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Yoga to the Rescue: Three Stretches to Help Lower Back Pain

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If your job requires that you sit or stand for long periods of time, there's a good possibility that you've experienced lower back pain at one point or another. If the pain is excruciating, you should always check with a specialist to rule out the possibility of deeper conditions. However, if your lower back simply feels tense or tight, taking five minutes to practice this simple sequence of yoga postures can help alleviate your discomfort.

For best effect, practice once in the morning and once in the evening daily.

1. Stretch Your Hip-Flexors With the Bridge Pose

Lie down flat on your back on the floor. Bend your knees until they face toward the roof and place your feet hip width apart. Refine your stance by sliding your heels backward toward your hips until you can touch your heels with your fingertips.

To initiate the backbend, roll your tailbone under very slightly to lengthen your lower back. Protect your neck by looking straight upward at the ceiling. Leading with your knees, lift your hips all the way upward and off of the ground. Interlace your hands beneath you, shift side to side, and roll your shoulders under to deepen the opening of your chest. Hold the posture for five to 10 breaths.

2. Lengthen Your Hamstrings

From a reclining position, bend your legs as you did in the bridge. This time, however, keep your back and hips on the floor. Extend your right leg upward into the air and straighten it as much as you can. Wrap your hands around the back of the knee, ankle or heel. Keeping the leg straight, pull the leg over and toward the wall behind you to stretch your hamstrings. Hold for five to 10 breaths and then switch to the other side.

3. Rinse Your Back With a Supine Spinal Twist

Once you've lowered both legs, finish with a twist to both sides. To do this, extend both of your arms outward to the side of the room with your palms facing up. For the most effective stretch, make sure that both arms are placed perpendicular to the spine. Draw both knees toward your chest, and slowly drop them toward your right hand. If the knees don't come to the floor, place a block under the knees to support them. Gaze to the left and hold for 10 slow breaths. Repeat on the other side.

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