[Side note from Brooke: For the men reading this who are not big leg crossers, please take a look at whether you are sitting on your wallet! It has a very similar effect to leg crossing, and has a lot to do with the high rate of low back pain in men. So as you read this, you can replace "leg crossing" with "sitting on your wallet"] Enter Amanda: Low Back Pain can reduce even the toughest of tough guys to tears. For years I suffered (and, yes, I even cried) due to recurring bouts of debilitating low back pain that I could not figure out the cause or cure for. I now know that a major contributing factor was an unconscious habit of sitting with one leg crossed over the other … every day … several hours a day … year after year. Happily, I also found my cure.
If you are a leg-crosser, sit up, uncross your legs and pay attention. The following information might provide you with the keys to liberation from chronic pain.
First, get to know your Quadratus Lumborum (or ‘QL’). Your QL inhabit the space between the bottom rib, the pelvis and the transverse processes of the first four lumbar vertebrae. Best known as the ‘hip hiker’ muscle, its primary function is to bring the hip and rib cage closer together (as in sidebending). It should also be known as a chief culprit in cases of low back pain – and definitely held under suspicion when low back pain is one-sided.
Try this experiment:
- Sit in a chair.
- Cross your left leg over your right.
- Notice: the left hip ‘hikes’ up, making your left side waist (and QL) shorter than the right.
If you sit for a large portion of your day – and you habitually cross your legs one way, BEWARE! You are creating a QL imbalance for which you may suffer (or already be suffering) mightily. Fortunately, you can help yourself.
First: Stop crossing your legs. Be vigilant about it. In fact, put a post-it note on your computer screen that says ‘Uncross your legs’ as a reminder.
Second: Try the following active pose in the video below, Sidewinder, to restore balance to your QL. Whether you are a chronic leg-crosser or not, if your QL is responsible for the pain in your back, these exercises are your therapy. Practice and enjoy freedom from pain. I am!
About the Author
It was love at first Sun Salutation for Amanda Tripp, who was introduced to yoga as a teen when her mom brought home a video. Eventually, she sought out living, breathing teachers to help direct and deepen her practice. Her teachers have been inspirational; her yoga practice: transformational. Amanda felt the call to share the healing benefits of practice with others and completed a 250-hour teacher training program at the Yoga Centre of Burlington. Continuing studies led her to the work of Jill Miller and certification as a Yoga Tune Up® teacher. Amanda’s classes speak to the body, breath, mind and heart as she guides students toward greater ease of being.
About Yoga Tune Up
Yoga Tune Up® is a therapeutic conscious corrective exercise format that strikes a balance between the worlds of yoga, fitness, and myofascial self-care, attracting students of all ages and body types. It breaks down the nuts and bolts of human movement and provides therapeutic strategies that create balance and flexibility in the body, while helping to relieve painful injuries, improve coordination, and reduce stress. It interweaves precise anatomy with a yogic lens of awareness, conscious relaxation, and self massage to help every student live better in their body – no matter what form of movement you practice. The study of Yoga Tune Up® delves you deeply into integrated anatomy and body mechanics while helping you discover a fresh approach to asana.
Photo from girlguyed