My 3 most valuable tips to soften a stiff back.

As you already know if you’ve read my previous posts, I have struggled with back issues, leading to difficulty in getting flexibility along the posterior chain of myofascia (meaning the line of fascia and muscles that runs from under your feet through the backside of your body, all the way to your eyebrows). Over the years, I have tried many asanas stretching methods and exercises to get flexible in my back and hamstrings. After a lot of research I landed on these three exercises/ asanas to be the most effective. This post might be a bit technical, but bare with me, and try it out if you like to 🙂

1. Releasing the psoas:

iliopsoas5
Psoas and QL from the front

The psoas muscles is one of the primary muscles that can cause a stiff back. If the psoas is tight, it will pull on your spine so that the spine also gets tight. My psoas muscle has so far in my yoga practice not been responding to stretching, but it is responding a lot to releasing techniques! To do this technique, massage slowly from about two inches to the side of your navel and down along the psoas (see picture). Use either your thumb or lay on a tennis ball or other suitable device or get help from a friend to do this. Don’t rub or move your thumb, just let it be completely still in one spot for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes and then move on. It might also benefit you to do the same with the muscles that runs along your spine, so try that too!

2. Releasing and stretching the QL and the side body:

The quadratus lumborum (see picture) is a muscle located in the lumbar region of your back (low back), you can reach it a bit out from the spine. It might be best to get help from a friend to do the release work here. After the release work, do the stretch. Sit in dragonfly (see picture) bend to the side to stretch your side body, then turn over your leg with your chest facing your leg to stretch the QL. Stay here for as long you want to!dragonflyyin-yan-yoga-poses

3. Releasing  tension with your mind:

Relax your back while laying down or sitting with the knees bent to your chest. Find the position that works the best for you. The qlue to this exercise is to just relax your back as much as you possibly can by using your mind actively to release the tension. Create the habit of letting go. After all, tension is only neurological signals and we do have a lot of power if we learn how to use our minds.

After the exercises, if you choose to do them all in one set, do Shavasana and let your body be exactly the way it is. Let it fall into place and readjust. Please leave comments and tell me how the exercises worked for you 🙂 Or if you have other exercises or asanas that has been helpful to you, please share. Or leave your questions 🙂

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