This month we have chosen to share 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 do have an existing back condition, please do go gently and build up your strength and extent of the movements when you are more comfortable.
Eighty percent of us experience some form of back pain during our lives, which can be anything from a dull ache, to a shooting pain and anything in between! Our lumber spine joins the sacrum at L5 and is a very important part of our spinal support. The sacrum consists of 5 vertebra which become fused into one bone during our late teens and the twenties. This bone holds much of the weight of the torso and upper body, therefore it has to be very strong. It has been referred to as the ‘sacred bone’ by the ancient Greeks and Romans, 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
- Stand with the feet at shoulder width apart, raise both arms up to the right and pause at shoulder height.
- Allowing both arms to drop, 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 curtsey. Your 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.
- 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 this sequence a few times to either side. If your 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. Pause in the mountain pose, standing tall and strong.