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Try These Yoga Moves to Work the Low Back

These 5 Yoga Moves Will Totally Engage Your Low Back

yoga moves for lower back

We're all guilty of neglecting strengthening various parts of our bodies. For some, it's the ankles or booty. For others like me, it's the low back. In fact, I never even gave my lower back a second thought until I noticed it feeling fatigued while on a long run.

"The connection your lower back has with the muscles of your pelvis and hips is an incredibly important one," explained Tess Koenig, an NYC yoga instructor. "While your hip muscles are what move your spine, your lower-back muscles are what stabilize the spine, so strengthening those muscles with hip-dominant moves and booty exercises is key — with proper form, of course!"

Although I had never prioritized my lower back, it was clear that needed to change. To help me engage my neglected muscles, Koenig shared five must-try moves straight from yoga to incorporate into my practice.

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Next time you feel your back tightening up, roll out that mat, toss on your go-to leggings like the UA Meridian Leggings ($70), and take a moment to feel the connection between your low back and the rest of your body.

Hip Hinges

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart and your hands placed behind your head with your elbows wide enough, so your shoulder blades are integrated onto your back.
  • Stand upright and brace your core, drawing in your belly button to your spine.
  • Take a breath in, and hinge forward from your hips — not your waist — allowing a slight bend in your knees while keeping your back as flat as possible. Think of your sternum lengthening away from your tailbone and your tailbone reaching behind your heels as opposed to simply squatting.
  • Exhale to come back upright.
  • Repeat 15 times.
  • Pro tip: if you don't feel it in your hamstrings, you're not sending your booty back far enough.

Swimmers

  • Lie face down on the ground, and stretch both arms out in front of your body, keeping your legs stretched out and flat on the ground.
  • Inhale to raise your right arm and left leg, aiming to create a gap of about six inches between them and the floor.
  • Pull in your belly button, lifting it off the floor to engage your core muscles toward your spine. Think about lifting with your upper arm bone and thigh bone.
  • Keep your head straight and look at the floor to keep the back of your neck long, while stretching your fingers and toes outward as far as possible.
  • Exhale to return to the starting position, and inhale to switch sides to engage your left arm and right leg.
  • Alternate sides for one minute.

Bridge Pulses

  • Lie on the ground and bend your knees, stepping your feet on the floor hip width apart and close enough to your seat that you can almost graze your heels with your middle fingertips.
  • Press all four corners of your feet into the floor, keeping your upper arms pressing into the ground by your sides.
  • Raise your booty off the ground until a straight line runs from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Continue reaching your hips high and lengthening your tailbone toward your knees with your entire upper body remaining grounded.
  • Lower your booty slightly, hovering from the ground, then lift again.
  • Continue pulsing for one minute.

Single-Leg Hip Raises

  • Lie on the ground and bend your knees, stepping your feet on the floor hip width apart and close enough to your seat that you can almost graze your heels with your middle fingertips.
  • Extend your right leg long with your foot flexed, keeping your upper arms pressing into the ground by your sides.
  • Raise your booty off the ground until a straight line runs from your shoulders to your extended ankle.
  • Continue reaching your hips high and lengthening your tailbone toward your extended heel with your entire upper body remaining grounded.
  • Lower your booty to the ground first, followed by your lengthened leg. This should be a three-part move: lift, lower your booty, and lower your leg, while keeping your foot flexed.
  • Repeat 15 times, then switch sides.

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

  • Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees while keeping both feet flat on the floor.
  • Use both hands to pull one knee in toward your chest while lengthening your opposite leg and letting your heel stay heavy on the ground and your toes flexed toward your face.
  • Press your lengthened thigh bone into the ground as you hold your knee against your chest for five to 10 breaths.
  • Keep your abs engaged as you press your spine into the ground and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat with your opposite leg.
Image Source: Shutterstock
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