September means back to school, which for many translates to “back to desk.” Sitting at a desk for large periods of time can initiate fatigue in many areas of the body, but can be particularly troublesome for the lower back. Good posture and regular breaks go a long way toward prevention and the practice below will help strengthen and stretch the lower back as well as to relieve any stiffness that may arise.
Apasana (Knees-to-Chest Pose, variations)
1 – Get comfortable in corpse pose (savasana) and begin to deepen your breath for a couple minutes.
2 – Straighten and lengthen your left leg along the floor and pull the right knee gently in toward the chest with both hands (arms straight).
3 – As you exhale, draw the navel toward the spine, lengthening the lower back along the floor, and bend the elbows, pulling the knee in closer to the chest. Try to keep the extended leg active.
4 – With the inhale, let the belly soften and the knee move away from the chest (arms straighten).
5 – Repeat four times on both the left and right side.
6 – Draw both knees gently toward the chest, one knee in each hand, arms straight.
7 – On an exhale, bend the elbows, pulling both knees in closer toward the chest. Tuck the chin slightly and gently lengthen and press the lower back and sacrum toward the floor.
8 – With an inhale, let the belly soften and the knees move away from the chest.
9 – Repeat four times.
10 – Return to savasana for a couple more minutes.
Note: This practice is part of a viniyoga sequence for the lower back by Gary Kraftsow.