Do you feel like your back is constantly tight? You’re not alone, it’s more common than you think?
There are two major reasons, excluding spinal and disc injuries, that cause this problem.
Tight Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings are usually the culprits. If doing these exercises, at least five times a week doesn’t help, then I suggest going to your doctor to investigate further.
You want to be comfortable while stretching on the floor, so pick a place with carpet or use a mat. For your convenience, I have included affiliate links. See full disclosure here. The other tools that you will want to use is a foam roller and yoga brick.
Start on all fours on your mat. Gently sit back towards your heels. Allow your knees to be as wide as the mat, and let the big toes touch. Place your forehead down onto the mat. Extend your arms above your head. Take five deep breaths and try to release deeper into the pose (sitting further back to your heels). Also, feel your shoulder blades (scapulas) moving towards your spine, which should directly affect your chest (pectoralis). The chest should be wide and expand.
Most common issues in Child Pose
When someone who is very tight and having a tough time getting into Childs Pose, they should use a yoga brick. The yoga brick is a great prop to own because it will help you in this pose. Also, if you follow my other stretching blogs, it will assist you in the others.
Those of you that cannot sit back into your heels experience the head lifting away from the floor. An easy solution is to slip the brick under your forehead for stability.
Secondly, if your feet are not used to being pointed in plantar flexion(plantar flexion is when the toes point down) this pose can also cause muscle spasms in the arches of your feet. In this case, roll up a small hand towel and place it so that it supports the front part of your ankles and feet.
Hold Childs Pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat it as many times as you want or need.
Baby Cobra set-up
In baby Cobra, begin to lie face-down on the mat. Find a cozy spot to rest your head facing down. Speaking from experience, I would like to say that your forehead would be pressed into the mat, but those of us that have slightly bigger noses cannot be as comfortable!
Your hands are placed by your bra line, hugged into your torso. Elbows are bent and facing towards your feet, and your toenails should be facing the mat. Spread your toes and press and plant the big and little toe downward. Believe it or not, pressing and spreading your toes will engage your lower body.
The photo below is Cobra Pose. The range of motion is smaller for Baby Cobra.
Most common corrections for Cobra
The purpose of this pose is to stretch out your back. A common type of spine is the hyper-flexible back. From my teaching experience, most people try to get the biggest extension in this pose.
There are some who can do a large extension naturally; however, the majority are simply crunching bones in their spine. I choose Baby Cobra because I think the majority of people need to practice the basic position first, before moving ahead to more difficult poses.
Once you are ready to begin, (inhale) lift your chest and head away from the floor, and (exhale) release it down to the floor. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
Break out the foam roller
I have found that people have strong and tense glutes, which can contribute to lower back discomfort.
Sit and recline on the foam roller with your hands or forearms on the floor. Cross one leg over the other (like you would do in a chair), and lean to that side. The opposite foot can be on the ground or lifted. Take your time adjusting your weight on the roller. You want to get into the tightest part of the muscle. If it is too painful back off of the area and be cautious.
Make sure you switch sides and pay attention to what side is tighter(more painful).
Spend a few minutes on each side, and do not forget to breathe.
Test these poses many times throughout your week, and feel the benefits to stretching regularly! As always, if you have any questions please email me.