We’re back again for part 2 of our series in back strength and flexibility! If you missed the first part of the series, you can find it here.
Back flexibility is key to getting through many yoga poses and fitness moves but also an integral part of our day-to-day movements. If you’ve got a desk job, it’s even more important to give your back a little extra love! Try any of these poses (or those in part one!) to zero in on our most-complained about body part.
For this pose, you’ll start on your back with your knees bent and feet placed on the floor about hip-distance apart. Place your hands on the floor by your sides and gently lift through your hips into the pose.
For a modified version of the pose, lift a little bit less through the hips. The more you lift, the more of a challenge you’ll feel in this stretch! Add a hip-opening element to this pose and decompression through your spine by placing a yoga block underneath your back at whatever point feels best for your body. Keep your knees bending upwards or rearrange into butterfly legs (feet together, knees open). To take this further, rearrange the position and height of the block beneath you. For a little extra shoulder stretch, take the rms overhead with soft elbows.
Start this pose in a table-top position with knees and hands on the floor, making sure the hips and knees line up and the hands are placed under your shoulders. As you breathe, alternate between an arched back, shoulders rolled back and gaze coming upwards (cow pose) and a rounded spine and gaze coming onwards (cat pose).
This pose is definitely challenging, but if can be modified to suit your flexibility level. Starting in a kneeling position, press your hands into your lower back and start to slowly lean back, making sure to push your hips forwards. To take this pose further, bring your hands to your heels, let your head fall back, and continue pushing forward through your hips and arching your back!
Start small in this pose and work towards a more extended version. Some people feel dizzy or nauseous during this pose, so be mindful of that and stop when it gets to feel a bit much. If you want to take this pose further, bring your forearms down to the floor and take your hands to your knees.
The most challenging for flexibility in this set of poses, wheel is definitely a pose you need to warm up to! It’s a great option for after a class when you’ve already got your muscles warmed up!
Starting on your back, place your hands on the floor with bent knees, and your hands on the floor by your shoulders with your fingers pointing in towards your shoulders and your elbows reaching upwards. Press your feet into the floor and then lift through your hips. Press through your hands and lift through your chest and shoulders. Arch your back and engage the muscles in your buttocks. Let your head relax. For more, lift a leg or bring your forearms to the floor. Be mindful as you release out of this pose.
Puppy Dog Pose:
Puppy dog pose is definitely one of our favourites. Coming into a tabletop pose, keep your knees under your hips and extend your arms out in front of you, pressing your chest towards the mat.
An option to modify this pose is to take one of your arms and thread it underneath the opposite shoulder. Turn your head to the side, and make sure to switch sides halfway through!
For more of a shoulder stretch, place a block underneath your forearms and relax through your neck keeping your gaze down.