Summertime can often bring more carefree days in the sunshine.  Activity levels tend to increase in the warmer weather, especially gardening and yard work, which can lead to back pain. Here are a some poses to keep your spine healthy for a more enjoyable summer.

Reclining Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana) with Blocks:

This restorative pose opens the neck and releases the lower back by increasing flexibility in the knees, groin, and thighs. The addition of the blocks increases the opening in the upper spine and chest.

Instructions:

  • Place one block on its side and second block about 8-12” apart in taller position.
  • Place soles of feet together, knees open, and lower torso onto blocks.
  • First block will be directly beneath shoulder blades, with base of skull resting on second block. Adjust block positions according to height and spine length.
  • Arms open out to sides to expand the chest.
  • Relax in this pose allowing time and gravity to open hips, chest, and neck.
  • Hold for 1-5 minutes, as desired.
  • To release, bring knees together, then press torso up to a seated position.

Variations: Eliminate blocks resting spine on the mat.  If hips and groin are tight, place rolled up blankets or towels underneath knees for support.

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana):

One of the best poses to alleviate back pain and keep the spine and intestines healthy are twists.  Spinal twists help to realign the spine, rehydrate spinal discs, massage intestines, and detoxify the body.  They also stretch the numerous muscles along the spine, hips, and shoulders.  Be mindful not to overdo the twist.  If you experience pain, ease out of pose.

Instructions:

  • Lie on your back and hug knees into chest.
  • Extend arms, shoulder height in a letter “T”, palms downward.
  • Shift hips to right slightly, bringing bent knees to left side.
  • Shoulder blades draw towards mat and away from ears.
  • Turn head to the right if comfortable or gaze towards ceiling.
  • Continue to lengthen spine on the inhale and gently deepen the twist on the exhale for 5-10 breaths, or longer.
  • Return knees back to center.
  • Repeat on other side.

Variations: Rest knees on bolster or pillow to ease twist in lower back. Place rolled blanket or towel under neck or shoulder, as desired for support.

By: Kristi Grosse, RYT

 

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