Your Anatomy is Unique: Tailor Fit Your Yoga Practice Hyperlordosis (Accentuation of the Lumbar Curvature) by Donna Farhi
One of the most common complaints in Yoga class is a feeling of compression in the lower back while practicing movements of extension or back bending. If you have a preexisting accentuation of your lumbar curvature, back bending can be even more challenging. This variation of Cobra Pose with a bolster never fails to bring a smile to those who have never managed to practice without discomfort in their lower backs. It’s simple. Place a bolster along the length of your yoga mat and lie with your pubic bone right on the back edge of the bolster with your pelvis supported. Place your arms on either side of the bolster. Slowly lift your elbows off the floor, sliding the hands further out if you need to reduce the degree of extension in your back. Anchor your groin (the insertion of the psoas muscles) on the edge of the bolster as you elongate the spine forward and up. Surprised? Raising your pelvis on the bolster has changed the relationship between your spine, pelvis, and legs, radically reducing the degree of resting extension in your lumbar spine. This distributes the extension over a greater length of the spine. You may want to practice this variation for some time before attempting Cobra Pose with the pelvis on the floor. If you find yourself in a Yoga class where Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is being practiced during the Sun Salutation (Suryanamaskar), and that practice consistently irritates your back consider practicing this modified Cobra Pose instead. Let your teacher know that you need to modify your practice to heal your spine. If your teacher is not sympathetic of your need to make this modification, it may be time to find a new teacher!
*This is an amended extract from Pathways to A Centered Body : Gentle Yoga Therapy for Core Stability, Healing Back Pain, and Moving with Ease co-authored by Donna Farhi and Leila Stuart .