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June 05, 2023 8 min read

Yoga is an ancient practice of physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation that has been used for centuries to help people reduce stress, improve physical and mental health, and increase overall wellness. For those suffering from low back pain, there are specific poses that can help alleviate the discomfort associated with this condition.

Low Back pain

This article will provide an introduction to the best yoga poses for lower back pain, including the benefits and potential risks of using yoga as a form of treatment. It will also offer tips on how to get the most out of these poses and provide examples of some of the most beneficial poses to try.

With the right knowledge and a commitment to practice regularly, gentle yoga can be an effective and enjoyable way to reduce and manage lower back pain.

1. Child's Pose (Balasana)

The Child's Pose is a yoga posture that can help elongate and strengthen your back. It works by separating the individual vertebrae in your spinal cord, which can relieve pressure on nerves and alleviate back problems.

Starting your daily yoga practice with this pose can help align and lengthen your spine, especially if you suffer from lower back pain caused by spinal compression.

Additionally, the Child's Pose is a relaxing way to de-stress before bed, and it can help prepare your lower back for a comfortable night's sleep. Try incorporating this pose into your nightly routine for a peaceful and restful sleep.

  1. Kneel on your mat with the knees hip-width apart and your big toes touching.

  2. Lower your buttocks to rest on your feet.

  3. Exhale and fold your torso over your thighs.

  4. Reach your arms long in front of you with your palms touching the floor.

  5. Draw your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders to lengthen your neck and spine.

  6. Your torso should now be between your knees unless you prefer to do the Child Pose with your inner thighs together.

  7. Rest your forehead on the mat.

  8. Stay in the Child’s Pose and breathe deeply for at least ten breaths, working up to staying in the pose for as many as 5 minutes.

2. Cat and Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

The combination of Cat and Cow Pose can help loosen your back muscles, mobilize your spine, and stretch your torso, shoulders, and neck.

These two poses involve flexion and extension of your spine, making them ideal for enhancing spinal mobility and finding your spine's neutral position.

Practicing the Cat-Cow Pose regularly not only helps you achieve balance but also improves your posture, which can provide additional support for your lower back.

 

  1. Start in a tabletop position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

  2. Move into the Cat Pose by taking a deep breath and on the exhalation, drop your head and lift your spine to round your back and shoulder blades while tucking your tailbone.

  3. Next, move into the cow pose on the next inhale.

  4. While keeping the abs engaged, drop your hips and lift your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold the cow pose for 3 slow breaths.

  5. You have now completed one repetition.

  6. Repeat these movements, flowing into the cat on an exhalation, and into the cow on the inhale.

  7. Do 5 to 10 reps.

Spending many hours of your day seated and bent over a phone or computer can easily be the cause of stiffness in your spine and the lack of spinal mobility can contribute to low back pain.

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The Downward Facing Dog pose is a highly effective way to stretch your entire body and target the back extensors, which are the large muscles that form your lower back and support your spine.

It also stretches your hamstrings and lower back, creating space between your vertebrae. Since it requires inversion, it promotes circulation, particularly in the upper back.

This pose is beneficial for lengthening your entire posterior chain, which can alleviate tension in your glutes and legs that contributes to low back pain.

In some cases, low back pain may not originate from the back itself, but from around it. If your legs and hips are tight, your spine may be forced into an unnatural position.

  1. The Downward Facing Dog Pose starts in a tabletop position, but instead of your hands being directly beneath your shoulders, walk them forward a few inches.

  2. While pressing through your hands, lift your butt and hips toward the ceiling, straightening your legs.

  3. Drop your head so that your crown faces the floor.

  4. Keep your knees slightly bent and try to press your heels to the floor. If you can't get your heels to touch the floor at first, don't worry. As you progress over time, it will become easier.

  5. Also, you might want to keep your knees deeply bent until your back muscles become more flexible and less tight.

  6. Gently press your heels to the floor, and keep your knees slightly bent.

  7. Hold the downward dog pose for 5 to 10 slow breaths.

  8. Rest and repeat several times, working up to holding the pose for a minute or longer as you progress over days.

4. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

The Forward Fold Pose is a yoga position that goes by a few different names, including forward fold and upward forward bend.

This pose is designed to stretch out the hamstrings, lower back, and entire spine, while also providing relief for anyone experiencing tight or tense shoulders.

Additionally, since it is considered a mild inversion, it has the potential to reduce blood pressure and alleviate headaches.

By using the weight of the head, this pose can lengthen the spine and relieve any pressure between the vertebrae.

However, it's important to avoid the Standing Forward Fold if you have any current injuries or disc problems. In these cases, the Seated Forward Fold may be a safer alternative.

  1. Start the Standing Forward Fold pose standing with your feet together.

  2. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, hinge at your hips and fold your torso forward, keeping your spine long.

  3. To avoid the bend coming from your back instead of your hips, stick your butt out and lift your tailbone.

  4. Let your upper body relax toward the floor, letting the crown of your head hang toward the floor.

  5. Depending on your flexibility, you can rest your fingertips or palms rest on the floor, or hold on to opposite elbows. You may even let your fingers rest on your shins or a yoga block.

  6. Keep your knees slightly bent, or if you're a beginner, start with a deep bend in your knees.

  7. Hold the Standing Forward Fold for 5 to 10 slow, deep breaths.

5. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pad Rajakapotasana)

The Pigeon Pose is a highly effective way to stretch and open up tight hips, and it can be intense at times. This pose is especially beneficial for people who suffer from tightness in their hip area.

By creating space in the hip joints and lengthening the hip flexor, the Pigeon Pose helps to stretch the piriformis muscle and can even alleviate painful sciatica.

Although it can be challenging for beginners, it is a worthwhile pose to master. Surprisingly, this pose can also help with backaches, as tight hips can contribute to lower back pain. This is because the muscles and nerves of the lower back are closely connected to the legs and hips.

Opening up the hips with the Pigeon Pose can help to relieve pressure and reduce pain in the back.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands positioned slightly ahead of your shoulders and your knees positioned directly under your hips.

  2. Slide your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist, angling your right foot towards your left hip.

  3. Straighten your left leg behind you, extending it back as far as you comfortably can.

  4. Gently lower your body down towards the ground, placing your hands on the mat in front of you.

  5. Square your hips towards the ground, ensuring that your right hip is not lifting up.

  6. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths, or longer if comfortable.

  7. Repeat the pose on the opposite side, bringing your left knee forward and extending your right leg behind you.

6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

The cobra pose is great for enhancing and intensifying your breathing. It can assist in reducing back pain and maintaining a flexible and healthy spine.

Not just that, this pose also enhances the strength of your back muscles, core muscles, abdominal muscles, chest, and shoulders.

Regular practice of the Cobra Pose can make your spine stronger and provide relief from sciatica. Moreover, it may also alleviate stress and fatigue that often come with backache.

  1. Begin by lying face down on your mat with your legs extended straight behind you and the tops of your feet resting on the floor.

  2. Place your hands underneath your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward, and your elbows tucked in towards your body.

  3. Inhale deeply and press your hands firmly into the ground, straightening your arms and lifting your chest off the ground.

  4. Keep your elbows close to your body and roll your shoulders back, drawing your shoulder blades together.

  5. Keep your gaze forward or slightly upward and hold the pose for 5 to 10 slow and even breaths.

7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

The Bridge Pose is a yoga posture that can benefit your body in multiple ways. It involves a back bend and inversion that can either stimulate or restore your energy.

By opening up your chest and shoulders, this pose gently stretches the hip flexors, which is especially useful for those who have to sit for long periods.

It's also a great way to strengthen the muscles in your back and legs, including the gluteus maximus muscle.

Strong glutes can reduce the risk of using your lower back muscles as a substitute for weak glutes.

Additionally, the Bridge Pose can stretch your spine and alleviate lower back pain and headaches.

  1. Lie on your back on your mat with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart, flat on the ground.

  2. Rest your arms by your sides with your palms facing down.

  3. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, press your feet firmly into the ground and lift your hips up towards the ceiling.

  4. As you lift your hips, roll your shoulders back and bring your hands underneath your body, interlacing your fingers.

  5. Press your arms and shoulders into the ground and lift your chest towards your chin, creating a gentle back bend.

  6. Keep your feet parallel and your knees aligned with your ankles.

  7. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 slow, deep breaths.

Listen to Your Body

Developing and practicing a yoga routine, even for a few minutes daily, can help you become more aware of your body and identify areas of tension or imbalance. This awareness can help you bring balance and alignment to your body. Even simple yoga poses can alleviate pain caused by prolonged sitting or poor posture.

Pigeon Pose

Although yoga can help alleviate chronic back pain, certain poses carry potential injury risks. It's important to move mindfully, listen to your body's limits, and avoid pushing yourself too far.

To prevent injury, keep these things in mind:

1. Avoid forward folds if you have disc problems.

2. Don't overstretch and ease into poses slowly.

3. Pay attention to alignment.

4. Work with a qualified yoga teacher if you're a beginner.

Yoga can be a safe and effective way of low back pain relief without taking painkillers, but it's crucial to practice with caution and mindfulness.