There are days when I look longingly at my yoga mat rolled up next to my desk or worse have it rolled out, waiting and neglected. We’re all busy. It’s counter intuitive but taking time to stretch is actually one of the best things you can do. It saves me time. As I open and get a little back pain relief after sitting or standing, often I access new ideas or strategies that were waiting just on the other side of awareness.

But there are just days when the kids, the boss or tasks have you running and getting down on the floor just isn’t possible (until perhaps you’re at the end of the day and exhaustion reigns).

Back pain relief with a forward fold

From the Flytime Yoga booklet

Here are two stretches that will help you regain yourself, relax and invigorate. They can be done just about anywhere. I’ve done them on airplanes, at the gas station, in the office, even waiting in lines at Disneyland!

Forward fold:

Can be done free standing or with your back to a wall.

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart
  • Keep your knees relaxed and soft
  • Slowly bend forward, rolling down vertebrae by vertebrae
  • Let your head hang with your neck soft
  • Hands can hang forward or you can put opposite hand on opposite elbow
  • Breathe and on each exhale fold a bit more deeply forward
  • Roll back up through the spine and bring your head up last
  • Breathe and feel the difference
Standing back arch:
  • Again have your feet hip width apart or a little wider
  • Soften your knees
  • Put your hands on the small of your back
  • Arch your head back, lifting your chin
  • Pull your ribs forward and up
  • Pull your elbows slightly together
  • Breathe and on each exhale melt into the stretch a bit more
  • Roll back up
  • Clasp your hands together in front of you and pull down
  • Pull your chin towards your chest
  • Breathe and then slowly roll back up.

Stand a moment and feel. Notice the lift?  How energy and oxygen are pumping through your body? Renewed and refreshed? Keep checking in through the day to get some back pain relief. Now get back to it!

Copyright 2011, Elaine Masters, RYT, travel writer, speaker and the award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and Flytime Yoga. More stretches and energy saving techniques are in my books and audio, all available at

Elaine works with travelers and organizations, commuters, business and recreational travelers, who want to stay happy, pain free and productive on the go.