Yoga & Pilates

6 Best Yoga Poses For Back Pain

These yoga poses for back pain may just be the relief you need...

Many believe yoga has helped alleviate their back pain. Photo: iStock

Are you suffering from back pain? Yoga might just be the practice that will alleviate your aches. Back pain can be caused by a number of factors – whether it’s from sitting at a desk all day, lifting heavy loads, snowboarding, or stress related tension. You might not even be sure exactly where the pain is originating from.

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People who practice yoga are twice as likely to cut back on medication for their back pain, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Yoga poses help strengthen back muscles which are essential the muscular movement of the spine and helping the body keep an upright position. Yoga also helps stretch out tight muscles and decrease stress in places like the lower back.

The meditation side of yoga may also change the way you perceive pain and therefore reduce the overall feeling of pain in your back.

These yoga poses will stretch the back in all directions, provide some emotional relaxation and hopefully give you some relief from back pain.


Photo: iStock

Start on hands and knees. Place hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hip joints. Engage your core muscles. Inhale, scoop your chest forward and stick your tailbone towards the sky. Press your hands away from the mat. Exhale, round your back and gaze towards your belly button. Repeat five times or until you feel satisfied.



Photo: iStock

Often people with lower back pain also have tight hamstrings. This posture will lengthen your hamstrings and provide some release for your lower back. Allow your head to hang down heavy. Feel free to keep the knees bents and eventually working on straightening the legs.

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Photo: iStock


Triangle is great for strengthening back and legs, plus it helps lengthen the rib cage muscles and stretch your outer hip.

Point your right foot towards the front of the mat and back foot parallel to the back of the mat. Align front heel with arch of back foot.

Inhale, reach your right hand forward as though you are going to shake someone’s hand. Then bring the back of the right hand to the inside of the right leg. Left hand reaches for the sky. Twist and open your chest up towards the sky. Breathe deeply and hold for five full breaths (inhale and exhale). Repeat on the other side.


Photo: iStock

One-legged pigeon is a therapeutic pose for people who have back pain as a result of tight hips. It stretches the iliopsoas muscle as well as hip rotators and flexors.

Start in downward facing dog. Bend your right knee, bring it up towards your nose and then lay it on the ground near your right wrist. Gently rest shin on the floor. Walk the left toes backwards.

Start by sitting up tall and gradually lower your torso to the floor. Hold for five full breaths or until you feel satisfied. When you are finished, tuck your back toes under and press back up to downward facing dog. Repeat on the other side.

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Photo: iStock

Bridge is a good gentle back bend to strengthen the muscles in the lower back. Lie on the floor on your back and bring the soles of your feet to the floor.

Keep feet hip distance apart and bring the back of your heels close as you can to your sitting bones. Keep your arms by your side, palms face down. As you inhale, press into the soles of your feet, engage your thigh muscles and lift your hips towards the ceiling.

If you want to go a bit further, interlace your fingers underneath you, walk your shoulder blades together and lift a little higher. Hold for five breaths, lower gently. Repeat until you feel satisfied.



Photo: iStock

Twists are great for releasing the lower back and increasing the flexibility in your spine. Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Inhale, stretch your arms out to the side in a T shape. As you exhale, allow both of your knees to release down to the right side with left leg stacked on top of the right.

Keep your shoulders in contact with the floor. Take your gaze over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply and hold here for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

For more help, try this 30 minute yoga video at home, specially designed for people with back pain.

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