NB. If needed, use a pillow or pad to reduce the discomfort of kneeling on the floor.
Sitting on Knees and Ankles
Knees together and ankles together, start with toes flat and sit back onto ankles trying to keep them together (should feel a strong stretch on top of the ankle). Transition to: knees together and ankles together, fix toes under, sit back onto ankles trying to keep them together (should feel very strong stretch in the planter fascia or underside of the feet).
PLEASE NOTE: these two stretches can be challenging for people who have never stretched their ankles or planter fascia before – use pillows to help reduce difficulty and perform slowly. Stop immediately if you find the exercise too challenging and seek advice from a physical health professional.
Feet represent an amazing example of natural engineering. They offer both an adaptable platform that mould to the surface and then provide a stable platform from which we shift our body weight to the other leg/foot. They are designed to be used however with the wearing of shoes our whole life they may cause problems in later life. These simple exercises use body weight and gravity to slowly open the very strong fascia tissues that make the feet incredibly robust and functional.
Pose of The Child (YOGA term) and Laterals
1. Start on all fours with knees under hips and hip distance apart, hands under shoulders and shoulder width apart, walk the hands one hand length away from the starting position, anchor the hands and sit back towards the ankles but not sitting on the ankles (move hands forward to lengthen stretch and not be able to sit on ankles) – hold 10 seconds and breath long and slow.
2. Set up with hands forward as for exercise above, place one hand on top of the other and press down anchoring both hands down, sit back onto ankles (should feel side of body opening) – hold 10 seconds and breath – repeat both sides.
Another great exercise to help remedy tension in the thoracic for people who sit for long periods. Additionally, this pose provides a wonderful traction of the spine and if you are sore in your low back try this exercise as a recovery strategy. The strength of this exercise is you are well grounded and can ease or breath into the exercise safely.
Start with standing foot in line with hip, tilt pelvis posteriorly (or backwards so the bottom of the pelvis rotates forward – best seen on video), lift hands to ceiling (important component of exercise), small lunge forward (should feel strong stretch in the front of the leg), strongly contract the gluteal muscle of the kneeling leg – hold 10 seconds.
Personal Practitioner Note: In my experience as a Chiropractor (over 20 years) most low back pain is caused by tightness and asymmetry of the hips. When hips lose their mobility the excess load is transferred to the disc’s of the lower back resulting in what I term “disc fatigue” and what the client calls “low back pain”. Eventually, the overloaded disc is pushed a little too far and small tears or adhesions form that become angry and inflamed which are painful however the cause was tightness in the hips (or possibly further down the leg).