Back Pain

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Yoga isn’t just about relaxing your mind, it’s also hella good for strengthening your body. Focusing on poses that stretch the back can work on different muscles to improve any imbalances and alignment issues that could be at the root of your pain.

Back pain not only hurts, but it’s very annoying when it won’t go away (let me live my life!). If your bad posture or sedentary desk job has your back buggin’, yoga might just be your saving grace for back pain relief.

Why it’s beneficial

Practicing yoga for even a few minutes a day can help you gain more awareness of your body. This will help you notice where you’re holding tension and where you have imbalances. You can use this awareness to bring yourself into balance and alignment.

Yoga for Backpain

Cobra Pose

This snake-like backbend strengthens your spine and can help soothe any sciatic nerve pain. It also opens and stretches your abs, shoulders, and chest. It’s a great recommendation for stress relief.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  2. Bring your arms into your chest without letting your elbows bend outward.
  3. Press into your hands, lifting your upper body, opening chest and shoulders.
  4. Keep your pelvis grounded to protect and strengthen the lower back.
  5. Lift as far as you can — halfway, partway, or the whole way up.
  6. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
  7. Exhale and release your body back to the mat, placing hands by your sides.
  8. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds then repeat 4 to 5 times.

Happy Baby

This pose will have you feeling just as the name says. The happy baby relaxes the back muscles and stretches out the hips, neck, and shoulders.

  1. Lie on your back and bend knees into your stomach.
  2. With an inhale, grab the outside of your feet with your hands. Open your knees up toward your armpits.
  3. Be sure your ankles are over your knees with heels flexed. Push feet into hands as you pull your hands down to create pressure and resistance.
  4. Hold for anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds.

Child’s Pose

This pose works quite a lot of muscles for you. It alleviates stress from your work, stretching out the lower back, neck, thighs, wrists, and ankles.

You’ll feel your spine lengthen and tension release from your body. This is a go-to stretch after any intense lower body or ab workout.

  1. Sit in a kneeling position with your buttocks resting on your feet.
  2. Spread knees apart and bend your body forward placing your hands stretched in front of you.
  3. Rest your forehead on the floor in front of you.
  4. Keep arms extended out.
  5. Breathe in and out, focusing on releasing any tension in your back.
  6. Keep this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Half Lord of the Fishes

Come on baby, let’s do the twist! This twisting position radiates energy into your spine and back. It’s also a good stretch for your hips, neck, and shoulders. If you’re feeling fatigue, this pose will help alleviate that pain.

  1. Get yourself into a seated position on the floor, bringing your right foot in toward your body.
  2. Bring your left foot around to the outside of your right leg.
  3. Stretch your spine as you twist your body to the left.
  4. For needed support, place your left hand on the floor behind you.
  5. Bring your right arm across your left thigh as you twist.
  6. Keep hips square.
  7. Hold for 1 minute then repeat sides.

Bridge Pose

Booty work at your service! Not only does a bridge pose strengthen the muscles along the spine, it works the glutes and the abs as well. This stretch helps correct your posture while standing or sitting.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the ground, in line with your knees, with your arms at your sides.
  2. Raise your pelvis to the ceiling, squeezing your buttocks. The torso is upward with your back off of the ground. Your shoulders will do the work here with supporting your body.
  3. Hold the bridge for 5 seconds, focusing on squeezing that booty.
  4. Gently lower the torso down, one vertebra at a time.
  5. Repeat this 10 to 15 times per set with at least 3 sets.

Sphinx Pose

Another stress-reliever pose is the Sphinx Pose. This stretch strengthens your spine and booty. It also stretches out your abs, chest and shoulders — similar to Locust Pose.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you.
  2. Engage those lower body muscles, anchoring the pelvis to the floor.
  3. Place elbows under your shoulders with your forearms and hands still on the floor.
  4. Rolling your shoulders back, gently lift up your head and upper body.
  5. Lift up through your spine.
  6. Remain engaged in the stretch and muscles being used, keeping your gaze straight ahead.
  7. Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes.

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Seated Forward Bend

This seated pose is a classic yoga pose that is great for your back and hamstrings. It’s known to relieve stress and create a calming sensation.

  1. Begin sitting with your legs in front of you.
  2. Reach arms to your sides and then over your head, reaching toward the ceiling.
  3. Inhale, stretching your spine.
  4. Exhale to lengthen your spine, moving forward into a bend. Keep your spine long as you hinge forward.
  5. Stay in this position or let the spine round forward.
  6. Keep your feet flexed during this pose. If you can reach, hold your ankles of shins for extension.
  7. Keep pose for 1 to 3 minutes.

Locust Pose

The locust pose is similar to the Superman Pose. It’s a calming backbend to get those kinks and pains out of your lower back, while also stretching the arms, legs, and torso.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms to your sides, palms facing up.
  2. Place your feet hip-width apart and parallel.
  3. Place your forehead onto the ground.
  4. Gently lift your head, chest and arms up as far as your body lets you.
  5. For an enhanced stretch, lift your legs as you lift your upper body.
  6. Keep your gaze straight or up as you stretch the back of your neck.
  7. Keep this post for up to 1 minute.
  8. Take a small rest before repeating.

Thread the Needle Pose

This pose is known to loosen the upper back muscles. It deeply stretches out the sides of the body; you’ll definitely feel it as you thread the needle.

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Walk your hands out in front of you until they’re below your shoulders. Keep the arms straight and the rest of the body still as you do so.
  3. Take your left arm and pass it under your right arm while also rotating the chest to the right. The back of your left hand will rest on the floor with your palm up.
  4. Lower your left shoulder as much as you can while also placing the left side of your head onto the floor.
  5. Keep this pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Push up using your right arm to get back to the original position, then repeat on the opposite side.

Two-Knee Spinal Twist Pose

If you’re feeling any pain or tightness in your back or hips, this pose is a must for you. The twisting motion creates restoration and mobility in the spine and back.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees to your chest and your arms stretched out to your sides, like a letter T.
  2. Lower your legs to the left side, keeping them held close together, creating a twist motion.
  3. To enhance the stretch, turn your head to the right. You can also use your left hand to press down onto the knees.
  4. Keep both shoulders on the floor.
  5. Be sure to focus on your breathing during this pose.
  6. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.

Bottom Line

If you’re willing to try something new for back pain, yoga could be your answer. Another study found practicing yoga decreased pain levels by a small to moderate amount over a short period of time. While this research is helpful to see the benefits of yoga, more research is needed to know exactly how beneficial practicing yoga is for back pain.

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