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In addition to your Osteopathy (and/or Acupuncture) treatment, many of you looking at this page, may be doing so, as you are looking for the most useful stretches for keeping your back muscles supple and maintaining flexibility in your back.
The classic sequence of forward bends and back bends (down dog and up dog) is the sun salutation sequence. Here is an example of this kind of sequence, done gently and slowly, that can be suitable for beginners:
Show video: A Very Slow, Very Easy Yoga Sun Salutation
Here is a sequence with myself going through standing spinal twists (yoga triangles or trikanasana):
Show video: Standing twists – trikanasana triangles
I also mention supine forward bends (knee hugs) without the hamstrings engaged, and standing forward bends (utanasana) with straight legs for the hamstrings and low back. Remember that the better (longer) you manage to make your hamstrings, the more likelihood that your lower back will give you less trouble and less low back pain. Of course, it's good also to work on core muscle strength (see our Pilates and Core-stability page) and I also mention core strength in this short (9 minute) sequence on spinal twists:
Show video: Yoga twists for back pain
This is generally suitable for beginners – although the caveat is to stop if it's too much – and it's painful. I'm demonstrating this myself, to show that you don't have to be fit or young or agile, and can be perhaps in your 50s and 60s or older, and still do these movements safely, carefully, and gain benefit from them.
For a more polished workout, have a look at this excellent sequence (Iyengar) with up and down dogs, standing twists (triangles) and seated twists.
Show video: 30 minutes practice of Iyengar Yoga for beginners to intermediates
Here is another similar sequence:
Show video: Gentle Sun Salutations – For Beginners
See also our Yoga and Stretching page.
Disclaimer: whilst every effort has been made to demonstrate these movements (as shown in the video clips) in as safe a way as possible, no responsibility can be taken for any injury caused, or aggravated, by doing, or attempting to do, any of these movements or exercises. A major reason for presenting the video clips in this Chapter is to present as safe a series of exercises as possible. However, please use your own judgement, and only do, or attempt to do something that you feel OK with, without any pain or stiffness.
No responsibility can be taken for any injury you may sustain from attempting to perform any of these exercises.
Some links are from other sites, and caution and self-responsibility at all times, is also advised.
Ideally, always try to find a local class, with a competent and qualified teacher. This also ensures 'safety' as someone can keep an eye on you, to ensure you are doing everything properly, safely, and getting the best from your practice.
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