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Class with a lower-back focus to strengthen your foundations

A miscellaneous sequence aimed at releasing the lower back.

Contents

Introduction

Video sequence overview

A sequence aimed at stronger foundation students.

We go through a selection of poses, using twists and supported forward extensions to give release to the lower back.

Step by step sequence

Set up for Supta Baddhakonasana over a bolster, using bricks for support under the knees if the hips are tight. Come up and go forward in Virasana, rolling the buttocks down towards the heels and extending the arms well forward from the waist.

Now come up for Uttanasana, using a block between the thighs to bring greater symmetry to the two sides of the hips and sacrum.

You can then step back into Dog Pose, Adho Mukha Svanasana, keeping the brick between the thighs if it feels as if it is adding stability to the lower back. Next, repeat Dog Pose again, this time with the heels to the wall and the feet on bricks.

Release, and set up for Supta Padangusthasana, with feet to the wall. Right leg up and then to the side. Repeat on the Left side.

Chair twists follow. Take a chair and step the two feet through the chair, facing back towards the backrest of the chair. Place the feet as wide as the chair legs, and then turn using the exhalation. 3-4 breaths for each side.

Step out of the chair and sit side-on, with the right side of the hips parallel to the backrest of the chair. Place a block between the knees and turn to the Right, and change sides to turn to the Left.

Come to standing and set up for Standing Marichyasana.

Place the side of the chair up against the wall, with one or two bricks on the chair seat. Place the Right foot onto the block, Right hip against the wall, with both arms to the wall. Turn with the exhalation, keeping the outer hip against the wall and the two sides of the pelvis even.

Now sit on the chair, facing outwards, and with the feet a little wider than the chair legs, bend to take the hands to the shins or down to the floor. Keep both buttocks rolling down onto the chair seat.

A final twist.

Sit upright, and then bring the legs and feet together and take the Left shoulder across the Right knee or thigh. Place the back hand to the back of the chair, and turn to the Right. Then place the Right shoulder across the Left knee or thigh and turn. Come up and place a second chair (or go forward to a bed or low table) and lean forward resting the whole torso from pubis to sternum onto a bolster with extra height if needed. The trunk should rest fully onto the support.

A few last poses with the legs up the wall to further work on opening the hips and groins and to rest the back muscles.

Lie on your back and bring both legs up against the wall, and place a blanket under the head as needed. First keep the legs upright, and then change bringing the legs into Baddhakonasana with the feet and knees to the wall. Straighten the legs again, and now place a bolster or small weight onto the abdomen just below the navel. This will further help to lessen any tightness in the lower back. Also try stretching the arms overhead to lengthen the spine. Arms by the sides will bring more quiet broadness.

To finish, lie out in Savasana with the knees bent and the calves comfortably resting onto the chair seat.

You can place the bolster/weight onto the lower abdomen again for further release.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your head on the floor or on a block.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward into Adho Mukha Svanasana
Forward Facing Hero Pose into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Back and forward transition from Virasana Forward to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Change poses on the breath, attempt to go deeper into each pose with every repetition.
Supta Padangusthasana I
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Press your back body into the floor, point the kneecap and toes of your supine leg toward the ceiling, as you extend the other leg up over your hip. Use a belt if needed.
Supta Padangusthasana II
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Lie down on your back. Point kneecap and toes on your left leg upward, as you stretch your right leg out to the side. Use a belt if necessary. Change sides.
Class with a lower-back focus to strengthen your foundations
Sit on a chair and use the back and/or seat as leverage to help you twist your spine and chest. Repeat on both sides.
Utthita Marichyasana
Extended Sage Marichi Pose
Place your feet parallel to the wall. Lift the leg closest to the wall up and place your foot on a chair. Twist your chest towards the wall and use your hand as leverage to go deeper into the twist.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Class with a lower-back focus to strengthen your foundations
Sit on a chair and use the back and/or seat as leverage to help you twist your spine and chest. Repeat on both sides.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.