KAT'S GOT YOUR BACK: YOGA FOR SOME LOWER BACK LOVE
Words and Video from Kat Englishman @KathEnglishman
In this practice focused on relieving lower back pain on the trail, we’re going to focus on releasing tension in the hips. Confused yet? Stay with me!
A little-known fact about the lower back is its close relationship with the pelvis. Like all parts of our body, these two areas are intricately connected to one another, and logging miles with a heavy pack can take a toll on both; jamming up the lower back muscles and hips for some not-so happy trails.
A quick primer on the anatomy of our hips and spine: as we walk, especially uphill, the muscles of our legs and hips become tight and can restrict movement in the pelvis, eventually radiating up to the lower back, which is already under the pressure of hauling a big load (consider this my vote for ultralight backpacking gear!). When that burden is just a little too much to bear, and you’re feeling a lot of aches and pain, lighten your load first and take off your pack. Then, practice the first two poses in this video that you can do immediately after that on the trail to provide some instant relief by creating more length in the tissues and space in the body.
The second half of the practice will walk you through a few poses that require a soft and even surface outdoors to target the hips and deep, intrinsic muscles that connect the pelvis and spine for an even bigger release. While these are for sure, a few simple and easy ways to alleviate tension in the hips and spine when you're taking a sorely-needed break from all that walking, remember that the best way to support your lower back on the trail is to take care of it off the trail and support the whole body, like practicing yoga! In the meantime, continuing to take good care of yourself in small ways often during your outdoor pursuits will provide more longevity and vitality to keep you going for miles. Happy trails!
Katherine Englishman is a writer and yoga teacher based in the beautiful state of Maine. You can find her outside skiing, hiking, biking, or teaching yoga and meditation for the modern yoga student at Waypoints Yoga