is the only window of opportunity before the activities of the day take over. Especially if you have back pain, what you do every day counts. A short practice to keep your back mobile will do wonders for your day and indeed for this whole festive season.
The morning practice doesn’t have to be long or complicated. The one below is just enough to move your back, stretch your limbs, deepen your breath and encourage the blood circulation. Give your whole attention to the sensations in the body and to the breath, so that your mind can relax too. You may find that this short period of concentration in the morning sets you up to feel more centred during the day. And don’t we need that inner balance during the Christmas period!.
Morning Practice To Keep Your Back Mobile:
The sequence below is good to keep your back mobile and healthy as it gently mobilises and lengthens the spine. It also helps to deepen the breath and encourage the blood circulation so you may feel a positive effect on your mood.
All four’s movement for the spine
This lovely, gentle mobilisation of the spine is great first thing in the morning.
Start on hands and knees.
Exhale and move the hips back towards the feet. The hips don’t have to go all the way to the feet. In fact, it’s nice to move closer to the feet gradually, over several exhalations.
Inhale to return to all fours and exhale to child’s pose. Feel the whole spine gradually lengthen.
Repeat 5-7 times
Now add a gentle lifting of the chest when you come up to all fours. If your back is happy with it, you can arch the spine down a little more.
In this “cow pose” don’t strain the neck by lifting the head too much: rather look down and forward to keep more length in your neck.
Exhale to child’s pose.
Repeat this sequence 3-5x
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
Here’s a pose to wake up a little more. This one is all about strength and balance. 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. The right foot can be placed a little behind you for balance.
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.
This can be a lovely way of stretching the back, chest and the shoulders. The moving arm does not have to stay on the floor. At some point after 90 degrees, allow the arm to lift away away from the mat so as not to hurt the shoulder. If anything hurts, of course, stop right there. If it doesn’t feel comfortable, make the movement smaller, perhaps only moving to 90 degrees, and that will be more beneficial.
Start lying on your side, with the knees bent and comfortably close to the body.
Stretch both arms in front of you and place the palms on top of each other.
Inhale and move the top arm like the arm of a clock, first sliding it to 12 o’clock and then maybe further to 3 o’clock.
You can allow the top knee to slide away; the knees don’t have to stay on top of each other, except if you have sacroiliac joint issues.
Exhale and return via the same way.
Repeat 4-5x on each 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.
Even after a morning practice, take at least 5 minutes to rest on your back with the legs bent, 10 minutes is even better. Focus on the movement of your abdomen when you breathe. Allow the whole body to rest a little more every time you 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”!
To discuss how back care programme could help your back pain, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation: https://beneyoga.co.uk/book-a-free-consultation-call/