If you are suffering from back pain, you might have tried to alleviate the discomfort by lying on the ground and resting. However, more than this approach might be required.
If you are facing back pain, yoga might be the solution to help relieve the pain.
Here, we will discuss six yoga poses that are proven to be effective for easing back pain. These yoga poses are easy and straightforward to learn, and you don’t need any prior experience to start practicing them.
Downward-facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Get down on your hands and knees, with your hands in front of your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Spread your palms, rooting down through all four corners of your hands, and turn your toes under.
- On an inhalation, lift your knees from the floor, keeping your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted off the floor. Stretch your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and draw your inner legs from your inner ankles up through your groins.
- On an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels toward the floor. Straighten your knees without locking them.
- Firm your outer arms and press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor. Lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward your tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms.
- Stay in the pose for 10 or more breaths, then bend your knees on an exhalation and lower yourself into Child’s Pose.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- You can begin by lying down flat on your stomach.
- Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides.
- Pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position. Anchor your pubic bone to the floor.
- Inhale to lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and keep your low ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging your sides. Don’t let them wing out to either side.
- Keep your neck neutral. Don’t crank it up. Your gaze should stay on the floor.
- Exhale to release back to the floor
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Sit on your heels, knees spread mat distance apart, and bring your head towards the floor
- Your arms can be either stretched out to the front, by your side, or hands underneath your forehead
- Breathe into your lower back
- Stay for anywhere between 30 seconds and several minutes in this resting pose
- To come out, exhale and roll up vertebra by vertebra, or come back to sitting with a straight spine.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Sit on the floor with your feet together and your legs extended.
- Exhale as you bend at the hips and slowly lower your torso.
- Lengthen the spine, grab your feet and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Note: If you are pregnant, you should avoid this pose.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Standing forward bend is one of the easiest yoga poses to do. It is also the most effective pose to reduce neck and back pain. You can start with this posture if you want to ease your back pain.
- Stand straight with feet together and arms alongside the body.
- Balance your weight equally on both feet.
- Breathing in, extend your arms overhead.
- Breathing out, bend forward and down towards the feet.
- Stay in the posture for 20-30 seconds and continue to breathe deeply.
- Keep the legs and spine erect; hands rest either on the floor, beside the feet, or on the legs.
- On the out-breath, move the chest towards the knees; lift the hips and tailbone higher; press the heels down; let the head relax and move it gently towards the feet. Keep breathing deeply.
- Breathing in, stretch your arms forward and up, and slowly come up to the standing position.
- Breathing out, bring the arms to the sides
Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
The supported shoulderstand pose is one of the best poses to stretch the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
How to do it:
- Begin by lying flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
- On an inhalation, use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs and hips off the floor. Curl your torso and bring your knees in toward your face. Then, lift your hips and bring your torso perpendicular to the floor.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back with your fingertips pointing up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Do not let your elbows splay out to the sides.
- When you are comfortable, lift your thighs so they are vertical to the floor, keeping your knees bent. Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Then, straighten your legs fully and reach your feet up to the ceiling. Lift through the balls of your feet.
- Try to bring your shoulders, hips, and feet into one line.
- Keep your head and neck in line with your spine and do not turn your head. Draw your shoulder blades firmly into your upper back. Keep a space between your chin and chest, and soften your throat. Gaze toward your chest.
- Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. More advanced practitioners can hold the pose for five minutes or longer. To release the pose, slowly lower your feet back to the ground, coming into Plow Pose (Halasana) with your hands supporting your back. Then, release your hands to your sides and slowly roll down, one vertebra at a time, bending your knees if you need to. Then, come into Fish Pose (Matsyasana).
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
This pose helps to stretch the back muscles and relieve lower back pain. It also improves blood flow in the lower limbs, which helps to strengthen them.
It is an excellent pose to practice in the morning when you are fresh.
- Start in Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle) with your left foot forward.
- Bring your right hand to your hip and turn your head to look at the floor.
- Bend your front leg and shift your weight into your front foot.
- Reach your front hand a little forward and place it on the mat or a block directly beneath your front shoulder. Press down through your fingers to steady yourself.
- Lift your back leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly turn your chest to face the right, twisting your torso and hips. Reach your top hand to the ceiling.
- Either keep your gaze on the floor or slowly bring it to your top hand. Keep a slight bend in your standing leg so you don’t hyperextend your knee.
- Exit the pose the same way you came into it and return to Extended Triangle.