For low back pain and all manner of imbalances. Promotes forgiveness, peace, clarity, equilibrium and compassion.
Libra rules the lumbar spine, kidneys and adrenal glands.
Prana vayu : prana // Ayurvedic dosha : kapha – according to Vedic astrology, but I would also say vata
Meditation : svadhisthana (sacral chakra)
Libra rules the lumbar spine, upon which the upper body rests and below which the lower body turns and dances. Libra herself serves as a midway point in the zodiac wheel, coming in at number seven of 12. From a seated position, lengthen the spine. There is a delicate balance between activating the lumbar and relaxing the hips. Ground through the sits bones to become taller and then relax the gluteal and hip flexor muscles. Visualize sending lovingkindness to the sacral chakra with an orange, fiery light. You might place your hands on the low belly, just below the belly button. Activate these muscles down and in as you exhale.
This pranayama is otherwise known as alternate nostril breathing. We breathe primarily through one nostril at a time, switching every few hours. Nadi sodhana alters the breath so that it flows more evenly through both nostrils. Ancient yogi masters knew that attaining such equilibrium in the breath is necessary for clarity and insight. This exercise is performed with the right hand. Fold the peace fingers in to the palm or, alternatively, rest the tips of these fingers on the third eye. Starting with an exhale through the left nostril, pressing thumb to outside of the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril and then, before exhaling, close the left nostril with the ring and pinky finger (both nostrils are closed at this point), hold the lungs full for a moment, and then release through the right nostril, lifting the thumb. Inhale through the right nostril, hold both nostrils closed with full breath in the lungs, and then continue, exhaling out the left. This is the order: exhale, inhale, hold, switch. Finish with an exhale out the left nostril. Keep breathing in this manner for 5 minutes before returning to your organic breath.
- all standing balancing poses!
- virabhadrasana 3 (balancing warrior)
- garudasana (eagle pose)
- utthita hasta padangusthasana (extended hand to foot pose, with optional twist)
- vrksasana (tree pose)
Ahimsa: This is the first yama of Patanjali’s first limb of yoga (moral/ethical guidelines) and it means non-violence. Libra Yoga exemplifies ahimsa, on and off the yoga mat. First and foremost we must practice ahimsa with ourselves. In yoga this means being honest and reasonable with our bodies and not unintentionally inflicting violence by forcing the body into a pose for which it is not ready. We should also keep clean, loving thoughts in mind when we practice yoga, and steer away from thoughts which are judgmental, self-defeating or simply wandering. Ahimsa then radiates throughout our lives, imbuing each interaction with the light of peaceful calm.
Open the hips to relieve lumbar pain : Our first inclination is often to bend and “stretch” the low back with forward folds and the like. However, most of the time low back pain is a result of over stretching – forward folds will only further aggravate the lumbar! Think of how often we round forward throughout the day: texting, driving, cooking, sitting, working on the computer, etc. In fact, we are constantly stretching the muscles of the low back. The muscles of the low back must return to their original size and shape. We can facilitate this by opening the hips and the front of the body. There are many yoga poses that open the hips and front of the body. Here’s one you can do while laying in bed on your stomach: slide one knee out until your thigh is perpendicular to the rest of your body. Other classics include tree pose, pigeon pose, goddess pose, cow-faced pose, and the list goes on. Just remember – never forward fold if you have low back pain! Ever!
Seated turning and stretching : Here’s another way to gently release the lumbar. From a seated position, interlace your fingers overhead, palms turned up. Press up through the root of the palm, not the fingers. Relax the shoulders and pull the arms into the shoulder sockets. Turn from side to side, twisting and breathing deeply. You can also take a block and hold it firmly overhead with arms completely straight and as activated as possible (your arms may start quivering – this is fine). Then turn from side to side, maintaining this intensity in the arms.