Did you know that 84% of people suffer at some point from lower back pain?
This is a shocking number and unfortunately, Suzie and I are both within that 84%!
During my army career, I did quite a lot of long-distance running and the repetitive impact and stress on my lower back really began to take its toll on my body. I was quite sore on a regular basis.
However, nothing could have prepared me for what was eventually going to happen.
I can still vividly remember waking up one Saturday morning and by back hurt so bad that I was physically unable to put my socks on.
I tried to do it standing up, I tried to do it sitting down… I simply couldn’t get my hands anywhere near my feet. In fact, I struggled to even touch below my knees.
I was unable to run for almost a year until one day I took a yoga class on a beach in Thailand and in this class, they included a few yoga poses for back pain.
The relief was unbelievable and now two years on, I regularly practice yoga and I experience little to no back pain.
Suzie originally started when she was diagnosed with arthritis in her lower back and her results have been similar – her back is feeling ten times better.
People who practice yoga are twice as likely to reduce consumption of painkillers. Speaking from experience, there are so many amazing benefits to be had from practising yoga for back pain.
Of course, you should speak to a doctor before undertaking any kind of exercise regimen, as some conditions are more serious than others. However, if your doc gives you the go-ahead, you should definitely give the following ‘7 Yoga Poses For Back Pain’ a try.
Do them in whichever sequence you like, and gradually hold them for a longer duration. I recommend starting with 10 breaths in each pose. Grab yourself a yoga mat (this is the one I use) and let’s get started!
Let’s get into it.
#1: Downward-Facing Dog
This tends to be the first thing people think of when it comes to yoga poses for back pain, as it’s a very popular and symbolic pose. However, it actually gives a really good stretch of the whole body, especially the bottom part of the back and the spinal erectors.
Start on your hands and knees. While pressing your bodyweight back, lift your knees up and push your tailbone/bum up towards the ceiling.
If you’d like to enhance the stretch in your hamstrings, you can push your heels towards the mat.
#2: Child’s Pose
This is probably my favourite pose out of them all. It’s an active stretch which gives you an amazing sensation of elongation throughout the back.
This is simply the king of yoga poses for back pain.
In my opinion, you should do this pose every day in order to counteract the compression which builds up in all of our bodies from day-to-day activity.
Start on all fours with your arms on the mat, right out in front of you. Then bring your bum back towards your heels. You don’t want to sit on your heels though – you want to drive your bum backwards, not down.
#3: Upward-Facing Dog
If you want to really stretch out your chest and abdominal muscles while engaging your back, this is the pose for you.
It enhances the mobility and flexibility in your spine while giving a great stretch to your whole torso.
Start by laying on the floor, face-down and bring your palms to the middle of your ribs, as though you’re about to do a pushup.
Point your toes so the tops of your feet are on the floor. Now engage your lower back as you lift your chest off the floor and straighten your arms.
#4: Cat and Cow Pose
This is a fantastic pose for an aching back, and it’s also how I warm up for my back and leg workouts in the gym.
It is an active stretch which flexes and extends the spine, improving mobility and reducing aches and pains.
This is a tricky one to explain through text, so I’ve embedded a video below so you can properly see how to do it.
#5: Triangle Pose
The triangle pose is great for strengthening your back and legs, along with your obliques.
It’s also useful for stretching out your IT band, which are the muscle fibres along the outside of your hips which can give a lot of people trouble.
Start by standing with your feet together. Now, you want to bring your left foot back a few feet and point it out at a 45-degree angle.
Now turn to your left side, bring your right arm towards your right foot, and bring your left hand right up towards the ceiling, while keeping both of your legs straight.
Be careful not to over-stretch. It’s tricky to touch the ground if you’re just starting out – don’t force it.
#6: Pigeon Pose
This is quite a challenging pose if you’re new to yoga, but it’s definitely one of the best poses for opening up the hips and stretching the hip flexors.
Believe it or not, tight hips are often a factor in lower back pain, and it’s a very commonly neglected part of the human body.
This pose feels great and relieves a lot of tension build up in the hips.
Start in downward facing dog position, then bring your left knee forward and out, so your lower leg is pointing across your body (see photo).
Now bring both legs towards to ground and sit into the pose. You’ll feel a great stretch in the hips and the glute muscles.
#7: Forward Fold
Also called a forward bend, this is one of my favourite yoga poses for back pain because it’s super effective at stretching the hamstring muscles and the lower back. It’s a stretch which I always do at the end of every workout, whether it’s yoga, weights or running!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent – not locked out!
Bend your waist and lean forward slowly, reaching towards the mat.
Not many people can ‘touch their toes’ as it were, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get your hands all the way down… just go down until you feel the stretch if your lower back and hamstrings.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people take up a yoga practice. It’s for good reason, too… the results can be astonishing.
Be sure to listen to your body and don’t do anything which causes severe discomfort or pain. If your back pain is extreme, I would recommend seeking medical attention.
For more information on yoga, be sure to check out the article I wrote regarding 5 myths surrounding yoga!
If you’re looking to lose weight through your yoga practice, the Brilliant Yoga system is a great place to start. It’s a great way to tone up, boost your metabolism and get into great shape through the use of yoga!
Check it out below…
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