Three Levels of Yoga to Relieve Lower Back Pain - Monthly Yoga With Abi

Jan 18, 2017 at 22:37
by Abi Carver  
Yoga for Lower Back Pain Photo credit fionapeters

I wrote my first article for Pinkbike on how yoga can help to relieve lower back pain almost two years ago. It got over 100k views in the first week which blew me away. I was shocked at how many of you guys were suffering. The recommendations I've given since have had such a high success rate that I wanted to review the stretches and exercises I’ve found to be most effective. For those of you who've nailed the sequence I broke down in the original article, you might find this one a little less challenging – in response to a number of requests I received to provide a more accessible alternative – but it's always good to mix things up.

The causes of lower back pain

To clarify, I’m referring to lower back pain caused by stress sustained over a long period of time. How you got here is going to be different for each of you but the resulting pattern of muscular imbalances is going to be roughly the same.

As with all my articles, there are two basic points to remember:

1. Your body is an efficiency machine. It adapts to the position you put it in for most of the time.
2. Everything in your body is connected, so muscular imbalances have a domino effect.

Sitting for long periods of time on your bike, at a desk, whilst driving, commuting, eating or with your feet up in front of the TV leads to the following set of muscular imbalances:

- Short hip flexors (the psoas and iliacus) pull the pelvis forward causing lordosis (overarching of the lumbar spine) and compression (tightening) at the lower back
- Lack of mobility in the hips pulls the pelvis out of alignment and places stress on the lumbar spine
- Tight hamstrings and groin (adductor muscles) force you to round your back as you bend forward, increasing tension at the lower back
- A weak core and glutes forces the lower back to overwork to compensate
- A lack of mobility in the thoracic spine places stress on the lower back and can also lead to neck and shoulder pain

Lower back pain is likely to be exacerbated if you do weight-bearing exercise or sports that involve running, jumping or fast, dynamic movements which stress the lower back without stretching and releasing tight muscles.

Evaluate your level of pain

The stretches and 15-minute yoga routine I’m going to outline in this article are designed to relieve tightness in the lower back and correct muscular imbalances that are often present with back pain. They may not be suitable for more severe conditions including muscle spasms, disk injuries or spondylolisthesis.

If you're injured, please check with your doctor or physical therapist that it's safe for you to do these exercises.

PHASE 1: Stretch tight muscles

If you’re in intense pain, I recommend that you start by gently loosening up tight muscles in the area. If there is potential nerve or disc damage, you should avoid forward bends, backbends, twists and seated poses as they may aggravate your condition, so here are six supported reclining poses you can do as often as you need them. Hold each one for a minimum of 3 minutes, ideally in the evening when your muscles are warm and stretchy. You can start with just one a day and gradually build up to the full sequence.

Breathe in and out through your nose, aiming to make your exhalations twice the length of your inhalations. Count in for 4 and out for 8.

1. Legs Up The Wall

Legs Up The Wall Photo credit Paul Baker

- Sit right up close to a wall.
- Swing your legs up to vertical and come down onto your back.
- Bring your arms out by your sides, palms facing up.
- Relax fully into the pose.

2. Supported Bridge

Supported Bridge Photo credit Paul Baker

- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Check that your toes point straight ahead.
- Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Walk your feet back until your fingertips graze your heels.
- Lift your hips all the way up and put a block at the base of your spine. Yoga blocks have 3 different heights, so only go as high as is comfortable and feels therapeutic.
- Breathe deep into your belly to release your psoas.

3. Reclining Hand-To-Toe

Reclining Hand To Toe Photo credit Paul Baker

- This is a hamstring and calf stretch.
- Lie flat on your back.
- Bring your left knee into your chest, loop a strap, belt or towel around the arch of your foot and then straighten your leg as much as is possible up to the sky.
- Keep your left foot flexed and press through your heel.
- If you find yourself straining in the pose, you can bend your bottom leg and bring the sole of your right foot flat to the mat.
- Relax. Use the weight of your arms and gravity to increase the intensity of the stretch.
- When you're ready, release the pose and switch sides.

4. Dead Pigeon

Dead Pigeon Photo credit Paul Baker

- This pose stretches the glutes and outer hips.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat.
- Rest your left ankle on your right knee.
- Thread your left hand through the triangle between your legs and hold the back of your right thigh with both hands. Gently pull your leg in towards you.
- Relax your neck and shoulders.
- You can interlace your fingers around your shin to increase the intensity.
- When you're ready, release the pose and switch sides.

5. Reclining Butterfly

Reclining Butterfly Photo credit Paul Baker

- This pose releases tight hips.
- Sit on your mat, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall open in the shape of a diamond.
- Place several cushions or a couple of pillows behind you and lie back onto them.
- Let your arms fall out to the sides.
- Completely relax into the pose, allowing gravity to release tightness in your hips.
- Supporting your knees on cushions will increase the intensity of the pose.

6. Reclining Spinal Twist

Reclining Spinal Twist Photo credit Paul Baker

- This pose releases tension at the lower back.
- Lie flat on your back and squeeze your right knee into your chest.
- Bring both arms out in a T, palms facing down.
- Hook your right foot behind your left inner thigh and gently guide your right knee across your body down towards the mat, as far as is comfortable.
- If your knee doesn’t come all the way down, you can support it on a cushion or two.
- Look to the right and let go of tension in your neck and shoulders.
- When you're ready, take a deep breath in. Exhale, come back to centre and switch sides.

PHASE 2: Strengthen weak muscles

When you feel that you’re out of the danger zone, you can introduce some strengthening exercises. Try to do them every day or as often as you can, ideally in the morning when your energy and motivation levels are high. These exercises strengthen the lower back (erector spinae), abs, hips, glutes and obliques which are typically weak if you sit for much of the day. These muscles work together to support your lumbar spine, allowing you to generate maximum power through your arms and legs.

Hold them for 5-10 breaths, in and out through your nose, or as long as you can without compromising your form. It's crucial that you contract your core muscles and don't just hang out in the poses. The objective is to strengthen all the muscles that work together to support your lower back.

1. Plank

Plank

- From all fours, walk your hands forward, tuck your toes and come up into Plank.
- Spread your fingers wide and press your hands evenly into the mat. Check that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and your feet are hip-width apart.
- Try to create a straight line all the way from your heels, to your hips, to the back of your head. Engage your core and press back through your heels to straighten your legs.
- Look down at the mat to complete the alignment.

2. Side Plank

Side Plank

- From Plank, shift your weight onto your right hand and come to the outside edge of your right foot. Open your body to the left stacking your left foot on top of the right and bring your left hand to your hip.
- Make sure your right wrist is directly below your right shoulder and straighten your left arm up to the sky.
- Your ankles, hips and shoulders should all be in a straight line.
- When you're ready to come down, take a deep breath in. Exhale, come back to Plank and switch sides.

3. Locust

Locust Pose Glute strengthener

- Lie face down on the mat with your feet hip-width apart and your arms resting by your sides, palms facing up.
- Inhale, lift your chest, hands, arms and feet off the mat. Exhale, draw your shoulders back and push through the balls of your feet, looking straight down at the mat so you don't compress your neck.
- When you're ready, take a deep breath in. Exhale, come down onto the mat.
- Rest your left cheek on the mat and rock your hips from side to side to release your lower back.
- Push back to Child's pose for a few breaths.

4. Bridge

Bridge Pose

- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Check that your toes point straight ahead.
- Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Walk your feet back until your fingertips graze your heels.
- Screw your feet into the mat and lift your hips all the way up. Check that your knees point straight ahead and do not fall out to the sides or in towards each other.
- Roll your shoulder blades underneath you and come up to your edge. Interlace your fingers if you can.
- Contract your glutes to stabilise your hips.
- When you're ready to come down, take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower slowly down onto the mat.
- Bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your chest. Walk your feet to the edges of the mat and drop both knees slowly to the right, and to the left. Windscreen wiping your knees a few times to release your lower back.

PHASE 3: Increase mobility in tight joints

This 15-minute sequence is designed to increase thoracic spine (mid-back) and hip mobility, stretch your hip flexors, quads, hip rotators, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors (groin) and strengthen your lower back and abs. You can start to practice it whenever you're ready but if you feel significant discomfort in a particular pose this may be a signal that you do not yet have sufficient flexibility in that set of muscles. Only go as far into each stretch as feels comfortable.

We finish with a short diaphragmatic breathing exercise that is designed to relax tension throughout your body and calm down your central nervous system.

Practice this sequence in the evening after a ride and ideally 3-5 times a week until the pain starts to ease off. Remember to pay attention to your breathing throughout, keeping your breaths long, slow and deep.

Views: 9,495    Faves: 187    Comments: 17


Prevention is the ultimate principle of wisdom

If you’re young and pain-free or only feeling the odd niggle, remember that it’s much easier to prevent back pain than it is to heal it. Keep your back loose and healthy by putting in the time with your flexibility and mobility training now. Practicing this 15-minute sequence once or twice a week may be enough to keep you limber and supple so you can ride harder, for longer, and hopefully sustain fewer injuries along the way.

Other things you can do

1. Try not to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. Take breaks to go for a walk or do some simple stretches.
2. Be aware of your posture throughout the day, standing or sitting up tall whilst keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed.
3. Foam roll or lacrosse ball your upper and lower back, rib cage, glutes, quads and hip flexors to improve soft tissue and joint mobility.
4. Mix up your yoga routines (and all of your training) so you continue to make progress and don’t sustain repetitive strain injuries.
5. Incorporate recovery sessions. This could include yoga, breathing, massage, sauna, ice baths (my new current obsession) or just taking time off work to play and have fun.
6. Warm up and cool down before and after rides.
7. Prioritise sleep to optimise muscle tissue repair, especially on days when you’re pushing your body to the max.
8. Consider supplementing with fish oil, turmeric, and magnesium. You'll find more info on www.examine.com

As always, you can email me at abi@yoga15.com if you have any questions.

You can find this routine and all 115 videos in the Yoga 15 series available to download or to watch on subscription here: vimeo.com/ondemand/theyoga15method



Previous Yoga with Abi:

Stretches to Relieve a Tight Chest and Stiff Shoulders
The Most Effective Style of Yoga to Increase Your Flexibility
Easy 15-Minute Yoga Routine To Loosen Up Tight Joints
How To Release Tight Quads And Increase Your Power
How To Release Chronically Tight Hamstrings
A Challenging One-Hour Yoga Flow Class
Take Control of Your Mind and Push Your Personal Limits
Yoga To Relieve Pain In Between The Shoulder Blades
15-Minute Routine To Unlock Tight Hips
15-Minute Yoga Routine To Build Core Strength
Short Yoga Routine To Help With Lower Back Pain in Bikers
15-Minute Yoga Routine To Enhance Balance and Agilityl
15-Minute Post-Ride Yoga Routine
8 Quick Yoga Stretches To Do At Work


MENTIONS: @yoga15app




109 Comments

  • + 36
 It shouldnt go unnoticed that you have back pain. I let it go and Im 18. Well last year I find out that I have arthritis in my lower back. It was messing with my knees when I pedal. Yoga isnt something that along can so much help the arthritis/pain. But I will say, please if you have constant back pain or something, dont keep riding. Go get it checked out.
  • + 23
 YES, PLEASE, EVERYONE, Do NOT ignore your back...

I went to work for two weeks after doing two days of heavy lifting and never complained, thinking the pain I felt was no big deal. Lifted some stuff again, more pinching and pain. Decided enough was enough, started off to the doctor, and he gave me the standard medicine and some advice, and sent me to a specialist, a very reputable (and huge) spine center nearby. Short version? Myelopathic impacted hernia, L5-S1 (sacrum), and it is shifting daily, so my spine is literally a ticking clock. I have, according to the Dr, 6 months max before the vertebrae shifts and settles enough to completely cut off, or "impact" the nerve and render my left leg (and maybe more, talking to guys here...) immobile and useless.

Your spine is EVERYTHING.

Without it, you can't stand, walk, jump, hold your kids, hug your wife... nothing.

Take care of yourselves, guys and gals. You only get one "you", and maybe not forever!

(The fact that I don't have sufficient insurance coverage to get worked on is a different topic, and not for this time, but I digress...)
  • + 8
 @togood2die: I kept getting told in the political thread that the U.S. has the best medical care in the world. Sure, if you have the right insurance or can afford it.

Sorry, just the thought of someone not getting medical care because of costs really irks me. Also sorry to hear about your personal situation. Hoping you have a good out come some how.
  • + 3
 @inverted180:
Well, like I said, it's not the place for it, but it can be fixed.
But yeah, thanks. If I can get it fixed, I'll get a Jeffsy and be back at it!
before I was hurt, I was doing Abi's yoga all the time! Even got my wife on it!
  • - 11
flag kbonesddeuce (Jan 20, 2017 at 7:58) (Below Threshold)
 @inverted180: All you have to do is not make very much $ and the govt will give you healthcare, as well as pay your rent. The receptionist at my office has a nicer apartment than me and pays less than half what I do. Oh and if youre gonna have a kid, definitely don't get married. They'll kick you some money for that too.

Why work harder if a promotion means less benefits from the gov't?

edit - sorry, I hate politics but I couldnt resist.
  • + 2
 I do deep tissue massage twice a month and it isnt getting better. She is suggesting Acupuncture at this point, next is surgery. I subscribed to Abi's Videos last year and do them twice a week. It helps but back pain is still there. I ignored it when I was young.
  • + 2
 @owlie: I have a vertabrea that pushes inward causing the one above it to have too much movement, and the one below too little. My miraccle guru chiropracter found it and told me to get x rays. I have to use a special little pillow thing on my back to keep it healthy for like 10 minutes. The do balancing exercises that strengthen little muscles for my back. He said no massages by normal people. I have to get them down by someone who is fimiliar with what I have. You should seek for someone that is deeply in the medical field. Not just a doctor though. My doctor said its not possible for me to have arthritis. She gave me an appology when she saw the X Rays
  • + 0
 @owlie: Remind you its in the morning, there are definitely a few typos, my bad haha
  • + 4
 @togood2die: good news: today is raise your right arm-egeddon. trump/penis are going to repeal obamacare and make 'murica great again! finally
  • + 3
 @owlie: You most likely have tms. Read Healing back pain by Dr. Sarno and I bet you will improve.
  • + 3
 @togood2die: I unfortunately ignored my back until I hurt it. Now I live to yoga.........
  • - 1
 @inverted180: Same in Canada. Not *as* bad as U.S. but you if don't have $$$ or the right insurance/ benefits?... you're pretty boned.
  • + 1
 @upchuckyeager: hopefully! Im one that lost my good private insurance. Being able to buy across statelines is gna be great for consumers!
  • + 1
 @togood2die: I almost feel I should have started with "prevention is the ultimate principle of wisdom" after reading your story. Thank you for putting it up here. So much luck with your rehab.
  • + 2
 @Mattock4130: We get screwed here to if you don't have good employers privided dental, pharma, etc... true We just aren't as screwed I guess.

Yet a decent amount (minority) of people still want to do away with our public health.
  • + 2
 @owlie: Acupuncture was great for me, nothing else touched the pain.
  • + 25
 Abby15 changed my life with her original article on here two years ago. I had suffered lower back pain for years and always just put it down to lots of riding and windsurfing straining the muscles. I began doing the 15 min video a few times a week and it has made a huge difference. I don't wake with a sore back every day like I used to and I am generally more flexible which has improved my riding and windsurfing. I have even downloaded more videos from her great yoga app and try to do them at least three times a week. Great for the body and soul, just wish I had started earlier in my life. Thanks Abby
  • + 15
 I also need to say a big "thanks" to Abi.

I started doing Abi's yoga more or less regularly two years ago after her video on pinkbike. Unfortunately, I paused for a couple of month exactly around the time when we moved to our new house (mainly being to lazy to fit in my Yoga routine in between work and planning to move and finally moving to our new house). Kind of unsurprisingly, after we had moved to our new house (which involved quite some heavy work and lifting), I suffered from severe lower back pain - went to the doctor who helped me to get rid of the biggest blocking with something like "assisted Reclining Spinal Twist", but this also only helped when combined with regular (!) yoga about 3-4 times a week. Since then I made it a habbit to do it in the evenings before going to bed. It also helped a lot to get rid of the pain in the shoulders which I had when sitting too long in front of the desk.
And finally riding on the bike also feels much better if you don't start off with back pain already - and you really notice that yoga strains muscles which tend to be less used during biking.

What I like about Abi's kind of Yoga is that it is efficient, targets folks like us which at least think to have stayed young (not the typical clips you find on youtube for elder people etc) and it doesn't have the spiritual fuzz around like some other Yoga classes. But still it's different from other exercises due to flow of the routines (stretching followed by strength, not to forget relaxing at the beginning and end etc) and the focus on breathing correctly.

So, @Abi: thanks again! Please keep up the good work, really like the articles here on pinkbike, but also the app and all the videos you make.
  • + 5
 Ditto what MrFish said, minus the windsurfing. Life changing.
  • + 1
 @mrfish Could you post the link to that particular article that helped you?
  • + 3
 @sopro13: www.pinkbike.com/video/397127 this is the one I find most helpful with cycling related lower back pain.
  • + 6
 Amazing. So happy to hear the yoga is helping with your riding, windsurfing and pain relief. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.
  • + 7
 @andreas2634: Thank you so much. That's awesome. I have lots more content planned for you guys this year.
  • + 4
 Thank you @iamamodel.
  • + 6
 Flexibility never seems like an issue until you try a few of these poses, and realize you have a solid foot or two of movement before you're anywhere close to where she is..

I barely cased a double last year, and my whole back locked up for a few weeks.. I wish I would've started earlier and only had to maintain, rather than build flexibility!

Thanks for the targeted/free tips!
  • + 1
 My pleasure. You just got to be consistent with your stretching.
  • + 7
 Abi to herself : Feel the sensation in all ten fingers as you write down the best yoga articles on pinkbike. Breathe in... "click post" breathe out...
  • + 7
 Was in the gym today trying to stretch out the hamstrings. Thanks for adding some stretches to my repetoire.
  • - 1
 It's a biggie, short or tense (or both) hamstrings make it impossible to keep a decent riding stance with slightly bent knees and near horisontal torso. And then all the can of worms related to deadlifting and sht.
  • + 1
 @yoga15app: Thanks. Maybe one day I'll be able to touch my toes. Dare to dream!
  • + 1
 @oldfut: the trick is to bend your knees
  • + 1
 @oldfut: Maybe you will and maybe you won't but you'll definitely feel more supple!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I blame my parents for my birth defect of abnormally short hamstrings. Ha!
  • + 1
 @oldfut: exercise, stretch, foam roll, repeat
  • + 7
 So soothing. When the robots take over, they will use Abi's voice to keep us from revolting.
  • + 4
 what do you mean "when"? . . .
  • + 2
 Yeah, how do you know she's not one of them and they're just pacifying us with exercise and fancy metal tubes with wheels attached to them?! They're probably using ebikes to power the hordes. Put those silly meat sacks to work eh!
  • + 1
 @TomCastellani: haha! e-bikes, perfect!
  • + 3
 Thanks Abi, even though I don't think I actually sit too much (I do much of my work standing and walking) many of my activities indeed shorten the hamstrings and front end (running, running up stairs, mountain unicycling, mountain biking, jumping on the trampoline etc). I don't suffer from lower back pain but I do like to avoid it of course. So on your advice I mixed things up a little. We now also got a trapeze, rings and an areal yoga mat. In the areal yoga mat I can do an inverted butterfly (so a butterfly hanging upside down, is that as good as a reclining butterfly?), in the rings I can hang upside down stretched and on the trapeze I can just swing a little, still good fun. Is this actually as beneficial as I think it is? At least it isn't too hard and it is fun Smile .

I've got to say my girlfriend is a big fan of your style. She has commenced her teacher training as Ashtanga Yoga teacher and will give her first lesson this weekend. She's now working from a book by David Swenson. Looking at those pictures there, your exercises look very nice and doable. Thank you for that Smile .
  • + 3
 Hanging from a trapeze is great traction for your lower back. Keep it up! And wish your girlfriend luck from me. Taking my teacher training was the best decision I ever made. Smart girl!
  • + 1
 @yoga15app: Thank you Abi! Even though she mostly does this to improve and gain a better understanding, she'll definitely do some instructions every now and then. She has one student in her group who does this in her gap year after school. Now that's clever! As a qualified instructor she could fund her study, do workshops on holidays or even during festivals and events. And I guess you're right. Regardless of what your other decisions were, becoming a yoga instructor sure has been a great one Smile !

Unfortunately I can't hang yet, the broken collarbone is holding me back. But I'll definitely do it again when I'm cleared for that. I've only had two yoga workshops. One was aireal yoga, the other was acro-yoga. I'm loving the fun element in there.
  • + 2
 End of last week I was in the shower and had a whimsical thought that I would start practicing some Yoga. I always feel so taught and it's noticable when i'm trying to wash my back and other contorted movements like that. So figured something like Yoga would help my body with it. So this has come at a super good time because I intend to begin my new regime this week!! Cheers!
  • + 8
 My thoughts often turn to these videos in the shower also.
  • + 3
 All the best ideas come to you in the shower!
  • + 1
 @yoga15app: Hey Abi,

So I've done a couple of little sessions of Yoga yesterday and the day before. I can definitely feel the tightness trying to hold each pose! I'm looking forward to the day I notice a change in that.

Just wondered, about the "post-ride" oriented stuff; what sort of time between the end of the ride and doing the Yoga should I leave? Obviously I normally have a drive home from the trails, followed by bike cleaning and getting in the shower (For more whimsical ideas!) and a rest/cuppa. Is it still going to be as effective say 3 or so hours after I stopped riding?

Thanks again!
  • + 1
 I too have this question.
  • + 2
 I've a huge debt of gratitude to Abi for her lower back / spinal mobility routines.

After a fractured spine and lots of back pain which ruined sleeping and then my entire day I'm back to full strength and even better mobility. It started working in about two days.

Never a day passes without doing at least one routine and my entire body feels better for it.

I've said thanks before Abi and I'll say it again. Thanks a million.
If you've not tried it people, get into it if you can. It worked wonders for me.
  • + 2
 Thank you so much @The-Reverend. It makes such a difference to know how impactful these stretches can be and to hear your stories. At least, I know I'm going in the right direction!
  • + 2
 I have suffered with back pain as a mixed result of very poor posture (sit for work) and snowboarding. This has demolished a disk in my back and I have pain almost every day. I can tell you that doing the Reclining spinal twist for even 5 min cuts the pain almost completely.
  • + 2
 See how you get on with the other poses in Phase 1. You can hold them for 5, 10, 15 mins.
  • + 1
 @yoga15app: Thanks for the words of encouragement Abi!
  • + 1
 @spinko: If you find that Reclining Spinal Twist is the pose that gives you the most relief, find a way to let go of as much tension as you can when you settle into it. You can do this by supporting your knees on cushions and by focussing on making your breaths slower and deeper. This way you will get max relaxation and recovery for the muscles at your lower back.
  • + 2
 Very well done Abi! Pinkbike, and its followers, are very lucky to have such a bright voice and advocate for a healthy lifestyle amongst the mountain biking community. I would remind pink bike followers to be respectful with regards to opinions and comments. Not only actions, but words matter. Healthy 2017.
  • + 1
 Thank you so much for your support @drobs71.
  • + 2
 This came at a great time! Ive been having issues after we got a dump of snow. Ive also found out I have the pelvic tilt she's talking about. Tight hamstrings lower back and weak core. I have been planking lately and it's almost fixed the pain. Thanks for this.
  • + 2
 No problem. I hope these exercises help.
  • + 1
 Stage one is classic Yin yoga, I personally do it every Sunday and it made a huge difference in 4 weeks. I still do it a year later and very seldom do I get lower back pain. I also work out 4 times a week which probably helps too. Also, don't forget about rolling out your glutes when you have lower pain ache. It really helps.
  • + 1
 Good yoga knowledge! There are some more poses on my site if you run out of ideas:

www.yoga15.com/blog/restorative-sequence-for-athletic-recovery

I'd be curious to hear which poses give you the most relief, especially for back pain.
  • + 1
 @yoga15app: sorry for the delayed response. My favorite posses are 7-10 on your site. My tight hips and legs used to cause me some problems in my posture and walking around which caused lower back pain. I foolishly went to my doctor, she sent me down the usual avenues to no avail. I'd read articles similar to yours (not as well written of course) and decided to give it a go. There is a small family run studio 2 blocks from my house which makes it easy for me. I also find a 3 minute squat with 1" blocks under my heels really help me. For the record my favorite pose is shavasana. Some struggle with it, I often doze off.
  • + 1
 @Whackthehack: savasana used to be the hardest pose for me - I always wanted to get onto the next thing. Now I look forward to it like you. I consider my yin classes a triumph if a couple of students fall asleep! It's super healthy to let your body rests when it needs to. As Banksy says: "If you get too tired. Learn to rest not to quit.”
  • + 1
 I've suffered quite a bit from lower back pain over the last 2 or 3 years, I think initially caused by poor lifting technique whilst renovating my house. At times it has been pretty frustrating, and I thought it was going to have a big impact on my riding going forward. I've been through a few bouts of physio, and for me it's now entirely controllable through the exact sorts of exercises in this video. I go through the basic yoga primary series most mornings for 10 minutes to keep it mobile, and I'm trying to build up strength too through the Locust / Boat exercise a few times a week. Personally I would recommend this to anyone who suffers - it's free to try, won't do you any harm if you go at it slowly and sensibly (don't try to force your body or be a hero). Personally I noticed big results in terms of less pain and more movement within a week.
  • + 1
 Awesome. Let me know if there's anything I can help you with.
  • + 1
 I always have lower back pain, so i decided to give it a try. Man should have taped it.. how can it look so simple and be so fucking hard! trying to listen, watch the video, breathe relax and do the poses... Im gonna need more trainig time! she gives so manyy instructions hahaha
  • + 2
 Eventually you should be able to do the sequence without looking. That's the idea anyway!
  • + 2
 @yoga15app: yeah I guessed that! I just thought it was funny and shared it, Im not the most flexiblele guy or well coordinated...I will keep trying and hopefully not have to look in some time. Thanks for the answer, and don´t get me wrong the videos are great and super useful!
  • + 2
 @stefanfresh: Hahaha! These vids are way harder than they look but the good thing is you can get good fast. Let me know if you have any questions.
  • + 3
 I do the post ride routine and wouldn't do anything if Pinkbike wasn't posting these clips. Thanks Pinkbike.
  • + 1
 Dead pigeon for a few minutes each leg will change your life. I am always totally blown away at the difference in lower back, hamstring, groin, and outer thigh tension afterwards.
  • + 1
 Agreed. I would recommend doing it after every ride to release tension at your lower back.
  • + 2
 I think it's also pretty good if your job means spending your whole day seating in front of the computer as I think it releases tension in the piriformis muscle.
  • + 1
 @Will-narayan: Exactly. A tight piriformis can be a significant player in back pain.
  • + 1
 That's good info. I have spondylolisthesis and it is good to know I am in the right track. I've been doing several of the moves you are showing here and they in fact, do help me. Thanks again Abi.
  • + 2
 My pleasure @robbienroll.
  • + 1
 Fantastic offering as always @yoga15app, thank you. I've been having to rein in the exercise recently due to an achilles strain and this set was good for me to refocus and get the yoga back in to my routine again.
  • + 2
 Awesome. I caught you just at the right time!
  • + 1
 I wouldn't mind having Abi go a little slower in her transitions. The videos are really helpful, struggle to keep up with the poses at the speed she goes
  • + 2
 I'm sorry! In the beginning, feel free to stop and start the video as much as you need to until you master the transitions.
  • + 1
 I can't rest my legs upwards 3 minutes long. They become numb very quickly. Does that reflect to a bigger problem?
The dead pigeon pose looks great but it destroys my knees!
  • + 3
 All about that Reclining Butterfly
  • + 3
 It looks like the most chilled position. have to watch out not to fall alsleep
  • + 2
 That's my fav pic
  • + 3
 I don't think I wanna get that close to my feet TBH.
  • + 1
 Every one of these poses put forward to help with lower back pain also help avoid patella femoral syndrome. 2 for one =)
  • + 1
 Agreed. Thank you for adding that.
  • + 2
 It was fantastic! thank you Abi!
  • + 2
 Good to hear! Thank you.
  • + 3
 paint your nails in red
  • - 1
 Haha My back is so fucked I can't even bend it to do yoga . I went with a undiagnosed broken back . As mentioned if your back is hurting go get it checked out Don't rely on yoga to cure your pain . Go see a dr
  • + 2
 Yoga as a form of stretching (increasing mobility) and stabilizing the core does help people who haven't broken their backs to not have lower back pain Big Grin If you can't touch your toes with straight legs then do anything that can make you touch them. That may involve seeing a doctor yes. But if you go to a Yoga class and see perfectly average people doing sht you can't that may be a good indicator that something is wrong with you and that you may need to see that doc. A good one. Docs are like bike mechanics, terrible ones, excellent ones and all in between. I've been to a doc who almost fkd up my shoulder completely. The next doc I went to went red in anger after hearing what the previous one did. And that first dude was "athletic injury specialist..." I had a raptured tendon holding shoulder to the chest but it was all the muscles in the shoulder hurting (since they had to compensate for the lack of stability). So he was stretching my shoulder in all possible directions, mainly backwards. I got out with 1 month rehab, could have been a 6 months off. Fkng idiot. My buddy ent with lower back pain and knee pain, two docs told him that he can't ride anymore. Fkng bravo. 6 years of medicine school and 10 years of practice to come up with that conclusion. Guy went to third doc, got on a good physio and is a happy healthy ripper.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: yes, if you have constant pain, first see a doctor to see if it something severe. Mine unblocked my spine with some stretching (it cracked quite a bit during these exercises but I felt the relief immediately) but he said it will only last if I do exercises regularly (which was damn true see above my other post). He gave me some very easy exercises for the first week to not overdo the stressed muscles, but then I did Abi's yoga which helped a lot to stay pain free. If I stop for a couple of days and sit too long in front of the desk (which unfortunately is the biggest part of my work) I feel it getting worse pretty soon - doing some yoga and all is good again ;-).
  • - 3
 @andreas2634: i had lower back pains before I got on off season training programs. To the point where I couldn't pedal standing for longer than a minute. To the point where I had to quit XC Marathon after my lower back gave up. These days I get lower back pain only on days when my cardio and leg strength are so good that I am going full out for 3 hours of going up and down, bunnyhopping and lifting the front wheel a lot. Then the lower back becomes the weakest link. I suspect it has to do with mobility and trunk stability as well as correct movement patterns for exercising certain actions on the trail.
  • - 1
 Making that hip hinge work right is the priority. For injury prevention and for performance. Always. It's about having no skeletal issues, getting mobility and stability. But then it is about the skill of getting the right movement pattern and coodrination. For instance: if you learn to do manuals in the beginning you will strain your shoulders and lower back a lot. Once you get good at it, the front wheel lift becomes almost effortless due to developing muscle groups and getting right coordination of the whole posterior chain (from the top of your head to your toes - no matter the bike (yes DH bike or 29ers with long stays will be harder, but still). Then keeping it up using proper technique also plays a big role. Same with deadlift. The better form you get, the more you lift and less likely you are to get injured. Strenght and power are a side effect. There's been plenty of people complaining on knee pain, puttig it on Q-factor, pedal type, shoe type, cadence, bike fit - you ask them, how's your general mobility and core stability? Do you exercise off the bike? Do you ever pedal standing? Many check "No" on everything. Why do roadies get so much into such issues? Because they ride in one position for hours. In a fkng terrible position for a human body to be in, because roadie position is a compromise between biomechanics and aerodynamics. And then instead of beefing up on the gym a bit, many will tell you that thye want too much mass. So in terms of cross training they go running or swimming. It's ridiculous what regular people are told to do in roadie media. Everything focused on what pros do. Pros who have that base and the rest is just details. It is horrible what is the typical popular read in training tips on some sites. And then they tell MTBers to do volume on road to get better cardio and then be faster in that way. If you are working by the desk all week and have time for 2-3 training sessions in the week (like 1-3h) and you hit the road bike, how much time you have left for core and mobility. Then you hit the trails on the weekend and wear yourself out. Not to mention folks who do little and then hit some big trip to Alps for 2 weeks. Madness.

Mastering Manual and bunnyhop is one of the best things to do for injury prevention. Done right forces your body move right Smile
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Don't always agree with you, but I agree with most of this!
  • + 1
 Reclining Butterfly.... That"s one I can do! #Lazyoffthebike
  • + 1
 Thanks Abi, I will surely try that one too! Smile
  • + 1
 Let me know how you get on.
  • + 0
 100k views in first week... I guarantee you most of those kids aren't "suffering"...
  • + 1
 #beeryoga
  • + 1
 abi is hot
  • + 1
 I'm satisfied
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