Growing up in Japan, there were no chairs in my house. The floor of my house was covered with Tatami, which is a type of flooring made of weaved straw. We used to sit on Tatami all the time. When we visited the Buddhist Temple, we had to sit on our feet with our spines erect, in Seza, until our feet would fall asleep.
I still remember the life style changes in my childhood. Suddenly, there appeared couches and chairs in my house. The western style toilet replaced the old fashioned one. We said “Sayonara!” to Tatami and said “Hello!” to wooden floors. I embraced the changes with joy… It was so much more comfortable sitting on chairs.
Only recently, after 40 years and several disc injuries later, I started to give up my furniture and have begun to sit on the floor. I realize my back feels much better this way. Whenever I travel to Asia on 13 hour plane rides, I walk around and find a wall to perform the Yoga Tune Up® pose, Boomerang. Boomerang will help to simultaneously loosen and strengthen the QL by introducing certain movements to change your postural pattern. This action will bring awareness to your muscles to strengthen and increase your range of motion.
The best part is, you don’t need much space or time. Just a little office space or bath room wall will do—so why not spend five minutes in between work, or a long drive to try it?
Enjoyed this article? Read Can Yoga Really Help Back Pain?
Read more about low back pain and Yoga Tune Up.
I loved reading about the transition in your life from youth to later on– the context is illuminating. Excellent advice. And great video as well, I appreciate this demo as a reminder.
QL was totally where i felt the movement the most today in training. My tight QL loved it!
I love this pose, not only for my back but also for my breathing that makes it deeper.
I just learned the Boomerang pose today. I didn’t know about the advantage of this pose for the lower back pain. I’m really happy to know that now. My husband often has pain in his lower back. He will definitely appreciate to know this simple solution.
My lower back has suffered as well from excessive sitting, and trying the closed chain, activating the QL is wonderful.
I love this one too, and it’s so much harder than it looks! I start to breathe faster and can feel how it also works on my respiration. Also, for me as well, I have “returned” to sitting on the floors or sitting cross legged on chairs when the chair allows for it. I can feel such a difference on my spine.
love it Kyoko. this is my new favorite pose. My QLs are really out of balance – i’m always tight on one side. I’m going to boomerang more starting today!
I will help make everyone aware of this exercise. For sure!! Thank you 🙂
This is so validating! I sit on my floor at home and keep my mattress on my (clean) floor so I have to constantly get all the way up and down. Strong legs aren’t optional for me, and this helps so much!
Thank God for Boomerang
Thanks, Kyoto for this article on Boomerang! I have long wondered just how much we compromise our bodies by sitting in chairs. I’m interested in how you sit because when I sit on the floor in a cross-legged position, I find that my lumbar spine bulges in a similar way that it does in chairs. I will definitely try doing Boomerang on my next long flight.
I too love sitting on the floor! Thanks for a great demonstration of Boomerang, it’s such a lovely QL stretch and strengthener.
Great to know this exercise helps with lower back pain, thanks great demonstration.
Wow thanks did not realize the Boomerang would be so great to help with lower back pain. I am sure mine is caused by too much sitting and not stretching when I do get up. Such an easy pose to do anywhere.
Thank you Kyoko, super stretch, easy, accessible and enjoyed by all and fun to do!
I am very happy to hear that getting rid of my furniture is the right thing to do! I have been a big promoter of this in my home over the last few years which has not been met with a great deal of exuberance by others. So in the meantime the Boomerang will be my go to pose. My problem is in the lower back right above the sacrum and maybe around the Fifth Lumbar obviously caused by too much sitting and poor posture. I have not tried the tune up balls there yet but will do so tomorrow. I did try the balls in the upper portion of the back today and at the end of the day had a great deal of lower back pain after sitting too long. So tomorrow I’ll get the lower back.
Lol! This is amazing! I love side bends and I usually start my practice with either seated or supine side bending. I haven’t really thought about trying a side bend at the wall, especially one that is closed chain in both hands. I’m fascinated by the extra bit of resistance you use with your top hand. Must try this. Thank you Kyoko for sharing and making it look so delicious!
Thank you Kyoko for the QL info. I work with lots of clients who spend the day sitting or driving. I can’t wait the share the Boomerang stretch with my clients. I started last night to do that stretch especially after a long day of sitting and doing computer work. I love to use the Yoga Tune Up balls to my daily practice, now I have something else to add to my practice.
I love boomerang!! I will have to remember your post next time I take a long flight. Great tips thank you!
Thanks for the reminder. Bommerang is exactly what I need to be doing to stretch my QL. My entire core is so weak after 9 months of pregnancy.
thanks for the advice. i think most of us usually picture the back muscles, as tissues potentially stretchable by flexion of extension of the spine. thank you for the reminder that side stretch could be as effective!
Tellement simple comme pose. Un super étirements latérale et merveilleux pour tonifier et relacher notre QL.
I learned Boomerang while attending Level 1 YTU Teacher Training and it’s just what I needed, just what my back needed. Thanks so much!
My QL acts up once in awhile if I am not careful. I know its takes a lot of strength and awareness in my core and posture habits. Boomerang pose is awesome to do, especially at the moment I am doing the YTU training, where all day its taking notes and at home its doing homework where I tend to slouch. So now I def feel it in my QL! Also I have tried to do Side Plank Prep 1, which I found helps to also strengthen the QL 🙂 Thanks for this great post!
What an interesting post! It’s fascinating how body pain can and culture can be related. Often cultural norms are not best for our physical body. Take our 40 hour or more work week sitting in front of a computer, this causes so much suffering for so many.
Hi Kyoko. Ah, your post brought back some memories. My grandparents and parents sat on floor mats most of their lives, and my grandmoms could squat for hours at a time with beautiful spinal alignment. Every time I get a little uppity, my mom drops into a squat and invites me to join her. She does that because she knows that there’s no way I can match her. And like many things, time and experience prove that the old ways are oftentimes the best ways.
Yes. This exactly what I need. I low space, no implement release for my low back.
Thanks for the plane tip – I’ll make sure to do this on my next long flight!
Kyoko, appreciate the insight! Will share with my staff !
Thank you Kyoko, I work with new immigrant families and often do home visits. Many of them do not have western furniture in their homes and I have always been happy to sit on the floor with them. Sometimes they express concern that I am going to be uncomfortable. Your story has given me a great talking point to share with them about the value of sitting as they are.
I just practiced Boomerang today at home after watching your video. I also never thought about it being effective for lower back pain, and have been trying to eliminate lower back pain in my sacrum, QL and erectors by rolling on my yoga tune up balls! This stretch has helped me and is very easy to do each day. I highly recommend it!
love this movement! so simple but so complex! I got up and did it right away after watching your video! I am in the middle of YTU level 1 teacher training and we did this…it will be a regular movement in my day and will bring it to as many classes as possible!!
I just learned Boomerang in class today. I never thought about it being effective for lower back pain. I have been rolling on my sacrum, QL and erectors. I just can’t seem to get into the L4-L5 area. Sidewinder seems to have loosened it up. I will try a combo with Boomerang and see if that fixes it.
I agree, getting rid of furniture is the best thing for the back.
Je me suis blessée au dos plusieurs fois dans le passé, bien avant de connaître le Yoga Tune Up. J’ai fait ma formation Level 1 Teacher Training en novembre et durant un épisode de douleur intense la semaine passée, j’ai tout de suite ressenti le besoin de faire le Boomerang !!! Quel bien être pour un dos endolori !!! On ressent tout autant l’étirement nécessaire, mais aussi le renforcement que ce mouvement procure. Je le fais tous les jours depuis et ça me fait tellement de bien !
Merci Yoga Tune Up ! 🙂
Before, I would’nt have believed that this kind of exercise could have a postiive impact on the lower back But since I’m following the Yoga Tune Up for teacher level 1, I now understand how the body works. Well….I try 😀
saw this video on youtube before i read your two articles. loved it and shared it with my hubs and dad!
i too lived in Japan as well as other Asian countries and appreciated the lack of furniture. not only do i love how the house is more open but it makes much more sense – anatomically. coincidentally i am typing on a a low table i bought at a shrine sale in tokyo, sitting on some yoga blankets! – – – ditched the desk because of lack of space but now i’m reminded how good this is for me. thanks kyoko : )
Western chairs are evil…kind of a joke, but they do indeed cause so much back trouble. Low back pain is so incredibly common, but also so incredibly simple and easy to fix. Swapping to stand-up desks or spending more time sitting on the ground would most likely benefit so many people. Way to drop a knowledge-bomb!!
As someone with a chronically tight QL I need to do this pose more- in conjunction with turning back on my multifidi and other small spinal stabilisers that my QL has taken over the workload from.
Thanks for the reminder.
This was such a great blog and video. I agree with Kyoko, the comfort of furniture has led to much “discomfort” in the structure of the body…which is ironic. The other day, in the emergency mode of meeting an important deadline, I found myself sitting at my desk for over 6 hours straight…without any breaks. When finally done and moving on with life, my body felt so stiff and rickety that emerging from my office was a little awkward and embarrassing. I truly was limping and shuffling, and that is making it sound better than it really looked! I hobbled in to find my balls and luxuriated in rolling my feet, followed by the Thoracic Zip, Neck Gnar, Boomerang, etc. How fortunate we are to have the incredible tools and self-care knowledge of Yoga Tune Up. Thank you so much Kyoko, for your post.
Great information about Yoga Tune Up Kyoko. So jealous of you, I really want to see Akihabara atleast once in my life. Will definitely talk about Yoga Tune Up on my website http://lowerbackpain.info
Great video. I will share with my father who suffers from severe lower back pain.
Kyoko, Thank you for your video, I love this pose, simple, and so available to everyone. I like the Boomerang,I had forgotten about that stretch, very good demontrationand very helpful
Great story and great pose! My sister-in-law lives in Japan (in Tokyo – very Westernized and no floor sitting / sleeping!) and will be flying home later this month. She suffers from a sore lower back and always feels the effects of the long flight for days. I will share this with her and see if it helps. Thank you, Kyoko!
Great article Kyoko! Just like walking barefoot, our bodies are meant to sit on the gound/dirt floors, revert back to the caveman era, and growing up in Vietnam. I feel sitting on the floor, cross-legged, helps with spinal extension, and hip flexors. Sitting on a chair, does the opposite. Sitting on a chair for prolong period of time causes, spinal decompression, and also other muscles compensate for the spine not being up right. I am a big fan of sitting on the floor also!
Thank you for this blog and video. I’ve introduced Boomerang pose to many of my classes and they are amazed at the difference it makes. Many of my students have said they felt like they “grew an inch” afterwards! My QL feels happy and alive when I forgo sitting on the couch and sit on the floor instead.
Boomerang is one of my favorite poses!! I can feel the sweet release in my QL and all along the side of my body down to my feet! I’m a waitress and when ever I begin to feel tightness in my lower back I find a wall, I engage my core and boomerang it out!!
Who would’ve thought lifestyle could matter this much on our health and posture… I have a three years old kid that is always on the move, I am mesmerized by the way he moves, I am always studying how he starts a move and what he integrates to complete that move, he moves so freely and strongly. For one thing, he’s barefoot must of the time but also, he’s on the floor most of the time,he squats no problem whatsoever, placing both feet on the floor. From now on, I will do Boomerang pose regularly and work in releasing tension on my gluteus area as well, maybe then I can squat with both feet on the floor to play marbles along my kid!
Boomerang it is! love all the articles on helping low back pain as I’ve suffered through it for years. All of these tips and poses AND the using the ball helps me significantly in reducing pain and living life 🙂
I’m going to incorporate boomerang stretch into my yoga classes. I like using walls and I’m going to make an effort to utilize the whole room, not just the mat.
I’ve never performed boomerang until this past week and let me tell you, it’s just plain awesome! It gets to the intercostal and thoracolumbar fascia in a way that no other stretch does. I’m glad we can help remedy ourselves with such simple yet effective tools.
I sit all day long and I find the boomerang pose to be a very supported way of stretching. I find my rib cage tends to flare up and hips become slightly uneven. I think I may be reaching over head too high. I will have to try with blocks to see if that makes a difference, thank you so much for this share!
What a concept, let’s throw out our furniture and we will live pain free and happier, I think I could like this so much.thanks Kyoko
Super! I just moved into a new apartment and I am debating whether to buy a couch or comfy cushions and pillows and this blog has helped me finalise that decision. I also tend to sit a lot at work so the boomerang will be a super lateral stretch will help with mobility.
Thanks for this excercise for the QL. I’ll remember it on my next flight!
This is perfect for my lower back. Thank you for posting.
I just did boomerang for the first time today and I love this pose! I don’t sit much, but as a massage therapist I am bent over a table for many hours a day and it takes a toll on my low back. This is going to be my new after work favorite go to pose>
I loved the personal context you used for your blog. As a massage therapist, low back issues are a common complaint. I know that the QL is often a culprit, but I didn’t know that Boomerang specifically targets the QL.To get best results home care is very important, so I will add the pose to my home care suggestions. The video is well done and the visual and verbal are clear and concise. Thank you.
I love the finger cues on this. would love some hip cues to know where the hips and should be in space.
A lot of my students, when I ask them if they have any particular body parts they would like to work on, say: lower back. Unlike the ribcage and the pelvis, the lumbar spine is very exposed and many people at some point or other feel pain in that area. And lateral flexion is something many people don’t think of when stretching. I really like boomerang on a wall for it being a stretching and strengthening pose in lateral flexion at the same time!
HI Kyoko–Thanks for this awesome simple movement that you can do anywhere! It feels really good after sitting at a desk all day. I have been fascinated by how Yoga Tune Up introduces these movements of equal and opposite motions within postures to create more activation in the muscles (for example, your last instruction to drag the hands away from each other created more of a sensation in the QL). I was first introduced to this concept when a yoga teacher instructed us in low crescent lunge to drag the heel of our front foot back while simultaneously dragging the top of the back foot forward. I never understood the instruction (I thought you were just supposed to sink the hips down and forward in low crescent lunge) until one day it clicked—and I felt the activation in my hip flexors! Similarly you have created the same activation in the QL by instructing us to drag our hands apart while in the side stretch. These small actions have great impact! Thanks again!
Wow, this feels amazing and definitely can be done in any tight spaces. Thank you so much. It’s going to be my go to.
I’ve always liked sitting on the floor. Squatting I’ve heard too is excellent for digestion and alignment and the back. And I have noticed that as soon as I go to my friends house and sit in their deep couch, I can only stand it for so long then my legs get completely antsy. Thank you for the exercises and perspective,
I love having new stretches and tools to share with my clients that can be performed anywhere! Time and space, are always given as reasons why a person can’t engage in self care, and this stretch is the perfect response! Thank you!
Thanks for sharing this Kyoko! Bad posture is something I’ve unfortunately had from a very young age. I have to make a very conscious effort to hold myself in a position that’s positive for my body. However, when my mind is on something else (such as at work) or when I’m tired, the proper positioning goes right out the window. Being at a desk for the last few years, I’ve definitely noticed more issues with my lower back in particular because of this. I’m always looking for ways I can stretch out and re-align myself, and that’s not always easy to do in a work setting. This boomerang pose has been fantastic. I felt an immediate effect even the first time doing it, and am looking forward to seeing even more improvement over time. Also, really great to have the visual aid with the video clip!
Although I grew up in a household that embraced chairs and really “deep” couches, as soon as I moved out, I got rid of all things to sit on! It started off as a cost saving measure when I was in school, but when I started feeling great in my often sore upper back, I have kept off them as much as possible. Boomerang is one of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® poses for the very reasons you mention — easy to do and very transportable!
Thank you very much for this!
I keep my balls at work in my desk drawer, but I work in a very stiff, formal, environment and it’s not always acceptable for me to whip them out and start putting my lower back on the wall. This is going to be something I can do instead without raising too many eyebrows, now to just fix my terrible desk posture!
Love the last tip at the end of the video! I use this as an opening stretch to a class & students immediately responded how open they suddenly felt.
This is such a great pose to incorporate into a class to help lower-back pain. Thank you for your clear video describing it!
I have been utilizing this exercise for about a week now. What a fantastic difference it has made. The very first time I watched the video and then attempted boomerang it just felt so good. I too had a decades long desk job staring at computer screens. Back problems were never far away, a few of which were debilitating.
Thank you so much for this wonderful tip.
So so true. Thank you.
For decades, I have been Sitting at a desk job coupled with all the sitting on couch, dinner table, restaurant, driving, etc., has caused chronic lower back pain and knee pain. I recently started incorporating at home a few times a day, going back to the floor, sitting and squatting. The results are amazing. I will also try the boomerang. Haven’t given up the furniture yet but certainly have lots of cushions and blocks in my living room now 🙂
Hi Kyoko, I enjoyed doing this stretch in class today and will definitely be adding it to my daily Yoga Tune Up routine. Great reminder for everyone that they need only spend a few minutes a day stretching and caring for their bodies to reap the benefits.
I love the simplicity of this pose. No props needed… so available to us all the time if we have a wall. Thanks for this reminder of how amazing Boomerang feels in the body.
Hi Kyoko this is Charles I am in the training course with you. I have been doing a 90 day chair fast, today is day 30. I think I am going in the direction of your youth. No chairs. I have already begun to feel the benefit of not letting myself partake in this.304
Kyoko, Thank you for your video. I have been working through low back tightness and most of the movements and stretches I have found are fore/aft movements. Its nice to balance that with some lateral stretching.
Great point Kyoko – I wish more people understood how much healthier it is to sit on the floor. Thank you for this great stretch to add to my repertoire. I love using the wall for leverage and stability and to get to those hard to reach places. The pose is also energizing because it allows the breath to deepen.
Kyoko, thank you for demonstrating the boomerang! I have just one question: you recommend doing this for 5 minutes, but would you perhaps do this for a longer duration on the short side of the body and and shorter duration on the long? For example, my right QL is short and tight and recently has been going “out.” My left side is longer (and probably still tight) and is chronically achey but only as a result of the right being so tight, I believe. I’m wondering if my right needs more time in boomerang?
Maybe this is something we can discuss in class today?!
See you soon, Elise
When my lower back aches, I find that releasing the QLs really really helps and I breathe better too; it’s so wonderful discovering new space that just wants to be tapped into. Sometimes, when they’re really seizing up I have to back off though, and I’ve noticed that one side is much much tighter than the other, which contributes to my imbalances; and these show up in my Yoga and Pilates practice. I need to get into Boomerang and stay there, for a long, long time 🙂
Thank you Kyoko, I watched this before my flight from Australia to San Fransisco and did the boomerang a few time throughout the flight. I really helped my low back and hips. Mahalo!!
Thank you for the blog, Kyoko. I drive three days a week about 3 – 3 1/2 hours per day. I will add Boomerang into my daily routine.
I love hearing about your experience in Japan and your resolve to stop using furniture. I do eat and spend most sitting on the floor at home and work but sitting while driving is my main culprit. I look forward to trying boomerang. Thank you!
Thank you Kyoko for this blog. Many of my practitioners of Yoga Tune Up love…. when we settle in to the QL.stretches. They find them simple and effective allowing them to walk away pain free. I loved that you stressed breathing and energetically pulling the top hand up and away to create more resistance, space and stretch in the side body. Not only is the Q.L. being mobilized but the inter-coastals and diaphragm are being asked to participate #embodyingdownregulating after a long day of sitting.
I had forgotten about that stretch, Amanda Tripp taught me that one. It does a wonderful job at opening up the side body. I need to do it more often and might just introduce that one in my classes next week. Thanks for the reminder.
The lower back is an issue with so many people, it is great to have a quick and effective stretch to provide them when they come seeking relief. The nice thing about using the wall as a prop, it allows for the closed chain feeling of stabilization when taking the stretch to your ‘edge’. The other nice thing about this Yoga Tune Up posture, is that there are other muscles along the side body that also benefit.