I recently wrote an article for the Clifton Life magazine on releasing the lower back. This pose is a wonderful pose not only for back problems but great for strengthening and improving flexibility for your legs and shoulders. We practice downward facing dog all the time in my classes and it gets easier more that you practice.
Q. I suffer from lower back problems. What can I do to alleviate the pain?
A. Back problems are one of the most common complaints in modern day life. There are plenty of exercises and asanas (postures) you can do to help alleviate lower back issues but it’s also important to find ways of future prevention. Bringing awareness to your everyday posture and alignment and strengthening core stability muscles is one of the first steps to preserving a strong back.
Daily Yoga practice is one of the most effective ways of improving and preventing back problems. The following pose is ideal for stretching the lower back and building a strong abdominal area. It will also strengthen your upper body and release the backs of the legs.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)
Come into a table top position, on your hands and knees. Spreading your fingers wide, placing your hands shoulder width apart and knees directly underneath your hips. With a deep exhalation, lift your knees and buttocks upwards; try to lift your sitting bones high and tuck your tailbone under to engage your core stability muscles. Keep your arms straight and strong and open the chest, bringing length to the sides of the body. Work towards getting your heels on the ground. Make sure that your shoulders and neck are relaxed. Breathe deep and smoothly throughout the pose.
Modification: If you have tight hamstrings, bend the knees so that you can lengthen your lower back effectively.