10 Stretches For Sacrum

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You guys – you know how I wrote about how addicted we all are to our cell phones earlier this week?

Well, I have an overuse injury at the moment. In my right thumb. From using my phone too much. It’s been aching all week.

HOW IRONIC.

But really – it hurts to text. So bye bye phone. Thankfully my husband and I were hosting one of his childhood friends here on Oahu for all of the long Labor Day weekend up until Thursday so I was significantly preoccupied enough to give my phone a break.

Anyway, speaking of my husband… He has way more to complain about in terms of injury than I do.

He was in a bad car accident about a month ago.

It was one of those moments that just sucks. We were at a hard point in our lives and this was just one more thing.

I kind of like to imagine that there are these dark forces of energy that whip through the atmosphere around us humans until they attach to someone. The energy infects the poor victim, causing some form of destruction and pain in their life, and the person has two choices: they can choose to keep the dark energy with them, cultivating resentment and anger because of the pain they’ve experienced; or they can choose to let that shit go, and be thankful for the chance to move forward. (Don’t you just know when that dark energy has targeted you? That little feeling of unease before something bad happens…)

In order to release the pain, you first have to feel it, and that period of time is the worst. There’s no way around it. And then you have to remind yourself that you’re going to be okay, that you will move past this. But man, it can be really hard to accept being the unlucky one.

The bright side was of course that my husband’s accident wasn’t worse. But he did badly injure his back, especially around his sacrum. I realized that while we were powerless to change what had happened, we are still in control of what happens next.

So we’ve become focused on healing his back.

Back injuries are complex. Your entire spine works as a whole unit, so a problem in your neck usually affects your low back, and vice versa. In my husband’s case, his sacrum absorbed most of the shock and was the point of most of his pain.

Hold up – WTF is a Sacrum?

If I had to venture a guess, I would say 80% of the American population has no clue what a sacrum is. (I’m literally just making that number up, but in my mind it’s accurate, so let’s go with it.) Like really; we’re clueless. So if you don’t know what it is, don’t worry. Here’s the low-down:

 

» image via «

  • The sacrum is a triangular-shaped bone at the base of your spine that consists of five vertebra (S1-S5) that are fused together. The sacrum is the back center part of the pelvic/hip bowl.
  • You can reach back and feel your sacrum – it’s right above your tailbone and is flat. Think of it as a little plate of armor. When you sit in a C-shaped position, like in many abdominal exercises, you probably naturally rest on your sacrum because it’s thick and can more comfortably take the pressure of your body’s weight.
  • Ideally, your sacrum shouldn’t move too much. It’s meant to stabilize your spine because it’s the bridge between your upper and lower body. So, this is why while intentional stretching of the spine is fine, it’s not exactly good for you to twerk in the club or do exaggerated tucks in barre class. I’ll write more about this in the future but your sacrum should ideally be in its neutral resting position as often as possible unless you’re specifically stretching it forward or back.
  • The sacrum is the home of the 2nd Chakra, the Sacral Chakra. It relates to our ability to feel creative and sexual, and to accept change. Funny how important that whole “accepting change” thing is, isn’t it?

I developed this sequence of yoga poses to help relax and relieve pain in the sacrum and low back.

In all likelihood, if you have any kind of chronic back or neck pain, you will benefit from releasing the muscles around your sacrum. My husband has found it really helpful, so I hope you do, too!

Hold each of these poses for about 1 minute (longer if desired or shorter if needed). Remember, go slow. Listen to your body. Breathe deeply and try to soften into each asana (“pose”). The goal, as always with yoga, is to move mindfully so you can feel better.

Grab a mat (not necessary if you don’t have one, but this one from Manduka is my favorite) and let’s get started!

10 Minute Restorative Yoga Sequence To Heal Sacrum / Low Back Pain

» Helpful Props: a block and a strap (I use these blocks and this strap)

1 » Corpse Pose, aka Savasana

  • Lie down, arms and legs extended. Try to straighten out your body as much as you can.
  • Close your eyes, and begin to focus in on your breath – try to make each inhale and exhale equal length. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Scan your body in your mind’s eye and try to relax any points you feel tension.
  • Pay attention to your back and ensure your spine and pelvis are in their neutral position – you should have a slight curve in your low back, there might be some space between it and the floor.

2 » Knees-To-Chest Pose, aka Apanasana (with Circles)

  • Moving slowly, hug your knees into your chest.
  • Keep your spine long, your shoulders down, and your muscles relaxed.
  • Trace small circles in one direction, trying to massage a circle around your sacrum.
  • Go the other direction.

3 » Supine Spinal Twist, aka Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Stay holding your R knee into your chest and extend your L leg so it’s straight and heavy on the ground.
  • Check that your spine is in a neutral position, with that slight curve in your low back. You may need to not draw your R knee in so close.
  • Reach your R arm out to the side like a T and use your L hand to guide your R knee up and over towards the L.
  • Stop as soon as you feel your R shoulder try to lift up. Keep both shoulders down on the ground. If you’re lifting up, you’ve gone too far.
  • You can keep your L hand on your knee or stretch it out to straighten that arm, as well.
  • If it feels okay on your neck, turn your head to look to the R.
  • If you need extra support, try placing a block underneath your knee.

4 » Repeat #3 on the L Side

5 » Bridge Pose, aka Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

  • Bend your knees and place both feet onto the ground so they’re hip’s distance and parallel.
  • Keep your arms long by your sides and your graze straight up to the sky. (Note: it is very important that you not turn your head once you get into Bridge Pose, so keep looking up!)
  • Push through your feet to lift your hips up as high as you can.
  • Keep your knees in line with your hips. (Pro tip: Bring that block back between your inner thighs. Blocks are the best.)
  • Relax your glutes and back while puffing your chest up to the sky.
  • Without actually moving your heels, try to pull them towards your head. Hello, hamstrings!
  • If you’d like more, shimmy your shoulder blades underneath you and clasp your hands, interlacing your fingers.
  • For a more restorative option, place a block under your sacrum to rest in Supported Bridge.

6 » Happy Baby Pose, aka Ananda Balasana

  • Keeping your spine in a neutral position, slowly draw your knees back into your chest.
  • Grab on behind your thighs. Slowly begin to lift your feet up towards the sky to make your legs look like two 90 degree angles.
  • Pull your knees slightly outwards and towards your shoulders.
  • If you can keep your back neutral, grab hold of the outside of your feet.
  • If it feels good you can rock slowly side to side and try to straighten your legs out to the side one at a time.

7 » Supine Pigeon, aka Supta Kapotasana (Variation)

  • Pull your R knee into your chest. Put your L leg bent with your foot flat on the floor, as it was in Bridge Pose.
  • Hold onto the back of your R thigh.
  • Flex your R foot and lift it up away from your R thigh as much as you can, aiming to bring your leg into a 90 degree angle.
  • Rotate from your hip to try to bring your R foot towards your L shoulder. Keep your leg in that same 90 degree position with your foot flexed – don’t twist your knee. If it’s easily within reach, grab onto your R ankle with your R hand (keep the L hand on the thigh) to help guide your leg.
  • Now pull your R knee slightly across your body towards your L shoulder. You should feel a stretch in your R outer hip.
  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed on the ground and maintain the natural curve of your low back – no rounding!
  • If you want more, try to straighten your L leg out onto the ground. Keep that foot flexed as well and point your toes and knee up to the sky.

8 » Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose, aka Supta Padangusthasana

  • If you have a strap or towel or belt or literally anything that is long, that will be helpful here.
  • From Pigeon, hug R knee back into your chest. Start with your L foot flat on the floor with your knee bent.
  • Place your strap across the ball of your foot and slowly begin to straighten your R leg, aiming your foot directly above your R hip as you extend towards the sky. Keep your R foot flexed. (If you have nothing to lasso your foot with, hold onto the outside edge of your foot, but watch that your R shoulder doesn’t come up off the ground)
  • Think of pushing your leg down so it’s rooted into your hip socket while your foot reaches upwards – it’s like you’re trying to grow your leg longer from both ends.
  • Keep your shoulders down and your spine (you guessed it) neutral.
  • If you want more, try to straighten your L leg out onto the ground. Keep that foot flexed as well and point your toes and knee up to the sky.

9. » Revolved Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose, aka Parivrtta Supta Padangustasana

  • From #8, take both ends of your strap in your L hand. Reach your R arm out to the side like a T.
  • Bend your R knee. Keep your R foot flexed. If it’s not already, straighten your L leg out onto the ground. Keep that foot flexed as well and point your toes and knee up to the sky.
  • Keeping both shoulders on the ground, guide your R foot across your body and over towards the L like you did in your Supine Spinal Twist.
  • Try to straighten out your R leg as much as you can. Keep tension in the strap by pushing your foot into the strap and your strap into your foot.
  • If it feels okay on your neck, turn your head to look to the R.

10 » Repeat 7-9 on the L Side

» Bonus: End with more Savasana, for as long as you want

Even though bad things can (and will) happen to us, we get to decide how we react. When you injure yourself, I recommend thinking of it as an opportunity to reconnect with your body. The process of recovery can be hard, but it can also be an opportunity to grow and improve physically and emotionally, if you let it.

» Song Vibes «

Do any of you experience low back pain or pain around your sacrum? Got any good tips for things that help? Share them with me (and my husband) in the comments!

xo,

Amy

This post is not sponsored, but there are affiliate links throughout this post. I genuinely love these products and know you will, too. Thanks for supporting the blog!

Photos by Matthew Hanley, edits by me

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