On the 11th December, it’s International Mountain Day – a day to celebrate and raise awareness about indigenous peoples and minorities who live in mountain environments. There are so many cultures, traditions and customs we don’t often know about so the fact that this day exists is amazing. And over in the Helen Sian India family, we’re celebrating it with standing poses like Mountain! If you’re lucky enough to have a standing desk but unlucky enough to get achy from it, or generally have an achy back you’ll benefit hugely from this standing yoga to help with back ache.
How can standing yoga help with back ache?
When we stand or sit for long periods of time, we typically end up getting relaxed or a little lazy with our muscles and end up forgetting about core and posture. When we don’t have our core looking after our bodies, our lower back and shoulders take the brunt of our weight. All this does is put extra undue pressure on our bodies that we don’t need, and we end up with horrible back ache.
Not only does back ache affect us physically with these aches and pains (which of course affects other things like sleep and energy), back ache and bad posture takes a toll on us emotionally. When we stand tall and proud, we release more testosterone and drop in cortisol levels (known also as the ‘stress hormone’), and the opposite goes for when we slouch and hunch our shoulders. With just 2 minutes of standing yoga to help with back ache, you’ll not only be feeling pain-free but more confident, relaxed and powerful too.
How can I make standing yoga work for me?
I know it isn’t the easiest to remember to stretch, move and do good things for our bodies, especially when there is work that needs to be done. I work with so many corporates, and on a daily basis I hear ‘I don’t even have time for lunch’. So how can you expect yourself to have time to stretch? Well, you know that feeling when you’ve just had a cup of coffee, and you feel more alert, more engaged and more focused? Well that’s what you feel when you’ve done 2 minutes of stretching. The difference is it’s free, your sleep will improve and not worsen from it, and all you need is yourself. Start with these points and you’ll be golden.
- Remember your motivation – just like above, remind yourself you will feel more focused, more engaged and more alert from stretching. You’ll also get a better nights sleep, feel more confident and get rid of that annoying ache. Only good things here!
- Set a reminder – I have a watch that tells me if I haven’t moved for an hour, but if you are ‘fancy’ watch-less, you can easily set hourly reminders. Pop them on your phone and on your computer and make sure to pair it with a phrase that keeps you motivated to actually do it. Because we all know how easy it is to turn off the reminder and keep doing what we’re doing – except without a stretch break our mental and physical ability will just keep decreasing… we aren’t robots!
- Keep it simple – this standing yoga to help with back ache is the simplest thing you can do. The poses are so straight-forward you’ll have no excuse not to do them.
Standing yoga to help with back ache
All these poses are Hatha, so they’re really nice and simple and you can do them anywhere. They’re targeted to help with all back ache so you’ll feel pain-free, confident and relaxed once you’ve done a few!
The simplest of them all, and the one I suggest doing most. Whenever you feel your posture slipping and the aches coming back, whip your body into shape with this beauty. Stand with your feet directly under your hips with your weight evenly balanced between your feet. Keep your knees soft and not locked and your belly and tailbone nice and neutral (not super tucked under or tooched out). Relax your shoulders back and down and turn your palms forwards keeping your arms straight. Keep your gaze forward and soft and breathe here for a few moments.
Keep your legs in the same position as Mountain (feet under hips, knees soft) and bring your arms up to shoulder height with your hands faced down. Relax your shoulders down and on your out-breath keep your hips glued forwards as you twist to one side gazing over your fingertips. Come back to the middle on your inhale, and exhale to twist to the other side. Twist a little more each time and repeat 4-6x.
We have two options here – eagle with just arms or with legs too. If you want to chill out and keep both feet on the floor, start by giving yourself a nice big hug. Walk your hands as far round your shoulders as you can so your elbows are either stacked or crossing further over. Unravel the top of your arms and bring either the back of your hands together or if you can, your palms together. Lift your elbows to shoulder height and drop your shoulders. Hold here for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
If you fancy giving the legs a go too to further open up your lower back, start by shifting your weight into one leg. Float the other foot up and bend slightly through your standing leg, wrap the lifted leg up and over and either tuck your foot on the outside or inside of your shin, remembering to keep your hips facing forward. Hold for a few breaths then switch over!
Standing Downward Dog
This is my absolute fave – it stretches everything out. Stand about a leg distance away from a desk or table and place your hands on the top (you might need to lean forward to do this). As you breathe out, drop your chest to the floor and push your bum back. If you need you can bend your knees, just make sure you’re getting your back nice and flat. Hold here for a few breaths, dropping your head between your shoulders.
And that’s it! Repeat these as often as you like – they take 2 minutes and make a dramatic impact on your back aches and pains and confidence levels.
Want to go a step further and reduce all aches and pains in your body? Join me and my Leading Ladies over in my Yoga LIVE group where we get together 3x a week to do 20 minute live sessions. We focus on calming our busy brains and strengthening our over-used bodies so we can sleep better, love better and live better for just $10 a month. And you can get 2-weeks free if you join today. Join us right here and I can’t wait to see you blossom.