Free Your Hips and Low Back
Each of these will take five minutes of your time.
On the floor, bend your knees. Lift the left foot off the floor, reach between the legs with the left hand to hold the sole with the left palm, thumb and fingers together. (If you can't reach the foot, hold the calf or ankle.) Don't strain, life is too short!
Roll around holding the foot. Go side to side, unbend the knee a little to the left, the right, and to the ceiling. As you unbend the knees, what is the shape of your back? Can you accentuate that? Don't lift the head, just do what you can do to roll across the back.
Rest flat, then do the movement with the right leg and hand. Then rest flat. What do you notice?
2. Arms behind the back
Rest on your back and feel the shape of your low back. Then stand the feet and lift the pelvis and slide your arms behind the low back, one closer to the head, one closer to the pelvis. If this is not comfortable, don't push it. Just put a rolled towel under your low back and rest your hands on your belly. Tilt your knees side to side over the arms, many times. Observe if your head would like to move. Soften your jaw. Swap the hands over so the other one is above and continue. Do this many times, easily and lightly. Then rest on your back. What does it feel like? How do you feel your belly?
This movement helps with upright posture, fuller breathing, and easier digestion. For more movements to soften the low back, try this amazing lesson:
Roll pelvis from low back with knees out to side, 27 min
3. Lie in a boat
I often tell my clients about this lovely option to let the back rest. You must have at least two rolled towels or blankets and a very firm pillow or a couple folded towels for your head. To get situated, lie on your back with your lower legs on the furniture, such as a couch, chair, or ottoman. Put one rolled towel under the sacrum, the flat part of the pelvis, and another across your back at the shoulders. Then put the folded towels under your head so that it's at least parallel to the floor. Can you feel how your spine is in the shape of a boat with both ends tipped up?
Rest here for five or ten minutes. Feel your hip joints soften and your back settle. If this is not comfortable, this is not for you. Don't force it. Test it and discover for yourself. It can be lovely to rest the spine, shoulders, hips, and chest all at once!
4. Scoochie move
On your back with the legs long, flex the left ankle and push through the heel to elongate the leg.
Of course, the leg won't grow longer, so how does it lengthen? Check the back, ribs, and pelvis. Do this many times, sensing the ribs left and right. Then sense the right hip. What happens?
Do the right leg many times, with the flexed ankle. Then alternate, pushing through one heel and then the other. Note if you are lifting the knees or lifting the pelvis. That means you are compensating for some lack of movement in the ribs. Focus for a moment on the displacement of the ribs as you lengthen through one heel and then the other. Can you feel the ribs moving like an accordion? Notice if you clench the teeth or the jaw. Can you free up the head?
Rest a moment, then do the movement smaller and lighter, feeling the shift side to side in your center. What shape does your waist make? (It is the folding of the ribs that lengthens and shortens the legs, FYI.) Can you get so clear on what the ribs are doing that you can initiate the movement from there? Make sure your head is free and has not acquired magic super glue. Let everything be soft and mobile.
If you feel stiff in the mornings, I recommend doing this on the floor first thing out of bed.
5. Rotate the spine to loosen the low back
In standing, test sliding your hands down your legs. How far do you go before you bump into the low back or the hamstrings? Stop and stand up. Bend your knees and lean your elbows on the knees. Turn your torso left and right as if to see over one shoulder and then the other. Feel how your pelvis shifts a little left and right, and the weight shifts from foot to foot. You are really rotating the spine. Do a number of movements like this, then stand up again and feel how you stand. Then test sliding the hands down the legs. Is it different?