The Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

In many cases, back pain results from bad posture. Yoga incorporates stretches and relaxation. We'll show you some exercises for reducing back pain or largely preventing it.
The Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Last update: 21 December, 2018

If you release the accumulated tension in your back muscles, you’ll be able to relieve the pain. In order to do so, strengthening and conditioning your muscles is fundamental so that they can better support the spine and relieve the stress.

Most back strengthening exercises focus on the central, abdominal or butt muscles.

All central muscles are essential for supporting and minimizing tension in the spine. However, we don’t use our central muscles much in our normal daily activities.

In order to strengthen our abdominal core and back muscles, we need exercises that specifically target these muscle groups.

Yoga for back pain

The most practiced form of yoga is Hatha Yoga. A physical form, hatha yoga incorporates a series of poses, asanas, while working on a breathing technique, pranayama.

Practitioners follow body poses and breathing techniques that are very basic and, sometimes, very complicated. The objective of yoga is to provide the practitioner with a set of physical and mental benefits. 

We recommend that you read: 10 Home Remedies for Back Pain

Physical benefits of yoga exercises

Yoga helps strengthen muscles and specific muscle groups. Doing yoga positions doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience. However, it does require concentration and targeted muscle use in the whole body.

Muscle strength improves by doing these yoga positions and incorporating various movements.

Many of the poses in this discipline gently strengthen back muscles as well as those in the abdominal region.

The back and abdominal muscles are essential parts of the spine’s muscle network, which helps keep the body in posture and move it correctly while in vertical position.

When these muscles are trained well, back pain can decrease or be prevented for the most part.

Yoga incorporates stretches and relaxation, which reduces tension in the muscles that harbor stress.

Yoga obligates a person to keep his or her movements swift for 10 to 60 seconds. In a pose, certain muscles flex while others stretch, aiding in muscle and joint relaxation and flexibility.

Yoga poses for back pain

Downward-facing dog

This classic pose is a great stretch for the body. It goes down the extensors, which are the big muscles that help form your lower back that keep your spine in place and help you lift things.

Try it:

Start by laying on your stomach with your hands a little above your shoulders.
Moving backwards, push your knees off the ground and lift your coccyx towards the ceiling.
For an extra hamstrings stretch, gently bring your heels towards the floor.
Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and repeat the pose seven times.

Child pose

You might look like you’re resting, but the child pose is an active stretch that helps stretch out your back.
In addition, it’s also a great way to de-stress before going to bed after a long, exhausting day.

Try it:
Start off on all fours, keep your arms forward and sit so that your butt is resting on top of your heels.
Stay in the pose and breathe deeply. Feel the air flowing all the way down to your hips.
The more you stretch yourself out in any direction, the more relief you’ll get from the pose.

Repeat 10 times.

Extended triangle pose

This pose is great for strengthening your back and legs. It can also help lengthen the side muscles in your torso while stretching the muscle fibers along your leg (IT band or iliotibial band).

Try it:
Start by standing with both feet together.
Then, move your left foot one step back and point it outwards at a 45º angle.
Turn your chest to the side and open the pose by extending your right arm towards the ground and your left arm towards the ceiling. Keep both your right and left legs straight.
You might not be able to touch the ground with your right arm when starting out, so don’t push yourself too hard. Just bend down as much as you can while keeping your back straight.
Stay in the position for 5 to 10 breaths, then change to the other side and repeat as needed.

Cat-cow pose

These are perfect poses for head, cervical and, especially, back pain. The cat-cow stretches loosen up back muscles whether you want to do it for a yoga routine or for a warm-up leading up to a different exercise.

Try it:
Start on all fours. Move into the cat pose by slowly pushing your spine upwards, arching your back. Hold the pose for a couple seconds and then move into the cow pose by a retracting your spine, pushing your shoulder-blades back while lifting your head.
Switching from cat to cow pose helps the spine balance into a neutral position, relax muscles and reduce tension.
Repeat 10 times, going back and forth smoothly from cat to cow and back.

These poses are a great way to keep your back flexible, trained and happy.

While yoga may not be a good option for those with intense back pain, people with occasional or chronic back pain can benefit from these poses.

It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Don’t ever force any pose because you could end up with an injury. If you have extreme pain, you might want to seek medical attention.

When it comes to pack pain, prevention is key for a long life free from pain. However, listening to your body is also extremely important as well.

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