When you experience back pain, the first thing you want to do to release your comfort is to create length and space in your spine.
This is the version of Wide Leg Forward Fold I recommend you do whenever you feel a pain in your back.
Here’s a story of how powerful this exercise can be.
A couple of years ago, I was visiting the doctor for my annual checkup. It was a Monday morning, around 8:30 a.m., and I was obviously the first patient of the day.
The nurse shuffled into the room to greet me in an obvious state of severe discomfort. I’ve now taught yoga for 21 years and I can tell by the way she moved that she was really suffering.
“May I help you?” I asked the nurse.
It turned out that back pain had become an unwelcome friend in her life. No amount of chiropractic or visits to the doctor had brought her relief. So she simply said “yes.”
I taught the nurse how to do this version of Wide Leg Forward Fold with her arms on the examining table. I recommended she hold the pose for 5 minutes.
Since I could only use one yoga pose to help her, I wanted her to do it long enough to lengthen out the compressed portions of her spine.
The doctor walked in while the nurse was still performing Wide Leg Forward Fold. Understanding what was going on, the doctor allowed the nurse to keep performing yoga while beginning my own examination.
After 5 minutes, the nurse came out of the pose, totally relieved. The doctor was so happy I had helped her nurse that she gave me my office visit for free!
I later went back to the office and gave the nurse a free hour of yoga instruction, showing her even more poses she could do at home to improve the health of her spine.
Here’s how I recommend you perform this pose if your back is hurting.
- Stand in front of a bed, chair or table.
- Bring your feet wide apart – so wide that if you had your arms straight out from your body your ankles would be directly under your wrists.
- Turn your feet in as if you were pigeon toed.
- Press down on the outside edge of your legs as you pull upwards on the inside edge of your legs.
- Put your thumbs in your goins and fold at the hips, placing both hands on the bed, chair or table in front of you.
- Tilt your tailbone upwards as you pull your belly towards your spine.
- Keep your arms as straight as possible.
- Hold 1 minute as you lengthen your spine.
- Unlocks your sacroiliac joint.
- Relieves back pain.
- Relaxes your spine.
- Creates space between your vertebrae to traction your spine gently.
- Brings your spine into alignment.
- Be sure to breathe deeply and relax!
If you would like a personal postural assessment to understand why your back hurts and what you can do about it, call 678-612-8816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To join Catherine’s ongoing yoga classes, follow the directions at this link. We meet Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Thursday mornings from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Private lessons meet by appointment Monday through Friday.
Photo of cat pose courtesy of Diane Fulmer of Savannah, Georgia.