This month, rather than a specific asana, we have chosen to share with you one of the most powerful ways to keep your lower back and spine healthy, flexible and aligned. It is called the Sacro-lumbar release. This sequence is best used as a preventative to back pain, rather than when you are in the acute phases of back pain. If you have got a back condition currently, please do go gently with this one, and build up the strength and length of the movements when you are more comfortable.
Eight out of ten of us experience some form of back pain during our lives from a dull ache, to a shooting pain and anything in between! Our sacrum, especially the lumber spine joins the sacrum at L5, is a very important part of our spinal support. The sacrum consists of 5 vertebra, which throughout the late teens and the twenties, becomes fused into one bone. This bone holds much of the weight of the torso and upper body, therefore has to be very strong. It was also referred to as the ‘sacred bone’ by the ancient Greeks and Romans, amongst other reasons because this is usually the last bone in the body to decay it was therefore thought that this was the bone around which the soul could be regenerated in the afterlife.
Sacro-lumbar Release sequence.
1. Standing with the feet at shoulder width apart, rise both arms up to the right and pause at shoulder height.
2. Allow both arms to drop, then describe a full circle over to the left, up above and back to the right. Simultaneously drop the arms down to the centre line, and as the arms circle round to the left, step back with the right foot, placing it behind the stationary left foot. Almost as if you were sinking down into a curtsy. Arms stay at shoulder height out to the left. Pause here and then pull the right hand back towards your right ear, as if drawing a bow. Open and expand the chest.
3. Release the arms down to the centre line as you step the right foot back to centre. Allow the arms to continue up and over head describing a full circle. As the arms lower past the hips and move out to the right at shoulder height, step back with the left foot, placing it behind your stationary right foot. Sinking down into a curtsey and puling back with the left hand towards the left ear, again as if drawing a bow.
Repeat a few times to either side. If you back is strong, you can lower the depth of the curtsey each time by taking the back leg just a little further away and sinking lower through the knees.
To complete step the feet back to centre and finish the circle of the arms. Pausing in tasasana, standing tall and strong.