The 5 Best Yoga Poses For Back Pain

Why is it beneficial

If you suffer from back pain, yoga may be just what your doctor ordered. Yoga is a body-mind therapy that is often recommended not only to treat back pain, but also the stress associated with it. The right poses can relax and strengthen your body.

Practicing yoga for even a few minutes a day can help you become more aware of your body. This will help you notice where you maintain tension and where you have imbalances. You can use this awareness to balance and align yourself.

Read on to learn more about how these poses can be helpful in treating back pain.

1. Cat-cow

Cat-CowThis soft and accessible curvature stretches and mobilizes the spine. Practicing this pose also stretches your neck, shoulders, and torso.

Muscles worked:

  • spinal
  • right abdomen
  • triceps
  • serratus anterior
  • buttocks

To do this:

  1. Get on all fours.
  2. Place your wrists and your knees under your shoulders and hips respectively.
  3. Balance your weight evenly between the four points.
  4. Inhale as you look up and drop your stomach towards the mat.
  5. Exhale as you tuck your chin into your chest, pull your belly button toward your spine, and arch your spine toward the ceiling.
  6. Be aware of your body as you do this movement.
  7. Focus on noticing and releasing tension in your body.
  8. For at least 1 minute, continue this fluid movement.

2. Downward facing dog

Downward-Facing DogThis traditional forward turn can be restful and rejuvenating. Practicing this pose can help in relieving back pain and sciatica. It helps to resolve imbalances in the body and improves strength.

Muscles worked:

  • hamstrings
  • deltoids
  • buttocks
  • triceps
  • quadriceps

To do this:

  1. Get on all fours.
  2. Place your hands in line under your wrists and your knees under your hips.
  3. Press down on your hands, tuck your toes underneath, and lift your knees.
  4. Bring your seated bones towards the ceiling.
  5. Keep the knees slightly bent and lengthen the spine and tailbone.
  6. Keep your heels slightly off the ground.
  7. Press firmly in your hands.
  8. Between both sides of your body distribute your weight evenly, paying attention to the position of your hips and shoulders.
  9. Keep your head aligned with your upper arms or with your chin tucked in slightly.
  10. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

3. Extended triangle

Extended TriangleThis classic standing posture can help relieve back pain, sciatica, and neck pain. It stretches your groin, hips, and spine and strengthens your chest, legs, and shoulders. It can also help relieve stress and anxiety.

Muscles worked:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • internal oblique
  • gluteus maximus and medius
  • hamstrings
  • quadriceps

To do this:

  1. From a standing position, spread your feet apart about 4 feet.
  2. Turn forward your right toes and your left toes at an angle.
  3. Parallel to the floor, lift your arms with your palms facing down.
  4. Lean forward and pivot at your right hip to move forward with your arm and torso.
  5. Bring your hand to your leg, a yoga block, or the floor.
  6. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling.
  7. Look up, forward, or down.
  8. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

4. Pose of the sphinx

Sphinx PoseThis gentle flexion strengthens your spine and buttocks. It stretches your chest, shoulders and abdomen. It can also help relieve stress.

Muscles worked:

  • spinal
  • gluteal muscles
  • pectoralis major
  • trapeze
  • latissimus dorsi

To do this:

  1. Lie on your stomach while extending your legs behind you.
  2. Engage the muscles of the lower back, buttocks and thighs.
  3. Bring your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor and your palms down.
  4. Slowly lift your upper torso and head.
  5. Gently lift and engage your lower abs to support your back.
  6. Make sure you lift up through your spine and through the top of your head, instead of collapsing into your lower back.
  7. As you completely relax in this pose, keep your gaze straight ahead while remaining active and engaged.
  8. For up to 5 minutes, stay in this pose.

5. Cobra pose

Cobra PoseThis slight dorsiflexion stretches your abdomen, chest, and shoulders. Practicing this pose can strengthen your spine and can soothe sciatica. It can also help relieve the stress and fatigue that can accompany back pain.

Muscles worked:

  • hamstrings
  • buttocks
  • deltoids
  • triceps
  • serratus anterior

To do this:

  1. Lay down on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and your fingers facing forward.
  2. Pull your arms firmly against your chest. Don’t let your elbows come out to the side.
  3. Press down on your hands to slowly lift your head, chest, and shoulders.
  4. You can lift halfway, halfway, or all the way up.
  5. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows.
  6. You can let your head drop to deepen the pose.
  7. Relax on your mat as you breathe out.
  8. Bring your arms to your sides and rest your head.
  9. Slowly move your hips side to side to release tension in your lower back.