Yoga Basics: Best Hip Opening Pose to Help Reduce Lower Back Pain, Fire Log or Agnistambhasana

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Did you know sometimes you can get low back pain because your hips and low back are too tight?

Depending on your genetics, lifestyle, etc, the muscles around your hips, pelvis and low back can either just develop very tight or become very tight.  Now, some muscular stability is important, after all, our muscles help to support our bones, and it is our bones that keep us from looking like a squid, HOWEVER, when the muscles get too tight, that can be a problem, just like when not having any muscle tone can be a problem. Today, we will talk about a super intense, but easy to learn hip opening pose that can help to create some space for the hips and low back.

Today, let’s learn about Fire Logs or Agnistambhasana as said in Sanskrit.  

This is a basic yoga pose found in many different types of yoga classes and has many modifications you can practice depending on where your hips and low back are on any given day. (in case you were wondering, every day is different, so yes, one day can be significantly more challenging than another.) I want to show you “best practices” you can do to help keep your back safe and pain-free

Trust me, I know all about back pain. The reason I got into yoga is because nearly 10 years ago I herniated disc in my L5 doing things I used to love. Here’s the thing, that injury wasn’t the end, it was the beginning of something even more beautiful, it was that injury that brought me to yoga so I am forever grateful for the lesson. You can read my story, here.

Key points to remember when practicing Fire Logs:

  • Sit on the floor as comfortably as possible (so you can put a pillow or blanket under your sits bones to elevate the hips over the knees which can often provide just the right amount of support for super tight hips.. 
  • If you can’t sit up straight, try raising your hips up by sitting on a blanket, bolster or cushion.
  • Be sure to engage your abdominal muscles to help relax your back.
  • Draw one leg in towards your body, with that shin working to be parallel to the top of your mat, basically crossing in front of you 
  • Try to cross the other leg on top of the bottom leg.  You want both shins to be parallel to the top of your mat (or both shins straight, running perpendicular to the quads.)
  • If your knees are not relaxing on top of the opposite ankles, place a blanket or a pillow or block between the ankle and the knee to help support the leg and let your body relax.
  • At first, you want to be sure your ankles are on top of the knees and your hips and legs are as relaxed as possible.  Remember, if you aren’t able to breathe or get comfortable, your body will fight the stretch more.
  • To intensify this pose, bring your knees closer together, so your ankles may hang off, past the knees.
  • You can forward fold over the bent legs to intensify this pose as well.
  • You can do this one leg at a time, leaving the top leg outstretched if your hips are really tight.
  • Remember your posture, so hold your shoulders down and away from the ears, trying to bring them together slightly behind you.
  • Hold this for several breaths.  

Keep practicing!

What are the Benefits of Fire Logs or Agnistambhasana

As soon as you try to sit in this pose, you’re gonna feel the “benefits.” However, at the time it may not feel so wonderful.  You are seriously stretching out the outside of those hips, getting even into your IT band. When you can more easily externally rotate your hips, you can create some much needed space for the low back which can help to reduce low back pain.

If you feel pain while practicing Fire Logs, stop.  

Try sitting on something a little higher, and bringing blankets, blocks or bolsters under your knees to support them.

About the Author

If you would like to learn more about Jennifer or if you would like to practice with Jennifer in person and you’re in the Chattanooga, TN area, check out online.  We offer almost 40 classes each week in a variety of modalities from beginners to advanced, to chair and seniors all the way to super physical HIT yoga.  It’s a great studio in the suburbs with ample parking and the community vibe. 

Or if you’re not in the area and still want to practice with me, you can totally do, virtually, inside the Thrive Online community. 

In the video, I was practicing on my Mantra Lux Pro mat.  A Chattanooga Based Yoga and Lifestyle company. Jennifer Dixon MBA holds her ERYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and was blessed by Manju Jois to be an Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher in January of 2019.  She is the lead teacher in the Thrive Yoga and Wellness 200 hr Yoga For Every Body Teacher Training program: the Chattanooga area’s ONLY modular 200 hr Yoga Alliance approved Teacher Training program that allows you to train when YOUR schedule allows.  With two semesters each year and plenty of opportunity to practice and train year round, this is the BEST yoga teacher training program for busy folks.  Gone are the stresses about missed training weekends, you don’t have to worry about exhaustion and tears from super long intense weekend training every month–with the Thrive Yoga Teacher Training program, you train when your schedule allows and live your best life now.  Yoga Teacher Training should be fun, come practice with us and let us show you how! Another great perk of training at Thrive? You get an unlimited membership to the studio for one full year while you train! NO ONE ELSE offers this amazing deal (worth $1100!) and it’s the PERFECT way to get the training you want with the practice you need.  Our next semester starts in August of 2019! See you on the mat soon!