Everyone has aches and pains, and sure that's a part of life. But, for me I know that sometimes a little low back discomfort can really throw off my whole day. I also know that a lack of mobility, and the compression that builds up from sitting, can, over time, build up to bigger problems.
Compression in the lower spine can lead to reduced mobility in spinal joints, joint fusion and build up of scar tissue. Prolonged periods of sitting can also compress your sciatic nerve. Ouch! This major nerve descends from your low back and branches off into your backside and down your legs.
So, when I am feeling tense in my low back, or I've been sitting too long, I turn to some skills that my Yoga asana practice has gifted into my life. Half Sun Salutations or "Half As".
Simple Sun Salutes.
Half Sun Salutes are a great way to move in your office (or after a long video conference).
Standing in a modified mountain pose, step your feet slightly wider, outstretch your arms to make a "y" shape (think Y M C A). Then slightly engaged the glute and lift your chest towards the sky to bring the body into a very slight backbend.
Hold and breath for 5-10 breaths.
Malasana - Garland Pose
Sometimes this pose is also called yogi squat. After big standing pose, keep your feet slightly wide and turned out, then squat as low as possible with the hips sinking down towards your heels. Bring your hands to your heart and use your elbows to leverage the knees wide and hold the pose.
Stay for 5 - 10 breaths.
You can finish this little sequence with a moment of savasana with the knees bent, or throw your legs up the wall!
Julia Lopez is a yoga teacher, personal trainer, and Founder of Practice Everywhere.