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Level 1
30 min

Lower Back Strengthening

Anusara | By Elena Brower on Jun 09 2010
Emerge from lower back pain safely and respectfully, using your legs and foundation to generate more space, stability and strength in your lower back. Downdog at the wall, parsvottanasana at the wall, warrior I at the wall, uttanasana, leading into downdog, parsvottanasana, warrior I and a restorative child's pose on the mat. Be sure to consult with your physician before attempting this practice if you are in emergent pain.


Emerge from lower back pain safely and respectfully, using your legs and foundation to generate more space, stability and strength in your lower back. Downdog at the wall, parsvottanasana at the wall, warrior I at the wall, uttanasana, leading into downdog, parsvottanasana, warrior I and a restorative child's pose on the mat. Be sure to consult with your physician before attempting this practice if you are in emergent pain.


  • Vishali Gupta     Feb 9th, 2014
    Gratitude for this service. Really appreciate all you do for us. I have one question. I get the shins in but slightly confused about thighs out. Should the thighs be in external rotation like in warrior 1 front thigh or internally rotated as if squeezing a block in between the thighs? I will appreciate your reply.
    • Elena Brower     Feb 11th, 2014
      Hi Vishali!

      So thighs out means widening the thighs to the sides, LATERALLY, rather than spiraling them. Shins in would be squeezing the block and thigh out the exact opposite action. The negotiation between those two actions is your balance and your strength.
  • shawn milligan     Dec 5th, 2013
    I come back to this class every time my back is creaky. It works so well for me!
    Thank you.
  • Casey Collins     Sep 4th, 2012
    hello! I've never commented on a video before but I want to thank you Elena, this video has brought me comfort and hope. I'm very grateful for it. Thank you!
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      so glad, Casey. thank you.
  • Julia Schlenkert     Jun 1st, 2012
    Elena, isn't your models lower back too rounded for tailbone action when she does parsvottanasana for example? I learned to bring my sacrum in and widen, widen, widen, before I even think about pelvic loop or outer spiral in forward bends?! Sorry to be picky, but I'm teaching a backpain workshop tomorrow and I'm still confused about how much tailbone action I should do in forward bends... Help would be very much appreciated! Thank you and all the best from Germany from Julia
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      Hi Julia! Balance between the two (sacrum in and up, tailbone gently down) is key. In this example, we had a great balance, and her legs were stabilized, so the instruction was super safe and provided her with great relief. Thank you for your thoughts!
  • shawn milligan     Feb 2nd, 2012
    Great direction. My lower back has so much more space. Thank you!
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      great news!
  • Dan Hunt     Jan 12th, 2012
    Good all-yoga advice for me to remember:
    shins in, inner thighs out, sitting bones down
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      so glad this worked well for you, Dan.
    • yogagal      Nov 7th, 2013
      provided you have lordosis, if flat back that brings pelvis into posterior tuck thus compressing lower lumbar all need to study bio mechanics, anatomy more and instruct what is actually happening, less "spirals" "loops" ridiculous instruction....and my personal pet peeve "tuck tailbone" Julia above is correct the SIJ need to be nutated, pelvis should ALWAYS be neutral in all poses. period.
      • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
        Hi Yogagal... I'm a big fan of conscious communication. Thank you in advance for your contribution to such communication going forward. Perhaps instead of calling names, you might simply say what you'd like to offer, for example, "In my experience, if there is lordosis, practicing locating a neutral pelvis might be optimal, rather than following a set of instructions that might not be optimal for everyone." Something like that is so much more constructive, helpful, and just kind. Thanks for keeping this space a space for learning and listening. And i do appreciate your perspective; since this class, I've learned so much about neutrality in the pelvis and the core spinal muscles. I still maintain that the spirals as instructed in this sequence create good strength and stability in our legs, which helps me and seemingly, all the others who've offered their feedback in this thread. THANK YOU for taking the time both to comment and read this reply.
  • Jessica Barker     Nov 2nd, 2011
    I just revisited this class at 35 weeks pregnant to help deal with some intense sacral/sciatic pain. This was so helpful, it should be cross-listed with your prenatal classes! I'll be revisiting this many times in the next few weeks. Thank you.
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      thank you Jessica...
  • ta na     Oct 22nd, 2011
    Sooo grateful. Immediate opening and relief, after weeks of discomfort and pain. Within just 1/2 hour. Thank you for your very specific methodical instruction. Perfect.
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      so grateful to hear this...
  • Radha Stone     Oct 15th, 2011
    very helpful.
    thank you
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      excellent news Radha... thank you
  • Marizete Martins     May 16th, 2011
    Nice class Elena!
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      thank you Marizete...
  • LAURA CASINI     May 2nd, 2011
    Hi Elena, i'm having an episode of bad back pain in the lower back and i'm not taking any medications, and only doing this practice twice a day. after one day i can walk better and really helped me a lot.Thank you from the depth of my heart
    • Elena Brower     Nov 8th, 2013
      so glad to hear this, Laura!
  • Elena Brower     Apr 27th, 2011
    Lisa, I recommend strongly that you seek out an Anusara Certified teacher in your area who can assist you with therapeutic uses of props and help you understand the need for integrity in your shoulders in order to keep your elbow safe and sound. I appreciate the idea to do an online therapeutics class regarding the arms/shoulders and look forward to hearing from you. Check in with and click on the Teachers Directory for a list of teachers in your area.
  • Annelize Ferreira     Mar 28th, 2011
    Elena, I have been introduced to your beautiful yoga practices through Kathryn Budigs writings. What a blessing to come across this fantastic practice. I am a physiotherapists and think the science behind what you are doing is spot on!! Thank you for this informative, safe and healing practice.
  • Elena Brower     Mar 14th, 2011

    Simone, as a yoga teacher I cannot give medical advice. We recommend and feel it is important that you consult your doctor to address any specific medical needs. In my experience and from the perspective of practicing yoga try to strengthen your legs, while they are in alignment, and be certain to maintain strong energy throughout the muscles of your legs in order to be more safe throughout any practice. Going to a yoga studio and getting specific instructions for modifications or adjustments could also help you, particularly with a Certified Anusara teacher. Thank you and best of health to you.
  • simone weit     Mar 13th, 2011
    Thank you for your teaching. I have done an Ausara immersion so I am familiar with these exercises for the lower back, my condition is however a bit more complex. I have a bulging disk in L5, but my main injury is a serious instability in my Sacroilliac joint. Both of these injuries were likely caused by yoga in my pre-Anusara days. I am really desperately seeking more exercises and sequences to address my SI joint injury. It seems that the SI instability is a very common yoga related injury and yet there is so little focus on healing this in the yoga community. There's useful article written by Judith Lasater in the Yoga Journal archives, although some of her advice would indicate that the universal alignment principles of Anusara may not be quite enough to keep the SI joint safe in all cases. If you or perhaps even John Friend has any insight into this topic I would be very grateful. Namaste, Simone
  • Nicole Lebel     Feb 22nd, 2011
    Thank you Elena, it is so helpful for me to just acknowledge that pain is not a weakness but a sign that my body speaks to me. I needed this practice to reconnect with my body in a nurturing way and come back to my home of yoga. namaste =-)
  • Fabiana bravo     Feb 8th, 2011
    Thank you so much Helena. I've been struggling with sciatica and this class really really helped.
  • constance walsh     Nov 18th, 2010
    I am a ballet/modern teacher that has injured my back teaching, I am grateful for this class, it calmed me down and brought the warmth of healing into my body. Thank you
  • Elena Brower     Nov 14th, 2010
    i've been watching the comments and am so pleased that it's really helping. so much better than pain pills and so great to be of use - even during pregnancy. wonderful.
  • Natalie Cam     Nov 14th, 2010
    I also have chronic back pain and it seems to be worse when I lay down as Elena said. This definitely eased up the tension in my low back and I'm looking forward to using this video often (much better than pain pills!).
  • Sarah Hamingson     Nov 9th, 2010
    I'm so happy I found this tonight and love that I can turn to yoga for my aches and pains. I am very early in my second pregnancy and chasing a two and a half year old all day took it's toll on me. Thank you, it is much appreciated. Namaste!
  • Sharon Gollman     Oct 13th, 2010
    I did this class today after having some back, hip, and leg pain from maybe overdoing it yesterday. I was not expecting any results except hoping for the back pain to ease up. When I finished, ALL the pain was gone! I do not know why, but after doing yoga, for the first hour or so, I am sore, as though I have never done yoga before. Then the soreness goes away. I also have arthritis and do yoga to prevent any stiffness. I feel rather disheartened though that I do not seem to be making any progress as far as flexibility goes and assume this is due to the arthritis. I am happy however that it probably keeps me from becoming more stiff. Thanks again for a wonderful session!
  • Jenny Goldner     Oct 5th, 2010
    Great sequence. Very healing for my lower back pain. Thank you for this great sequence Elena!
  • Elena Brower     Sep 25th, 2010
    hi sara. thank you for your educated inquiry. per your PT's instructions, when in child's pose, balance the roundedness with some "inner spiral" - move your inner thighs back and wider apart, THEN tuck your tailbone and "round," WHILE MAINTAINING THE INNER THIGHS BACK and wide. it's ideal to balance the two actions, at which point you'll feel more stable and connected to the ground. your lower back will feel more spacious, and your breathing will become very nourishing and delicious! let me know if that's clear... at your service.
  • Elena Brower     Sep 24th, 2010
    i finally used this myself recently... So glad that it's working! here if anyone needs any specific questions answered.
  • Laura Shriver     Sep 23rd, 2010
    Absolutely love this. Please great a sequence for level 2 :)
  • Elena Brower     Jul 14th, 2010
    glad to hear this, rachel. to anyone who needs relief from chronic pain, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as you work through this sequence. very best, elena
  • Rachel Bjorklund     Jun 20th, 2010
    this helps me a lot when my chronic back pain flares up.