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Yoga Tailbone Exercises

By Nicole Vulcan

Whether your aim is to relieve pain or to simply strengthen the muscles and connective tissues of your tailbone area, a few key yoga poses can help. Starting with a standing forward bend will begin to loosen the muscles of your legs and back, but from there, incorporate a few other tailbone-focused poses into your yoga practice.

Cat-Cow Sequence

The cat-cow sequence is one you'll often do at the beginning of a yoga routine to stretch your spine and the muscles around your tailbone and strengthen your core and spine. The muscles you stretch can include the erector spinae that stretches into the sacral area, as well as the rectus abdominis and the obliques of the abdomen. When these muscles are strong, they'll support proper function of the entire spine. From a "tabletop" position on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders, round your spine upward as you exhale into the "cat" pose. Press your belly button toward your spine, adding length to your spine. As you inhale, arch your back into the "cow" position, focusing your attention on adding length in your sacrum and tailbone area. Continue moving back and forth between cat and cow several times, breathing in and out with each movement.

Cobra Pose

Upward-facing dog and cobra can also help to realign and stretch the muscles surrounding your spine and strengthen the gluteal muscles that support your tailbone. Your gluteus maximus attaches to your tailbone, and if it's tight from disuse, it can cause pain. Lie face-down on your mat, stretching your toes toward the back of your mat to gain length in your spine. Place your hands flat on the mat under your shoulders and inhale as you press your arms into the floor and lift your chest, stopping when your upper arms are parallel to the floor and slightly bent. Keep your pubic bone touching the floor. Press your sternum up, but don't press your ribs forward, as that can cause your lower back to tighten up, reminds "Yoga Journal." Continue breathing as you hold the pose for several breaths. Also try upward-facing dog, which is similar to cobra but with your arms completely straight and your pubis lifted.

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog is often the next pose, directly after cobra, and it can help open up and create more space in your tailbone area and stretch your hamstrings and your deep external rotators. Your external rotators include the piriformis, which attaches to your sacrum and, when tight, can cause sciatica pain. From cobra or upward-facing dog -- or from your hands and knees -- press your palms into the floor firmly as you press your knees away from the floor, exhaling. Make an effort to lengthen your tailbone and press it toward your pubic bones, away from the back of your pelvis, suggests "Yoga Journal." Press your heels toward the floor and your sitting bones toward the ceiling. Inhale and exhale deeply for several breaths. Repeat a simple sequence of forward bends, cat-cows, cobra or upward-facing dog and then downward-facing dog.

Warming Up

Lots of other poses will help to strengthen your gluteals and stretch your muscles and connective tissues, so try a restorative yin or general beginner's class to learn more poses. Before your workout, do a warm-up that will deliver more blood -- and oxygen -- to your muscles and prepare them for the work ahead. Simple ways to warm up include walking briskly or jogging for five to 10 minutes. Doing jumping jacks or riding a bicycle for five to 10 minutes can also serve as a proper warm-up.

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