Most of us suffer from lower back pain at some point, perhaps after lifting something heavy, gardening, or sitting at a computer for too long. Even yoga can set off a dull ache if we push ourselves too hard.

Last week’s class took a restorative approach, thinking of back care in particular. We don’t always need to push into challenging postures in a class - sometimes it can be beneficial to work more slowly and give ourselves time to relax deeply into familiar yoga asanas.

Here is a reminder of what we practised for the first half of the class - please bear in mind these are just notes and don’t aim to give full instruction:

  1. Lying down on your back in the constructive rest position – keep the knees bent and feet hip width apart to allow the spine to settle into its natural shape.
  2. Relax as deeply as you can for several minutes including a simple breathing ratio and returning to normal breath: such as inhale for a count of 4, hold for 2, and exhale for a count of 5/6.
  3. Keeping the hands resting on the belly, gently push the back of the waist into the floor as you exhale, then on the inhale allow the lower back to lift. Continue for a minute or two bringing your attention to the movement in the spine.
  4. Add a stronger use of the core muscles to this pelvic rocking, using the pelvic floor and abdominals to help squeeze out the air on the exhale.
  5. Bring the knees gently into the chest, one hand on each shin, and hug in on the inhale, and out on the exhale allowing the arms to lengthen. Rock gently from side to side, and continue to massage gently across the lower back, in small circles to continue warming up the back muscles.
  6. Bring the feet down, with arms out to the sides at shoulder height, and bring the feet and knees together. Gently lower the knees down to one side just 6 inches, with the head moving in the other for a twist. Hold, breathing deeply. Engage the abdominals to draw the knees back to the middle, and repeat on the other side.
  7. Turn over for cat/cow and then a rest in child.
  8. When you feel rested float down onto your front for single leg lifts.
  9. Sacroiliac stabiliser is next: with your forehead resting on your hands, tuck toes under, firm legs and buttocks and press down into the floor. Relax well afterwards, toes pointing inwards.
  10. If you back isn’t troubing you, you can add more postures such as locust, which we practised last week, downward dog, a standing posture, or a balance. At the end spend few minutes in savasana - you may wish to lie with the knees bent with feet on the floor, or, try taking the feet out to the edges of the mat, and allow the knees to drop in towards each other.