A recent study has shown that those who followed a 12-week stretching programme reported improved flexibility, less pain and a reduced need for pain medication.

At GRAVITY LIFE we like natural solutions to ease pain relief, improve posture and promote relaxation. So, here are our top stretches for back pain and relaxation.

Child’s pose
Start off on a yoga mat or carpeted floor, on your hands and knees. Spread your knees apart with your big toes still touching one another. Sit up straight, lengthening your spine. Inhale and while exhaling, bow forward moving your hips back and reaching your arms forward, with your torso between your thighs. Keep your arms long, extending them as far as is comfortable for your back. Palms should be flat on the floor. Broaden your upper back while relaxing your lower back and focus on nice, natural breathing. Hold the stretch for up to a minute, longer if you wish.

What does this do?
Child’s pose should relax the muscles of the lower back, while improving mobility of the spine. It should drain away the tension in your shoulders and neck. This position should also help you feel relaxed and safe.

Cat stretches
Beginning on all fours, arch your back up toward the ceiling while looking down towards the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, then arch your back towards the ground, looking straight ahead. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat these stretches 10 times, remembering to breathe deeply and calmly.

What does this do?
This stretch helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles and improves the flexibility of your spine.

Knee rolls
Begin by lying on your back with your arms stretched out to the side and knees bent together, feet flat on the floor. Roll your knees to one side, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Hold this pose for one deep breath and then bring your knees up to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, alternating sides. Only go as far as your body feels comfortable, you may use you a pillow between your knees for comfort.

What does this do?
Knee rolls should open up your diaphragm and allow you to breath naturally and easily, promoting relaxation. This stretch should also warm up your back, relaxing and releasing the tension in the muscles of the lower back.

Back extensions
Lying on your front, rest your forearms on the floor with your elbows bent at your sides. Keeping your neck nice and straight and looking down towards the floor, arch your back up by pushing down with your hands. Breathe and hold the pose for 5-10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

What does this do?
With back extensions you should feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles. This pose is important for injury prevention as it helps strengthen your back and better your posture.