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Bend Over Backwards and Relieve Stress!

Camel Pose with CamelPain In the Neck Got You Down?

Lower Back Aching?

Bend Over Backwards and Get Some Relief!

Whether you stay at home as the parent, or work outside for your job, life can be stressful on a body. An important part of parenting is taking care of yourself, so that you’re able to take care of your family. Learn to bend over backwards helping yourself.

Most of our daily motions are centered around the front of our body, and we can end up really out of balance if we don’t take the time to bend our bodies backwards and release tension.

Chasing a toddler or carrying an infant all day will take a toll on your body. You’re constantly in motion: bending down, picking up, cleaning up, lifting.

Wearing your baby in a sling on the same side all the time will cause an imbalance, as will holding the child over the same shoulder or hip every time. Your hips and sacrum will benefit from opening up backwards, and your shoulders and upper back can release and relax.

If you work at a computer, talk on the phone a lot, or do a lot of sitting, you might relate to this: By the end of the day, my shoulders feel like they’re trying to reach my ears, my lower back is tight, and my neck is stiff. On days that I sit a lot, I can really feel tension and stiffness in my spine.

Typing on a keyboard while sitting with bad posture is one cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and elbow maladies. Our shoulders rotate forward and down when we slump, causing our forearm and wrist to do some extra work. Tennis or golfer’s elbow are signs of a functional imbalance which can be helped with back-bends.

Open up and relax with my favorite stress relievers:

  • The Camel pose, or Ustrasana, is seen in the photo. You don’t need much room or a prop to do this, so it’s perfect for a quick break anywhere that you are. Try to imagine a string pulling your sternum, or breastbone, straight up, letting your head hang back, and pushing your hips outward. Breathe.
  • Practice Urdhva Dhanurasana, or the wheel pose. As a wrestler, we called them bridges. Try to hold the pose as long as you can, and repeat several times.  This will help to balance the muscles on the front side of the body by strengthening your back and stabilizing muscles. A bridge can also be done spontaneously, without props, but you might draw a crowd…
  • Buy a fitness ball. Also known as yoga or Pilates balls, they’re a cheap and available just about anywhere. Back-bends over the ball will make your joints and muscles squeal with delight (I’m addicted to mine). Sit on it instead of a chair while typing or writing to help you sit upright.
  • Squeeze your butt muscles. Seriously! While standing, tighten your butt muscles and hold. Repeat 10 to 20 times. This helps to release your hips and pelvis, which can get locked up by sitting for long periods. It’s a good one when you’re on your feet alot. For a challenge, try to talk and squeeze at the same time. Try it while sitting. It has a different action, but still helps.
  • Reach for the sky! Stand up and reach as high as you can, extending your fingers and looking straight up. Once you’ve got that, tighten your butt muscles and stand on tiptoes. Rotate one arm down and behind you while extending the opposite leg backwards (point your toe). Switch sides and repeat.

Mix a few of these in with your daily routine to beat stress and imbalance. Find a sweet spot in your house or office and make a habit.

Bending forward is routine. Bending over backwards takes some practice.

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Image: judepics at Flickr under a Creative Commons License


  1. Great photo! I can’t live without my daily yoga practice.

  2. I have been dealing with lower back pain for a few years now. I have had epidural shots and been treated with pain medication. My herniated disks are in the l4 l5 of the spine. Those shots didn’t last very long unfortunately…only like a week or so.

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