A morning yoga routine
for stiff backs.
When you wake up you might feel a tight and achy back that as you get up, after few movements, usually tend to ease up or disappears completely. This is the time that injuries can occur if we do fast, sudden movements. To prevent this and also ease the morning stiffness, try some specific exercises right after waking up. There are some movements that can be done in bed before getting up.
The morning routine described here is designed to mobilize your back gently, taking the time to feel the stiffness disappear. Of course, if you don't have back pain, you can still enjoy few morning stretches to start your day.
Click on this link to the video demonstrating the poses.
Note of caution:
For those who have back pain due to a recently herniated disc: this sequence is not appropriate for you until you have been out of pain for at least 3 months. If you are interested in yoga therapy for herniated discs, do get in touch for private sessions.
As I always say, if at any time you feel pain, it's your body telling you to stop, please do listen and stop doing what you are doing. Return to a position that is pain-free and safe for you.
While still in your bed:
Bring your knees up to the chest. Give them a gentle hug then with the palms on each knee and finger pointing your toes, draw circles in one direction for few times, then changing direction. This mobilizes the lower back, warming it up gently.
Some gentle twists
Starting with knees on your chest, move both knees to the right and after 2-3 breaths, return the knees to your chest before moving them to the left. you can repeat this few times and for a complete spinal twist, you can also turn the head opposite direction to the knees.
To get out of bed, if you have back pain, it's important to do it correctly:
To support your back and prevent muscle spasm due to a wrong movement, roll over to the side and use the strength of your arm to get up maintaining your back as straight as possible. Your back is very vulnerable when we rush out of bed, especially when lifting the trunk up and to the side, this can cause already tight back muscles to strain and spasm. If your abdominal muscles are weak, this is more likely to occur. To learn more about strengthening your abdominal muscles without straining your back, view my other block and Video.
Once out of bed, you can practice some rocking movements while in all four. With wrists under the shoulders, and knees under your hips, moving slowly: forward over the wrists as you inhale and backward towards your heels, as you exhale.
If it is possible, you can rest in child pose, sitting on your heels (you can roll a towel under your ankles for support), then extend the arms forward and rest head either on the floor or use a block or pillow for support. This is a good pose for lengthening the spine.
cat and cow movements on the floor over a carpet or a mat. Starting on hands and knees, gently arch your back as you inhale, then round your back as you exhale. Do not force the movement, always move in a relaxed way which will gently release your back.
Wave into Child’s pose:
From all four, you can move in and out of child pose, increasing the range of movements slowly. Exhale as you move into child pose and return into all four on an inhale. You can take more than one breath in each pose, or move with the breath. When you move into child pose, focus on the lengthening of the spine: keeping the bottom as close as possible to the heels of your feet and extending the arms forward, feel a gentle traction that stretches your spine.
If you feel comfortable with the movement, moving with the breath becomes like a moving meditation.
Lie on your back. Take a little time to reset your body and your spine, becoming aware of the point of contact with the floor and notice the gentle curve on the lumbar region.
Hug one knee up to the chest while keeping the other leg straight on the floor. Relax for few moments in this position. Before switching to the other side.
Here you can take the opportunity to relax your neck with gentle side to side movements of your head, turning head to one side feeling the gentle stretch, passing through the center before turning to the other side. Repeat as many times as it feels good.
Hug knees up to the chest, extend arms to the side onto the floor.
Roll both knees to the right as you exhale, rest for 3-5 breath. You can place a block or pillow under the knees for support if they don't reach the floor.
Return knees to chest on an inhalation before rolling them to the left as you exhale. Stay here the same count of breaths as on the right side.
Repeat as many times as it feels good.
Finish by holding the knees in the center and slowly return to supine position, resetting your body and your spine.
These are some of the exercises from Core Spine Balanced Yoga™ classes.