But despite all this variety there is one thing that a lot of them have in common – lower back tension or discomfort.
It is probably the most common complaint that I hear as a yoga teacher. So this month, I am going to share with you a Yin yoga pose that helps to release lower back tension by focusing on opening one of the main culprits that creates this discomfort, the hip flexors.
Most people spend a large proportion of their day sitting, sitting for breakfast, sitting in the car or on the bike to and from work, sitting at work, sitting at lunch, sitting for dinner and then perhaps sitting to watch TV.
In between all this sitting, exercise may happen, and that requires running, jumping, kicking and so on.
During all of this sitting and exercise there is a lot of stagnant bent holds, pressure and force being put through your hip flexors – this creates a shortening of these muscles and results in a compression in the lower back.
None of this is very conducive to open, free, happy movements of the hips – but our Yin yoga pose for this month, the twisted dragon pose, definitely is.
The dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good fortune. The twisted dragon is the Yin yoga gift of good fortune for your suffering caused by tight hips and bestows these lovely benefits:
• Opens the obliques
• Deep hip and groin opener
• Targets the hip flexor on the back leg
• Stretches the hamstring on the front leg
• Also stretches the abductor on the front leg
• Assist with relief of sciatica
• Opens lower back
• Strengthens the ankle
• Stimulates the kidney and liver meridians
Please follow these steps when practising this Yin yoga pose:
1. Start with your right foot in front and left behind you on the floor
2. Right knee is directly above the ankle and is fixed in this position
3. From here slide your left knee as far as you can away from the right heel, you will feel a stretch starting in the left hip.
4. Beginners, you will keep your right foot flat on the floor and lean to the left with your torso, right hand on the floor. (See photo one.)
5. If you can progress from the beginner variation, you will turn your right heel in towards your hip at 45 degrees and lift the inside line of the foot to the ceiling, leaning to the left, right elbow will touch the floor. (See photo two.)
6. Once you have leant left, place the right hand on the right knee and press it out sideways away from the body.
7. Look over your left shoulder.
8. Your hips are sinking and your chest is lifting and leaning in the opposite direction to your knee.
9. Hold here for 2-3 minutes, work on long deep breaths with a focus on longer slower out breaths to stimulate a deeper release.
10. Repeat on the opposite side.
“Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.” – Noela Evans.
Happy stretching, Metta, Kim oxo.
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. she offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions. Contact: www.mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086 276 9174.
The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.