Everyone knows that stretching can be very good for you and that it helps you to do every day tasks, like reaching for something, or looking over your shoulder in your car before pulling out, bending over to pick something up from the ground, or stepping over a large puddle.
We need a certain amount of flexibility ("Range Of Motion" in medical talk) and without much of it, we can have a lot of stiffness, aches and pains and generally don't feel particularly comfortable in our own bodies. So the natural thing to do if we want to improve our situations is to find a stretching class, or look online for a stretching tutorial, or download an App.
Yoga is usually everyone's go-to in live training, there are also Pilates Stretch classes, and Adult Gymnastics classes which offer stretch/strengthen/mobility workouts, which are very popular too.
If people I see in clinic don't know anything about stretching their bodies, then I will usually show them 1- 3 stretches to help loosen their body. The stretches have to be simple, easy to perform and easy to remember. If appropriate, I'll show a modified Yoga stretch, but often because of the time and space limitations people have in their days, I have to show something which has to be performed whilst seated. Becoming stiff whilst commuting to work, sat at a desk, or whilst on the sofa at home is an everyday occurence for a lot of people and doing Down Dog, or Eagle Pose just isn't what they know how to do, or are willing to do at work!
So, if a standard or modified Yoga pose isn't an option on a busy train or at your desk, then some type of seated stretch will be a good solution until you can find the time and place to go through a full stretching routine. I've devised a few stretches which I find work really well for me personally and they definitely contribute to my daily regime of keeping myself supple.
These stretches have been devised from my experince in Qigong, different martial arts and Yoga practise, so if you practise any of these arts, you will see the elements I have amalgamated. I've shown them to hundreds of people over the years and they help people everyday. The idea is that you use these stretches to help see you through your day, and when you are able, you do a full stretch routine, or class. I have also designed them to be used for Breathwork training, Meditative practices and Rehabilitation exercises, so there is more to them than meets the eye. We can talk about that another day. ;-)
If you do need to stretch your lower back have a watch of the video below and see if any of it is useful for you. I've kept the movments simple to do whilst seated and if you need to do them in a public place, perhaps a busy train or bus, you can disguise them to look like you're looking for something in your bag, or checking something, so they're fairly discrete too.
The secret as to why they work is, correct aligments. Posture and alignment makes all the difference, because the if they're correct everything works efficiently and effectively, if they're incorrect, you have to do larger movements or compensate by using more energy to achieve the same results. This is an application of an internal martial arts maxim, "more on the outside, means less on the inside". So if everything is correctly in place, the bones, muscles, the way you're facing etc., with just a little effort, you can gain a lot of benefit.
So I hope you find this useful and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to add your comments, or to contact me directly.