Backbends – Restoring Lumbar Lordosis (VIDEO)

Maintenance of lumbar lordosis is critical for the pain-free back.

Lumbar lordosis is an inward curve of the spine, it is found in the small of the back, just above the waistline. The lordosis is lost whenever the lower back is ‘rounded’, as usually occurs when people sit or when they bend forward. And if the lordosis is lost often or for long periods or both, lower back problems frequently result.

Cobra (or bhujangasana – its sanskrit name in yoga) is one of the effective ways of restoring and maintaining the healthy lumbar lordosis. Especially recommended for the people with sedentary lifestyle or office/desk work, resulting in tightness in the hip flexors (mainly psoas and iliacus). Best performed in a sequence with other exercises targeting mobilization of lumbar-pelvic-hip (LPH) complex, after a day spent sitted at the desk/office.

  • From laying face down, with your head forward rather than to the side.
  • Place your hands under your shoulders in the position you would use for a push-up
  • Straighten your elbows and push the top half of your body – the part from the pelvis on up – up as far as your body permits.
  • As you do this, it is important that you completely relax the tummy, pelvis, hips, and legs.
  • Keep your pelvis, hips, and legs hanging limp and allow your back to sag. Your pelvis will naturally move downward.
  • Maintain this position for a second or two; lower yourself to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Each time you repeat the movements in this exercise, try to raise your upper body a little higher, so that by the last repetition your back is extended as far as possible and your arms are as straight as possible with your elbows locked.
  • Remember to hold the sag for a second or two – this is a key part of the exercise.  

Immediately after the exercise, roll onto your back and insert the lumbar roll (a big tightly folded bath towel will suffice) under your lumbar curve. This will maintain your back (i.e. lumbar lordosis) in the correct position during the period of rest.

Find out more about our back exercise programmes