The thing I hear more than anything else is “my back hurts.” One of the problems with back pain is how connected to everything your back is. Lower back pain? That might be tight hamstrings resonating up your back. Something wonky in your arms? You might feel it in your shoulders and upper back. An imbalance in one part of your body is going to be balanced out and felt other places.
Now I could go on and on about how we sit too much or have terrible posture, but there are plenty of articles on the internet about that already. So instead, as a fellow sometimes stiff and sore backed person who sits at a computer all day, let’s talk about how to deal with it. Having a regular mobility practice is one of the simplest ways to help reduce those imbalances that are causing soreness and pain. When you look at the exercises happening in a physical therapist’s office, it’s not a surprise that there’s a lot of overlap with yoga poses.
For the next four weeks, the mobility challenge is to practice this spine series for just a couple of minutes a day. That’s it. Just a couple of minutes before bed or when you wake up or on your lunch break. Try it out and report “back.”
Child’s Pose: Sit back toward your heels with your knees wide and your toes touching. If your forehead doesn’t reach the floor, put something on the ground (a block or a book, etc.) to keep your spine in line. Hold for 30-90 seconds.
Cat/Cow: Inhale, look forward and drop your tummy, keeping your back and stomach engaged. Exhale, arch your spine and look back at your navel. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Cobra: From your stomach, lift your chest off the ground pressing the tops of your feet down. Your hands should be under your shoulders but not pressing down. All the work is coming from engaging your back. Hold for 5-10 slow breaths.
Repeat Child’s Pose.
Sphinx: If it feels comfortable, stack your elbows under your shoulders and gaze forward, feeling like your spine is lengthening toward the sky. If your back isn’t feeling that mobile, the repeat Cobra. Hold for 5-10 slow breaths.
Repeat Child’s Pose.