By Sara Ivanhoe
September 09, 2001
Marc Royce

yogic-squatMarc RoyceFrom Health magazine

Youd have a hard time finding someone who hasnt had lower-back pain at some point. Strengthening the muscles in your belly and along your spine is a good way to prevent the pain from happening in the first place, but what if you need immediate relief?

Once youve confirmed that you dont have a serious injury (see your doc if you think you might), try this Yogic Squat. Its my favorite way to relieve tightness in my back, while also stretching the muscles in my hips and butt.

How to:
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-distance apart and toes turned out to the sides at 45-degree angles. Bend your knees and push your butt back, squatting until your sitting bones are just above the floor and knees are directly over your middle toes.

Bring palms together at your heart and place outer arms against your inner thighs (as shown); push outward with your arms against your knees. (Too chal­lenging? Try doing the pose with your back against a wall or while holding either side of the door­knob of an open door.) Lift chest to lengthen spine as you draw your shoulders down.

Hold for 1–3 minutes, then release and return to standing. Repeat up to 3 times, as often as is necessary.