Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
This forward bend variation will open tight shoulders and hamstrings.
Stand with three to four feet between your feet. Turn your toes in slightly and interlace the fingers in a fist behind the back.
Inhale to engage the abs and pull the hands away from the shoulders. Exhale to fold at your hips, keeping the legs and spine straight.
Hold for five deep breaths, trying to lower the hands toward the floor. Then come to stand at the front of your mat with both feet together.
Fold forward into a Standing Forward Bend. Step or hop the feet back and inhale to Upward Facing Dog, exhale toDownward Facing Dog.
Crescent Moon Pose (Reverse Warrior)
Stretch out the sides of your torso with this Warrior variation.
From Downward Facing Dog
step your right foot forward between your hands, coming into Warrior 1
. Open your hips, arms, and chest, coming into Warrior 2
From here, gently arch back and lower your left hand down, resting it on the back of your left leg. Raise your right arm overhead, feeling the stretch through the right side of the body. Make sure you continue to lower your hips, and press your front knee forward so it’s directly over your right ankle.
Remain here for five complete breaths. Then lift your torso up, place your hands on the floor, and move through a vinyasa
, coming back into Down Dog. Step your left foot forward and repeat this pose on the left side. Then come back to Downward Dog.
Tight hip flexors can put strain on the lower back, so here’s a pose to target that commonly tight area.
From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward between your palms, keeping your hands on the floor.
Lower your left knee to the floor, and release your elbows to the floor as well.
Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
After five breaths, come back onto your hands, tuck your back toes, and step your right leg back. Take a vinyasa and step your left foot forward to repeat this pose on the other side. Then work your way back to Down Dog.
One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist
This pose is great for relieving tension in your lower back.
From Downward Dog, step or hop both feet forward and come to sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and twist to the right. Plant your right hand on the floor behind you and press your left elbow against the outside of your right knee.
Stay here if this is enough of a twist, or clasp your fingers together. If it’s really easy, do a deeper bind around your right knee by holding your left wrist with your right hand, squeezing the top of your left leg with your left fingers (as shown in the photo).
Continue twisting and lengthening the spine, enjoying this twist for five breaths. Release the twist and repeat this pose with the left knee bent.
Double Pigeon Pose
Sitting at a desk all day makes for tight hips, which can lead to an achy lower back, so this effective hip-opener is a must.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your knee, shin, and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your right knee and place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.
To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest toward your legs.
Stay here for five breaths, then slowly rise up and switch legs so your left knee is on top.
Here’s an effective way to stretch your neck, upper back, and lower back.
Begin sitting with your legs extended in front of you. Slowly roll onto your back, raising your hips into the air. Interlace the fingers in a double fist to help draw the shoulder blades together, and extend the arms straight.
Extend your legs over your head, hips over your shoulders.
Hold for five breaths and then lower your hips to the floor, hugging your knees into your chest.
Happy Baby Pose
This hip-opening stretch is a great way to relieve tightness in the lower back.
After hugging your knees into your chest for a few breaths, separate your legs, holding onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
Gently use your upper-body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed.
Stay like this for five deep breaths.