The Mighty QL
The 'QL' or Quadratus Lumborum is a deep postural muscle that joins the bottom three vertebrae to the upper crest of the illia in the pelvis. It's function is to laterally flex the trunk is is especially helpful when walking as it lifts the hip upward so that the back leg can swing forward without hitting the ground. Unfortunately as we sit, the QL becomes overly tight and shortened, often so much that it can become difficult to fully extend the lower back when we do stand up after long periods of sitting. This practice will help to bring awareness, movement and breath to this important muscle of the lower back and, hopefully, alleviate the pain of sitting.
Reclining Lateral Bend
Lie on back with legs extended. Bring left foot to right side of mat, hug right knee into chest and step the right foot down to the outside of the left knee. Reach arms overhead and hold left wrist in right hand and draw arms, head and shoulders to the right side of the mat. Keep both hips and both shoulders on the mat. Hold 5-10 breaths, then release and change sides.
Begin seated cross-legged with hands on knees. Draw line of navel around in a circle clockwise five times, then repeat counterclockwise five times.
Passive QL Stretch
Lie on right side knees legs slightly bent. Bring right elbow under the right shoulder and drop the right waist toward the floor. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat to the other side.
Blossoming lotus is seated pose and deep groin opener that requires balancing on the site bones. In this week's home practice, you will open the hip flexors and work on creating spaciousness within the groins during all aspects of the practice.
Blossoming Lotus Pose, Prep
Sit with legs wide, knees bent and feet on floor. Reach right arm inside of right leg and hook elbow behind knee. Turn torso towards the left and lengthen both sides of the waist. Raise left arm and reach behind the back to open the chest.
Hold 5-10 breaths, then release and change sides
Blossoming Lotus Pose
Sit with legs wide, knees bent and feet on floor. Reach right arm inside of right leg and hook elbow behind knee. Repeat with left arm. Lean slightly back and lift legs off floor and extend front of torso as you balance on sit bones.
Hold 5-10 breaths, then release feet to floor.
Extended Blossoming Lotus
Sit with legs wide, knees bent and feet on floor. Reach arms inside legs and grasp big toes with thumb and forefinger, or use a strap around feet. Lean slightly back and lift legs off floor and extend front of torso as you balance on sit bones. Hold 5-10 breaths, then release feet to floor.
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.