Video four is up and running! In this 3-minute clip we are focusing on gentle back-bends and gentle core work.
If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, driving, or “leaning” forward this video is for you. These exercises help release tension in the back, create the sensation of space in the body, reverse our forward movements, improve our posture and build over all strength in the body and back.
Begin by laying on your belly, and taking a few deep breathes. Become aware of any tension in your back, and keep breathing until you feel it soften. Even if you are unable to proceed into Sphinx or Locust, just staying here and breathing will help stretch the muscles of the back in a very gentle way. If you are a person who holds a lot of tension in your back, or suffers from chronic back pain, then this breathing exercise might be the only one you do (but try to do it a few minutes every day).
From our belly breathing we transition into sphinx, a stabilized back-bend (using arms for support without weight on wrists). Breathe gently here (don’t hold the breath) and hold only as long as it is comfortable for you. Back-bends help strengthen the upper body, they open the heart and improve our posture. We are in a constant forward motion in our daily lives, and this helps neutralize the spine again.
Finally we move into our locust stretches, which focus on lower-back-bend and core strengthening. With half locust you lift one leg at a time behind you, with full locust you want both legs lifted. Remember the trick with this one, is to try and keep chin aimed towards floor (often the head naturally wants to rise). Locusts will really build your inner fire, tone your muscles, open the groin, and strengthen your back and legs.
Return to belly breathing for a few minutes to integrate the benefits of these yoga exercises, while letting go of any tension that might have built up from them.
Tip: if feet do not lie comfortably when you are on belly, roll a towel up under them so the feet can rest on it.
Always consult with a doctor before beginning any new yoga routine; and remember these videos can never replace a real class with the care of a certified yoga instructor.
If “tummy time” is not a video you can do safely, you might want to try one of the other videos:
- Video 1: Let’s Lay Down (leg stretches and hip openers)
- Video 2: Spinal Movement (side stretching and twists)
- Video 3: Gentle Core and Balance (from hands and knees)
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