In my previous post, I talk about my desire to strengthen my core as a way to bring stability to my back. The instability in my lumbar spine was caused by a handful of years of consistent spine cracking for relief. In addition to vowing to not crack my spine anymore, I started integrating Yoga Tune Up® exercises such as Salabhasana, Cobra at the Wall and Revolved Abdominal Pose to strengthen, in particular, the small yet mighty spinal muscles, the multifidi.

My favorite poses to restabilize a spine addicted to crack(ing) are Revolved Abdominal Pose and Sidewinder because they simultaneously strengthen the entire core (abdominal and low back area). When I first integrated these poses for back and spine pain relief, I felt quite weak, yet it was easily adaptable to suit my level. See how to do both in the video below!

If you liked this article, read This Joint Is Jumping – Getting Comfortable in an Unstable Body

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Dawn Mauricio

Dawn is a yoga and meditation teacher with a playful, dynamic, and centered approach. She is known for her effective balance of clear, precise instruction and mental reflection. She first began practicing yoga in 2000 as a purely physical discipline. After she completed her first silent meditation retreat at a Thai monastery, her interest in the mind and body deepened. She began to experience how yoga and meditation mutually support each other, leading her to approach the world with awareness and kindness as a gateway to wisdom. Since 2006, Dawn has received teaching certifications from Spirit Rock Meditation Centre, True North Insight, Naada Yoga, and in the Yoga Tune Up method. She also continues to attend silent meditation retreats in Burma, Thailand, Canada and the US, and to study with senior teachers in both yoga and meditation. Dawn firmly believes that how we offer ourselves in practice reflects how we offer ourselves in life, inspiring her to find new ways to extend her practice beyond the yoga mat and meditation cushion - and encourages her students to do the same.

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Colleen Flaherty

These moves are so approachable for most everyone since they take place in a back lying position. Lying and “wiggling” on the floor is also amazing for proprioception! Thank you for sharing the ways to care for your back include engaging and lengthening the side body in addition to the posterior chain!

Allison Sorokin

Looking forward to getting on my blanket and employing these moves to build stability and strengthen my backs. Sidewinder has a tendency to create some cramping/spasms in my right QL, so I am hoping that using this sequence together with that pose consistently will begin to build some more suppleness there. Thank you for sharing this!!

Maki

Hi Dawn, Thank you for sharing your favorite Yoga Tune Up spine stabilizing poses. As long as I can remember, it could been close to 20 years, my back has been popping as I twist my hip and legs to the right. I don’t crack my back intentionally, but I am always aware of how and what made popping sounds different when I twist form one day to the other. I am a 100% side sleeper on my left side, and can’t sleep any other way, which also contribute to right quadratus lumborum and other right side hip muscles becoming… Read more »

Shelby Williams

I felt stability here almost instantly. I still feel the deep core strength. This is a must in yoga and movement practices.

Stephanie

I really love sidewinder. Addressing the oblique muscles was challenging for me. But after I figured out “how” to do it, it became quite playful.

Kelly

I have only once been to a chiropractor, and that was a sort of unplanned visit as part of a PT appointment. But afterward, I could see how people can get addicted to chiropractic adjustments and back cracking in general. I honestly felt like I had fallen in love with the doctor in just that session. I figured nothing that felt that good could be good for you in the long term. I am hoping I don’t find out in the future that ball rolling is also harmful after long-term usage.

Ted Burnham

My back has been bothering me for a while and I tried the Revolved Abdominal Pose today in class and was quite surprise how much better I felt afterward. I approached it with caution and went very slowly but my core felt stronger and provided support for the lower back in the end. Thank you for making this apparent in your post and I will add this to my daily workout.

Ranghild Helmberger

Sidewinder is the perfect exercise for the lower back it helps me a lot, but it is difficult for me to do. Now, I will try it everyday to get used to this helpful but difficult exercise.

Marie-Pierre Gauthier

Merci Dawn pour cet article, beaucoup mieux de renforcer le dos que de la craquer, un travail à plus longue échéance mais tellement plus durable!

Heidi Schaul-Yoder

I was a spine-cracker for many years as well, and I have recently vowed to discontinue the habit and begin to cultivate some more strength and stability! Side-winder was a challenge for me as well when I first attempted it, and it’s definitely one I will be continuing regularly.

Juliet Hewitt

I went to a chiropractor once a month or so for years who would twist my low back popping my spine. I thought with my scoliosis this was necessary in order to feel relief when really it was only creating more tightness. Core exercises and YTU ball rolling on my Quadratus Lamborum and upper back have cured me of my need for “crack”!

jaclyn

so many people suffer from low back pain and so many others crack their spines- thanks for the simple reminder and the tips to heal this!

Wendy Rancourt

My instability seems to be very SI-joint specific. I love all core exercises (esoecially Sidewinder) and don’t feel weak in any of them- but if I allow myself to rotate too much in the lumbar region, I get a very strong urge to “crack” it. I’ve resolve NOT to do that, but it’s a hard habit to break.

Elise

Hi Dawn !

Je fais présentement ma formation en YTU et j’ai bien aimé ton article ! Nous avons pratiqué le Sidewinder aujourd’hui. Je l’avais déjà expérimenté il y a longtemps, au tout début de ma pratique de YTU et j’ai été surprise de voir à quel point la pratique du YTU en général a pu améliorer la stabilité au niveau de mon dos ! Très intéressant !

Je ne connaissais pas la version du Side Bending Savasana, un exercice de plus à ajouter à ma pratique !

Merci 🙂

Johanne Leroux

Thank you Dawn for this post. La stabilité est tout aussi importante que la mobilité et nous voyons trop souvent des personnes sacrifier l’une au profit de l’autre. Ces exercices sont certainement à ajouter à sa pratique quotidienne!

April

Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to do the side to side movements to strengthen and stabilize the spine!

Tami Cole

Low back pain is such a huge problem in our modern day lives and many of my students come to me complaining of discomfort in this area. I love that these exercises are so simple, quick and yet highly effective. Thank you for sharing, can’t wait to pay it forward.

Sue Taylor

Thank you for including the video link for the exercises. I love the supine exercises as they help the spine maintain good alignment and stability as it is supported by the ground. I see too many people at the gym tensing their necks and spine trying to work the sides of their abs…doing more harm than good!

Christina

The text read “I love Jill Miller’s Low Back exercises!” end quote, from my beloved husband. Dawn, so glad you brought up the point between back cracking, spinal instability and core weakness. My husband started experiencing low back issues and since I’ve been on this YTU journey he has started practicing side winder and other YTU movements and is feeling so much better in his back. Thanks for the post!

Tiffany Garnett

I have so many of my clients that can’t do certain exercises because they have low back pain. It is such a common problem in our society! We are not taught how to move properly and how to maintain good daily habits of movement. The key with these clients is to give them a sequence of exercises that they can do daily or a few times a week that requires little time, but will give optimal results. People like to make excuses not to do things, so giving them the reasons and making them understand the importance of them is… Read more »

Michelle Corbeil

I love that YTU gives a way to create stability and rehabilitate crack habits (spine that is)!! I love sidewinder and trying to love revolved abdominal pose. Thank for the reminder!!

Kimberly Greeff

I think there are a lot of us who are addicted to cracking our spine. I’ve brought awareness to students who come out of pose and immediatly crack – they are floored to learn that it’s really not the “greatest” relief but more of robbing peter to pay paul. A lot of us are in major debt to peter! The poses you listed are incredible. I especially enjoy working correctly in the revolved abdominal series as well as sidewinder!

DEBBIE SMITH

I tried this today and love it .I to was a cracker if it didn’t crack i didn’t feel alright,im over that now with tools like these who needs to crack self massage

Teresa

My niece is a spine cracker and your sight you shared is giving me a strategy to work with her specific needs, thank you !!

Jennifer Kruidbos

Hi Dawn,

These are great! I’m going to incorporate them into my daily practice because I also have a weak core. If I have clients with a tender lower back, can I still do these? My guess is to start really gently.

Another question: I have had knee pain for over 15 years. My osteo told me that strengthening the core will help stabilize my pelvis and help my knees stay pain-free. Would these exercises work for that as well?

Eleanor

Stability is just as important as mobility, it is great that the yoga community is beginning to recognise this. As teachers we have a responsibility to rein in our client’s enthusiasm for greater range.

Emily Pantalone

I loved both of the articles you wrote about the unstable spine and multifidi muscles! I’ve always had a hyper-mobile lower back and my lower spine commonly cracks when I come into a deep supine twist. I always feel good after these twists, so I’ve never considered it to be something I should be careful about! Interestingly enough, I did revolved abdominal pose for the first time yesterday, and my whole torso felt amazing and stable afterwards. I’m definitely going to integrate that into my consistent practice! Thank you!

Manju Goradia

This is just what I need. My spine has been cracking all the time.

Janine

I know several people who are addicted to crack(ing)! The poses in the video are a great series! Love that it ends with a ytu massage to end on a soothing note!

Beth

I love this. I read the previous post and then came immediately to this one. I’m dealing with a one sided low back “relief” popping habit from too much hiking my baby up on my hip. This is such a great sequence that I am going start right away. Thank you for the info.

sara

I especially love the video/exercises you included in this article for my client’s who (for different reasons) cannot curl forward to activate their core. It’s always great to have more exercises to share so that they can continue to build strength and support, relieve pain, and release the idea that they are in any way inhibited from experiencing their core strength just because they don’t do traditional “sit ups.” Thank you!

alissa

Thanks for posting this sequence. I love side bending, but realize I haven’t done much of it recently, so thanks for the reminder! Now to read your other related article!

Oliver

Hi Dawn, it is amazing to see your post^ ^ I have experienced the spinal cracking issue myself. Every time I do an extension with my spine (especially when I add a mini bend with my neck) I could hear this mild cracking sound along my spine. However for me, my awareness of my body is not good enough for me to actually spot whether the sound is coming from the thoracic or the lumber. I have been hearing this sound for a few years already. Even when I tried to do the revolved abdominal pose with legs straight I… Read more »

Ann Knighton

Thanks Dawn! Looking forward to trying the sequences!

Dustin Brown

Ok, again THANKS DAWN !! This is exactly what i needed! Just did the sequence and felt a few adjustments happen as i moved. I sure through practice I will begin to stabilise and strengthen my multifidi. Post more blogs please!

Olga

Thank you for the post. I think the technique you suggesting will be more sustainable in a long term comparing to quick “cracking” relief.

Melinda

Hi Dawn! 🙂 Great two part post. Who has not had lower back issues? I personally strained my lower back years ago just by bending down to pick something up. The pain was excruciating and from that moment on I too have worked diligently to strengthen my core to avoid a reocurrence. I stumbled on this video a while back and have added it to my repertoire.

Mika Saburi

I also love side bender and revolved triangle pose!
They get core muscle and good for warm up.
Practicing back bend is very good for healthy spine.
Before do that it’s better to soften your abdominal muscle too.
I also love to massage by courageous therapy ball!
Thank you for sharing!

Sandy Gross

Hi Dawn, just a shout out, loved seeing your work here:) Great 2 part series. It inspired one of my classes last week! Greetings from Cleveland. XO

Emily

This and your previous post really resonated with me. I have some close friends with chronic back pain who are “addicted” to cracking their spines. I look forward to helping them find relief with this and other poses I’m learning in the YTU training.