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Here are 12 yoga poses to relieve your back pain and subdue the tension in your back muscles that seems to consistently persist. These poses can be done by anyone, whether you have intensive knowledge about yoga, or you’re just starting out. Make sure to grab your mat, and let’s get started !
1. Supine Twist
A supine twist is basically a play on words for this particular pose. It’s meant to apply a twisting motion to your spine to alleviate any tightness you have throughout your entire back.
Lay down on your back and relax into your mat. Make a T-shape with your arms by extending them outwards so they’re leveled with your chest. Bring your legs together, and then bring your knees into your chest. Keeping your back straight and keeping both shoulders on the mat, slowly lower both knees to your right side. Make sure your neck stays straight or to get a deeper stretch, turn your head to the right and center your gaze on something. Stay in this position from anywhere to 1 minute to 5 minutes, and then repeat it on the other side.
2. Thread The Needle Pose
Sometimes tightness in the back can be a result from your hips being too tight, and it’ll translate into back pain. By stretching out the hips and hamstrings, you’re opening yourself up to a better range of motion. This will prevent your back pain from reoccurring. This particular pose targets the hips, outer thighs, hamstrings, lower back, and your spine.
Lay down on your back, and place your heels on the floor so your feet are parallel to your hips. Place your left ankle on your right thigh, and then take your left arm in between that triangular space created and hook it to the outside of your thigh. Where you interlace your fingers affects where you’re gonna feel the stretch the most. You can either interlace your fingers behind your knee or on top of your shin. Make sure your back is straight, and your shoulders are touching the mat and not lifting up. Stay in this stretch for 1 minute to 5 minutes, and then repeat for the other side.
3. Cat and Cow Pose
The Cat and Cow Pose is a moving pose where it requires a back and forth transition between two different forms. It’s meant to bring flexibility to the spine by the constant motion of the pose. It also targets the neck, and the abdomen.
Start on your hands and knees ensuring that your wrists are directly under your shoulder, and your feet are parallel to your hips. Take a deep breath in, and start lifting your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling. This is going to create a rounded slope to your back, contracting your stomach inwards. Make sure you’re bringing your head downwards so your neck is almost tucking into your chest. Then as your exhale, push through your shoulder blades. Arching your back and stretching your neck upwards so your gaze is centered on the ceiling. Continue this motion according to the rhythm of your breath for five minutes.
4. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is another one of those yoga poses that stretches out various parts of the body. Not only does it stretch out your back to alleviate that back pain, but also stretches out the hamstrings, expanding your range of motion so it doesn’t result in additional tension in the back. It’s a great pose for lengthening and decompressing the spine.
Start off on your hands and knees. Wrists directly under your shoulders, and feet directly under your hips. From here, tuck your toes in and lift your knees up from the floor. Start off slowly by bending your knees, keeping your heels from the floor and gently walk it out. If you can’t stretch your heels out to touch the floor, just stay in this position walking stretching one leg out at a time. Make sure you’re pushing your shoulder blades into the spine, lowering them as far down as possible and extending your arms outwards as your head lowers.
5. Sphinx Pose
The Sphinx Pose is a vital pose when it comes to strengthening your spine, and toning the spine. In particular it targets the sacral-lumbar arch which many of us forget about, but its that arch in our lower back that sometimes causes a soreness when we sit for too long. By sitting too long, we tend to flatten our lower back out. This pose however, promotes the natural curvature of our lower backs.
This pose begins by laying on your stomach, making sure your feet are feet-hip width apart. Bring your elbows directly under your shoulder. Your palms should be facing downward touching the floor, tucked to your side. If this creates an intense stretch in your lower back already, extend your arms a little outwards in front of you. Take a deep breath in and lift your chest and head away from the floor, creating a small bend backwards. Stay here for only about 3 minutes because this pose can become too intense.
6. Locust Pose
Locust Pose builds off of the Sphinx pose, however it creates a more intense stretch. It’s a deeper backbend, and not only targets the spine but also the legs and arms. It’s considered one of the more challenging yoga poses because it requires the use of several muscles through the bodies if performed correctly.
Start off by lying on your belly with your arms extend away from you, your fingers should be pointing to your toes with your palms facing upwards. Your feet should be straightly planted on the floor. Your chin should be gently resting on your mat. Now from here, exhale and lift your torso from the floor extending your head, shoulders, and chest upwards towards the ceiling. Lift your arms a little, so they’re parallel to the floor and lift your legs off the floor too. Breathe through the stretch, and stay in this position for only about a minute or two since it can become intense.
7. Fire Log Pose
Fire Log Pose is another one of those yoga poses that target back pain through stretching out the tightness in the hips. This particular pose is primarily useful when it comes to lower back pain. Do not do this pose however if you have very sensitive knees or have any pain in the knees.
This pose starts off in a seated position. Place your left ankle on top of your right knee, and then slide your right foot until it’s under your left knee. Everything should be straightly aligned on top of one another. Take a deep breath in, and push through your hands, pressing your hips deeper in the flower and gaze upwards. Make sure your shoulders are dropped and are not lifting up. In tune with your exhale, reach forward so you’re either holding onto your knees or your toes, whatever’s comfortable for you. If the stretch is not as intense as you would like it, try lowering your head to the floor. Stay in this position for 2 minutes, and then repeat it on the other side
8. Camel Pose
This pose is one of the more intense backbends, however, it looks more challenging than it seems. Don’t let the image frighten you from of trying it out. This pose allows for a deeper spinal stretch without using your arms to support yourself. It stretches out the front of the body as well and is a key pose for bettering posture.
This pose starts off by kneeling on your mat with your knees directly under your hips. Slowly, draw your hands up the sides of your body till the tips of your fingers reach your armpits. Try hooking your thumb for stability if you aren’t the greatest with balance as you start to open your chest up. Reach your hands back until you’re gripping onto your heels. If you still can’t grasp your heels, try tucking your toes under for some added height. Push your hip forwards so they’re still directly over your toes and aren’t falling backwards. Throw your head back and glance upwards, feeling the stretch in your neck as well. Stay in this pose for 2 minutes or longer if it feels good to you.
9. Triangle Pose
More on the fun side of the yoga poses, this pose engages several muscles to get the desired stretch. It strengthens not only the hamstrings and hips, but also in your back. It alleviates the pain in your lower back, as well as aiding when it comes to digestion and stress.
You begin this pose by standing upright on your yoga mat with your legs spread out apart. The further apart your legs are spread, the deeper the stretch. Make sure, however, you stretch only as far as it’s comfortable. Once the stretch passes comfortability and turns into pain, you’re injuring yourself. Turn your right toes outwards a little, and your left toes inward. Press your left hip to the left, and take a deep breath in as you slide both arms to the right side. Raise your left arm up, and leave your right hand resting against your right leg. Make sure your knees are not bent, and your arms are in a straight line stacked on top of one another. Hold this position for one to two minutes, and then repeat on the left side.
10. Seated Forward Bend
Coming down from the intensity from the last four poses, we return back to seating yoga poses. The Seated Forward Bend provides a deep stretch for the entire back of the body, starting from your tailbone to your neck. This pose in particular is also useful when it comes to relaxation, because it calms the nervous system and soothes emotions.
Start off in a seated position, and extend your legs out in front of you. Press them together so there’s your toes are touching. Make sure your back is straight, and your shoulders are aligned with your spine and not slouched. Take a deep breathe in, and extend your arms over your head lengthening your spine. In tune with your exhale, lower your torso over your legs and reach for your toes. Tuck your head in between your arms as well. For a deeper stretch, pull your toes toward you. Stay in this position for 5 minutes.
11. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon Pose acts a vital hip-opener pose, however the deep stretch this pose gives off is felt through multiple muscles in the body. It stretches out the thighs, groin area, and back especially. It’s a good pose for those who usually sit during most of their day. This poses reactivates those muscles that have been sedentary for a while.
Start this pose off by being on your hands and knees. Bring your left leg forward in between your arms as if you are going to step into a lung. However, don’t place your foot down, instead bring your right knee to the floor. Your right shin can vary on placement depending on flexibility, but it’s usually either angled towards the left hip or be parallel to the front of your mat. Extend your left leg back so it’s straight on the mat. Make sure the toes on your left leg are not tucked in, but are pointing out. Rock back and forth in this position on that right hip. If you want a deeper stretch, bring your head over your right hip. Stay in this position for two minutes, and then repeat it on the other side.
12. Child’s Pose
Last but not least, Child’s Pose. This pose draws to a close these collective yoga poses because it’s essential in not only promoting relaxation, but stretches out the hips, back, and thighs. It softly stretches out these muscles through improving flexibility, reliving stress, and stimulating circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks to your spine.
Start off on your hands and knees, making sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders, and your knees are directly under your hips.Your feet can either be together or apart, up to you. Take a deep breath in and exhale, lowering your hips towards the heels of your feet and bringing your forehead to the floor. You can either place your arms extended outward in front of you, under your forehead, or they can be along side your body, palms facing upwards. Stay in this final pose for however long you please.
Try these yoga poses out and let us know your opinion! Did they help with your back pain? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Featured image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/773422935986594444/
Undergraduate student currently pursuing a degree in English/Creative Writing with a minor in journalism! Living life one day at a time as the universe allows it!