6 Yoga Poses to Try For Back Pain
Child’s Pose: When you witness someone else practicing this pose, it may look like they are totally relaxed. And while it is one of the more relaxing yoga poses, it is also actively stretching and elongating the back. It is also useful for anyone suffering insomnia or dealing with aches and pains that keep them from falling asleep at night. To do this pose, start on all fours and slowly push back toward your heels with your arms and hands outstretched in front of you. The key is to hold the glutes right above the heels without touching them. Hold this pose for five to ten breaths before repeating if you so choose.
Pigeon Pose: While this yoga pose might be a little more difficult for complete yoga beginners or anyone with tight muscles, it won’t take long to ease into pigeon pose. Pigeon pose does not directly focus on stretching the back, rather the hip flexors and rotators. The reason it helps with back pain is because tight hips can be the culprit behind some cases of lower back pain. When you do pigeon pose, you are keeping your hips stretched and flexible and therefore limiting the amount of back pain that you experience. To do this pose, begin in downward facing dog. From there, pull your right knee through your extended arms and lower your body down onto the mat. Keep your left leg extended out behind you with your right knee in front of you and your upper body straight, keeping your chest out. Hold this pose for five to ten breaths before alternating legs to get an even stretch on both sides.
Bow Pose: This is one of the more advanced yoga poses and should not be practiced by anyone who is enduring intense back pain. If you are healing from a major back injury, stick to lighter, doctor-approved stretches and yoga poses for now. However, if you are looking to strengthen your back in order to prevent future injury, correct your posture, and alleviate minor back pain and tension, the bow pose is the way to go. To begin, start by laying face down on your mat. Keep your arms by your sides and prepare to grab your ankles with your hands. Once your ankles are held securely, lift your head, chest, and legs up off the mat. Hold this pose before slowly lowering yourself back down onto the mat. As you continue to practice this pose regularly, increase the amount of time you hold the bow pose while deepening your inhalations and exhalations. This is an excellent pose for preventing a hunched back, correcting poor posture, and stretching and strengthening the upper back and shoulders.
Downward Facing Dog: Of the most common yoga poses and most beneficial for back pain is downward facing dog. This is used continuously by yoga instructors throughout the duration of a yoga class. This pose offers an endless array of health benefits and is definitely worth trying for anyone suffering from lower back pain in particular. To do this pose, stretch your hands out in front of you with your legs and feet straight behind you. Push your body up off the mat so that you are in a V-shape. Allow your head to hang in between your arms with your elbows and knees locked, but not too tightly. You will feel a stretch in your calves and your entire body will elongate. However, downward facing dog is especially helpful for elongating the spine while strengthening your lower back, core, and hamstrings. Even if you do not suffer from back pain, this is an excellent pose to do in order to prevent back pain or further injury. If you are suffering from back pain, do this pose slowly, being sure not to strain anything.
Triangle Pose: This is a great pose for those who are new to yoga and look for something simple to immediately starting helping with short-term and long-term back health. The more you practice this pose, the better you will get at it and the easier it will become to stretch more and build your flexibility. The triangle pose stretches muscles in the back as well as strengthens and lengthens them. The more flexibility and strength you have in your back, the less likely you are to experience pain or be at risk for an injury. For those who are suffering from minor back pain, do this pose very slowly in order to reap the full benefits of a deep stretch (and to prevent yourself from overdoing the stretch and creating more pain). For the triangle pose, begin by standing with one foot outstretched in front of the other. You want your stance to be similar to the warrior pose. Next lower the hand that is closest to your outstretched foot down toward the floor. It does not have to touch the mat, but the more you practice the pose, the easier it will become to do it. The other hand should be outstretched toward the sky with your head and upper body turned outward. Hold this pose for five to ten breaths before switching feet and repeating on the other side.
Cat/Cow Pose: This is one of the simplest and most effective yoga poses to practice for back pain. If you are suffering from soreness and aches in your lower back, a couple rounds of the cat/cow pose will help tremendously with the pain. This is also a great warm-up stretch to try before any other forms of exercise as it builds flexibility in the back and loosens up the back muscles. To do the cat/cow pose, get on all fours on your yoga mat. From there, alternate between lifting your head up, pushing your chest forward, and inverting your back to lowering your head, tucking your chest in toward your spine and arching your back (the way a cat would when it is stretching). Do five to ten rounds of this pose and inhale as your arch your back and exhale as you push your chest forward.
Have other yoga poses that might help with back pain? Let us know about it by leaving a comment below. Thank you.