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?

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Kyoko Jasper

Kyoko Jasper (ERYT-500) was born and raised in Japan. In 1985, she moved to NYC to become an actress and for over two decades, she has been performing in Musical Theatre, TV and Film. After the devastating day of 9-11-2001, led by an undeniable calling in her heart, Kyoko went through a dramatic shift which led her passion to a Yogic way of life. Now she is dedicating herself to spread peace and healing all over the world through Yoga and other healing methods. Kyoko travels to Japan and other parts of the world regularly to teach at conferences and retreats. She specializes in training teachers for her Yoga Alliance Teacher Training and CE program. Kyoko is certified in Dharma Mittra 500 hours TT, Yoga Tune Up®, Acro Yoga®, Circus Yoga® and Next generation Yoga®. Continuing Education of Embodied Anatomy with Amy Matthews, Philosophy and Sanskrit study at the Bhakti Center in NYC. She is a Kirtan Leader, Reiki Master and also a Spiritual Life Coach. Kyoko is known for her fun, creative and loving teaching style. She will help her students to unravel themselves by becoming deeply in touch with their spirit. Aligning the body with precision so the energy can flow through it freely. Follow Kyoko on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/KyokoJasperYoga

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Elise

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 ! 🙂

Patricia Lamontagne

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 😀

Kris Killian

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.… Read more »

Ethan Hammond

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!!

Ali Bell

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.

Mindy Micheli

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… Read more »

Rebecca Schuster

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

Nicole

Great video. I will share with my father who suffers from severe lower back pain.

Serge Goyette

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

thanks

Sheena

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!

Thu Maraia

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!

Elizabeth Bond

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.

Nicole Adell

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!!

Gabriela

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… Read more »

Kerry Cruz

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 🙂

Karolina hess

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.

Aracelly

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.

MEI WONG

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!

Claire

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

Scott Simons

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.

Loretta Zedella

Thanks for this excercise for the QL. I’ll remember it on my next flight!

Angela

This is perfect for my lower back. Thank you for posting.

Crystal Fauber

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>

Cindy Thomas

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.

Kim Cordova

I love the finger cues on this. would love some hip cues to know where the hips and should be in space.

Claudia Blasimann

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!

Cristina G.

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… Read more »

Beth

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.

Icia

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,

sara

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!

David D

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… Read more »

Dawn Mauricio

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!

Natalie

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!

Sang

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.

Jimmee Greco

This is such a great pose to incorporate into a class to help lower-back pain. Thank you for your clear video describing it!

Douglas Hager

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.

Bella

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 🙂

Melinda

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.

Yvonne

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.

Charles

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

Tamar

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.

TDY

Stacey Rosenberg

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.

Elise Fabricant

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… Read more »

Emilie Goldstein Mikulla

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 🙂

Dustin Brown

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!!

Ann Knighton

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.

Melissa

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!

Nancy

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.

Colleen Collins

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.

Victoria Ryder-Burbidge

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.