A little overzealous at the gym yesterday? If you woke up with a tight or sore lower back, follow this short stretching sequence for instant relief.
Cat and Cow to Wide Child's Pose
Stand on your hands and knees. Do a few rounds of Cat and Cow, slowly rounding the back and tucking your chin and then arching the back and looking up. Come back to a neutral spine position, widen your knees slightly, and press back into Wide Child's Pose. Stay for a few breaths and then begin circling the hips in a clockwise direction for a few breaths, then switch directions. Repeat three more times, and end with five more breaths of Wide Child's Pose.
Supported Seated Straddle to Side Stretch
Continue reading to learn the rest of the stretching sequence.
Come into a seated position with your legs in a wide straddle in front of you. Stack four or so pillows or bolsters in between your thighs. Soften the knees so there's a few inches of space between the back of your knees and the floor. Slowly fold forward, arching your lower spine slightly, not rounding, resting your chest on the pillows. If you don't have pillows, hold your torso up with your hands, pressing into the floor. If your hamstrings are very flexible, straighten your legs completely as you fold. Hold here, removing pillows as your back and hamstrings open up.
When you're ready, slowly sit up and place your right palm on the floor six or so inches behind your right knee, fingertips pointing to the right. Raise your left arm in the air and lean into your right hand, stretching the left side of your body. If it's easy, bend your right elbow to deepen the stretch. Hold for five breaths and then switch sides. Repeat two more times.
Happy Baby to Spinal Twist
Roll onto your back with your knees apart, holding your feet or ankles. Gently press your knees toward the floor, rocking slowly from side to side for five or more breaths in Happy Baby. Bring your knees together, and cross your left knee over your right so your legs are in Eagle position. Lower both knees over to the left, extending your arms in T-position as you gaze to the right. Hold this gentle spinal twist for a few breaths, then switch sides.