It’s estimated up to 8 in 10 people in the UK are affected by back tension or pain at some point in their lives. With more of us working from home for a prolonged period, perhaps without the correct ergonomic desk set-up, it’s likely a more common problem during the pandemic.
Practicing yoga can be beneficial if you’re experiencing mild back tension, as well as to help strengthen the back to avoid future problems from developing. Give this gentle yoga routine a go to stretch out and relax your WFH back muscles.
As always, if you suffer from pre-existing back tension problems or chronic pain, consult your doctor or physiotherapist on whether it’s safe to practice physical activity.
Extended child’s pose
Kneel on the floor with big toes touching and knees spread out at hip-width. Extend your arms in front of you with palms facing the floor as you lean your body back and down to sit on your heels. Rest your forehead on the floor and remain in the pose for 3-5 breaths.
From child’s pose, sit yourself up to table-top position (on your hands and knees with hands directly under the shoulders and knees in line with the hips). Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat, tilting your sit-bone and chest towards the ceiling while you gaze gently upwards. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone and round your back as you push the ground away from you. Draw your navel towards your spine and drop your gaze towards your navel. Repeat for five to six breaths before returning to neutral spine table-top.
Downward facing dog
From table-top, spread your fingers wide and exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees away from the floor. Keeping knees slightly bent, push the floor away with your hands while you drive your hips upwards towards the ceiling and feel a stretch along your arms and back. Slowly straighten the legs, lowering the heels if this is available to you, to feel a stretch along the hamstrings. Keep the head between the upper arms while you gaze either towards your navel or between your feet. Stay here for three breaths.
From downward dog, roll yourself forward to a high plank position. Lower the body down to rest on your front with legs behind you, hip-width apart, and untuck your toes. Bring your arms up to rest your elbows directly under your shoulders, forearms resting flat on the floor and fingers facing forwards. Inhale as you press your forearms into the floor to lift your head and chest off the floor. Engage your legs and keep your hips and legs connected to the floor. Roll your outer thighs down to lengthen the lower back. Drop your shoulder blades down, keeping the base of the neck relaxed as you draw your chest forwards. Hold for three breaths and then exhale as you gently lower your torso, chest and forehead to the floor.
Downward facing dog to extended child’s pose
From here, push yourself back up to downward facing dog for a couple of breaths. Then lower your knees, big toes touching, and lean back into extended child’s pose for two to three breaths.
From child’s pose, come up to seated. Lower yourself to lie on your back and bend your knees with feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Extend your arms by your side with palms flat on the floor. Inhale and press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. As you exhale, lift your hips up and tuck the tailbone as you roll the spine off the floor. Keep shoulders pressed to the ground and engage the legs to hold the hips up. Maintain a steady breath and stay here for three to five counts. To release, on your exhale slowly roll the spine back down to the floor, starting from the shoulders.
Knees to chest
Hug both of your knees towards your chest and clasp your arms around them. Keep your back flat on the mat. As an option, you can add a slow rocking motion side to side, just an inch across the spine, to massage the lower back for a few breaths. To release, unclasp your hands and lower your knees back to the ground.
From here, you can come into savasana (corpse pose) for a few minutes. If you feel tension in your lower back in savasana, modify the pose by bending your knees with feet as wide as the mat and then letting the knees rest in towards each other. Ensure you come out of the pose slowly and calmly.
Urban practitioners can help target problem areas with our digital yoga classes and adapt to different abilities. Get in touch to book a group yoga class for your team via the Urban Business platform.