UW Yoga

Week 4 – Yoga for Backs

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Are you sitting down for this?

Don’t be surprised if your back is sore. Prolonged sitting is one of the biggest culprits behind back pain. Sitting pretty much dominates our days: we sit in our cars, at our desks, during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, on our couches…

All of this hunching over computers, steering wheels, and plates of food stiffens your hips, shortens the front and sides of your body, and overstretches the muscles around your upper back. It also puts your core to sleep, reducing critical support for your lower back.

Luckily, yoga can help. Use this restorative sequence to help stretch your hips, neutralize your spine, and reduce tension in your back body musculature. Hold each pose for 5–10 deep breaths…

Seated Side Bend

seated side bend

  1. Sit on your knees, crossed legs, or extend your legs out in front of you (whatever helps you to sit up straight).
  2. Bring your right hand beside you, reach your left arm up, and side bend toward your right.
  3. Keep pressing your left hip down toward the floor as you deepen your bend.
  4. Switch sides.

Reclined Hero

reclined hero

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bring your feet wider than hips width apart (about as wide as your mat if you’re on one) and let your thighs drop together (it makes a triangle shape).
  3. See if you can take your feet another inch away from each other, so the knees might not even be touching.
  4. Keep feet flexed.

Figure 4 at the Wall

jasyoga figure 4

  1. Lie on your back and put your feet flat on the wall so that your knees are bent at about 90 degrees — if your back feels uncomfortable, move a bit further away from the wall.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, keeping the foot flexed. If that’s tough, slide your left foot further up the wall.
  3. Make sure both sides of your waist are even (rather then letting your spine side bend).
  4. Switch sides.

Legs Up the Wall

jasyoga legs up the wall

  1. Lie down and extend your legs up the wall.
  2. Get your butt as close to the wall as possible, while keeping it on the floor.
  3. Keep your knees bent a little and turn your feet away from each other slightly. If you feel any tension in your thighs, back further away from the wall.
  4. Rest your arms along your sides with your palms facing up.
  5. Stay and relax for 5+ minutes.

This Week’s Yoga Video
Michael Glass, an IMA yoga instructor and student in the School of Social Work, shared a hatha flow yoga routine with us. Give it a try!

For more practical ways to use yoga to sustain balance for your sports, your work, and your life, subscribe to Jasyoga Video at jasyoga.pivotshare.com or download The Whole U’s yoga handout.

Thanks to Erin from our Discount Partner Jasyoga for contributing to The Whole U Yoga Month Celebration. Join now for yoga inspiration all month long.


Erin is the founder of Jasyoga. As a collegiate basketball player, Erin thought yoga was boring at first, time that could be better spent on the court or in the weight room. It wasn’t until she was sidelined by a spinal injury from overtraining that she discovered that there is a path of less resistance. Yoga was the “Reset” that helped her to bring things back into balance and, although no sport-specific yoga solutions existed at that time, she quickly realized what a powerful tool the practice is for optimizing athleticism and maximizing potential in all aspects of life.
Now based in London, Erin splits her time off the mat between running at her beloved Green Lake in Seattle, and Regent’s Canal in London. Join the action across the pond on Twitter and Instagram @jasyogaUK.