Erector Spinae: Stretches

We took a brief hiatus from our erector spinae muscles, so now we are going to go through some great stretches to relieve any tension you may be feeling after last week’s postures.

Balasana (Child's Pose)

Utthita Balasana (Extended Child's Pose)

As suggested in the previous posts in between postures, Balasana (Child’s Pose) or Utthita Balasana (Extended Child’s Pose) are two amazing stretches for the erector spinae muscles. Since these muscles extend the spine by lifting your chest from a prone position, the best way to stretch them is by flexing the spine or forward bending.

With this in mind, another great stretch for your upper back is Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Like Balasana, your body’s position in Uttanasana allows gravity to pull down on your muscles and aide in the opening of your spine.

Begin standing on your mat with your feet about hip’s distance apart.

Uttanasana Prep

Inhale: Lengthen your spine, reaching upward with your arms.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Exhale: Fold your body down over your legs, reaching your arms to the floor. Allow your neck to relax, shifting your gaze towards your legs so the crown of your head reaches for the floor.

Take about five rounds of breath in this position.

On your inhales: Lengthen your ribs away from your hips, reaching the crown of your head closer to the floor.

On your exhales: Let the air come out of your belly, reaching your forehead closer to your legs.

You can take any arm variation you like including:

*Reach your fingertips for the floor in front of you.

Uttanasana Variation I

*Hold on to your opposite elbows.

Uttanasana Variation II

*Hold on to the backs of your calves or ankles.

Another great stretch for your upper back is Marjaryasana (Cat Pose). Begin in an all-fours position on your mat with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Allow your fingers to spread out wide on the mat.

Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)

Exhale: Drop your head, tuck your tailbone, and round your back all the way up to the ceiling. Feel you belly button pulling up into your spine. Press into the mat with your palms and your shins as if you were pushing the mat away from you.

Inhale: Return to a neutral position with your spine.

Repeat this stretch for five rounds of breath to open up your spine and relieve the tension in your back.

These are three amazing stretches for your back and they are perfect for getting rid of some of that pre-holiday stress. Tomorrow, I am going to offer some great stretches and workouts that you can take with you while you prepare your Thanksgiving meal or while you travel to your Thanksgiving dinner. These exercises will be perfect to do while in the car, on a plane, or standing over your stove! Happy stretching!

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