Lower back pain plagues millions of people around the world every day, from truck drivers to product stockers, to those who sit in an office setting all day, and even those who work on their feet all day. It seems that no matter how active or inactive a person is, lower back pain is a consistent ailment for many.
Consider that in just five minutes a day, lower back pain could be substantially reduced or cured all together with some simple yoga moves that even the most novice yogi can accomplish. Spending a few moments after waking can significantly reduce lower back pain among many. Try this simple sequence tomorrow morning, at least a few times a week, and back pain will be a thing of the past.
Place your feet flat on the ground, in a standing position, hip width apart while facing a wall or flat vertical surface of your choice. Place both hands against the wall and slowly bend forwards, keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground and using the wall with your hands as support. As you bend, attempt to keep your lower back straight and your tailbone tucked, while shooting your hips backwards towards the opposite direction. For more advanced yogis, slowly work your way down the wall with your hands until you can make a modest effort to reach your toes. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Breathe.
Ragdoll in Forward Fold
Follow through with all of the steps in forward fold position, and then once you reach your toes, wrap your arms together in a sort of hug above your head as if you were about to take a nap on your stomach and crossed your arms in front of your face. This will allow for a much deeper shoulder stretch, and will allow gravity to assist in stretching out the backs of the legs.
Standing Crescent Moon
Rise slowly back to standing, re-planting your feet firmly into the ground and spreading your toes out for extra balance points. Raise both arms slowly up towards the sky, pushing your chest out and releasing the shoulders down the back, away from the ears. Take a deep breath in and slowly lean backwards, against a wall or free form. This subtle backbend is the perfect complimentary pose to forward fold and ensures an even stretch in the lower back muscles.
Release the crescent moon pose and come down onto your hands and knees. Push your weight back into your rear, folding your buttocks over your ankles and moving your chest towards the ground, coming into child's pose. Your forehead and palms should be stretching over your mat or carpet while you attempt to sit your hips and rear on the backs of your ankles. Release your shoulders away from your ears and stay here as long as you wish. This is an extremely restful and restorative pose. For extra stretching points, release your arms down to your sides and place the tops of your hands on the mat, allowing gravity to pull your lower back muscles away from each other for a deeper stretch.
Happy Baby Pose
Coming back up to all fours, roll gently over on to your side and then on to your back. Bring both knees in by hooking your hands either around your knees or underneath your knees and draw them forward towards your chest, keeping your lower back and spine planted firmly on the ground while the tailbone is tucked in. This may be all you can do at this point, but if you feel you can stretch deeper, open the legs wide and grab the outside of the inner soles of the feet, drawing the knees open and towards the ground on both sides. You should look something like a joyful baby playing with it's feet. Roll from side to side, releasing the lower back and massaging it into the mat. Stay as long as you are comfortable.
Extra Bonus: Corpse Pose
Release the knees and draw the legs back towards the ground. Lay here for a few moments with both legs comfortably stretched out at a slight angle with both hands and arms also stretched out, away from the body. When ready, come back to standing and feel the amazing difference that five minutes will make.