Lower back pain plagues countless people every day. Sometimes, it arises from spinal damage that only surgery can fix. However, it often stems from insufficient movement and poor posture — two conditions that yoga can remedy.
Many doctors recommend this practice for people who wish to ease their aches and prevent long-term problems. Are you ready to get started? Here are eight yoga poses for lower back pain.
1. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose or Balasana stretches your erector spinae muscles, which line your backbone. The breathing pattern for this pose focuses on letting your lower back rise as you inhale and fall with each exhale.
To get into this pose, begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Walk your hands as far in front of you as possible while lowering your glutes and hips toward your heels. Let your belly rest on your thighs. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds or as long as comfortable. Some yin or restorative-style classes might have you hold the pose anywhere from three to 20 minutes.
2. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose strengthens your glutes and hamstrings while stretching your low back. Weak hamstrings can increase lower back pain by promoting poor posture.
Begin this pose lying on your back. Bend your knees, bringing your heels close enough to your glutes to touch them with your fingertips. Elevate your hips toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and interlacing your hands beneath your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You can also make this move dynamic, raising your hips with each inhale and lowering them with each exhale.
3. Forward Fold
Tight hamstrings can also tug on your lower back. Elongating these muscles can ease considerable pain.
You can do forward folds both standing and seated. Release your posterior chain by hinging from your hips, attempting to touch your toes.
The seated version of this move lends itself to a towel or a strap to deepen the posture. However, you can cause injury if you pull too hard. Find your body’s edge of resistance and hold gently, breathing healing into the area but avoiding excess strain. It helps to start with your spine extended, then fold into flexion as you relax and breathe.
4. Downward Dog
Downward dog is another excellent pose for stretching your posterior chain. The trick is doing the move correctly. The idea is to move your heels close to the earth, but they should not rest. If they do, you need to shorten your stance slightly.
You can begin this move from a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Tuck your toes and press your hips toward the ceiling, feeling an incredible stretch down your back. Bend your knees and shift your hips higher before dropping your heels to deepen this pose.
5. Matsy Twists
Matsyendrasana twists are fabulous for releasing lower back pain. You can do a variation seated right in your office chair.
The classic version begins seated on the floor in an easy Sukhasana seated position. Cross one foot over the other leg with your knee pointing to the ceiling and extend the opposite arm. You can hug your knee as you twist or take your elbow to the inside of the top knee to deepen the twist.
To perform this move at your desk, uncross your legs and sit with your feet flat against the floor. Turn to one side, placing your opposite hand against the outside of the knee. Use the back of your chair to deepen the twist. Repeat on the other side.
Camel post strengthens and stretches your lower back. It also works the muscles in the front of your thigh, helping you maintain better posture.
You have two options for getting into this pose. The first entails sitting on your heels. Grab your heels with your hands and extend your chest upward, arching your back.
If your quadriceps are a bit stronger, you can begin from kneeling. Drop back until your hands touch your heels, creating an arch in your spine. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Cat-cows are another sequence of poses you can perform seated at your desk. To do this version, place your hands mid-thigh. Arch your spine as you inhale and round it as you exhale.
The classic version of this movement begins on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Arch your back as you dip into the cow with each inhale. Exhale into the cat, rounding your spine like a scared Halloween kitty.
8. Supine Twists
Supine twists are ideal for stretching out your lower back before relaxing into sleep. Begin by lying flat on your back. Elevate one leg to 90 degrees, with a 90-degree bend in your knee. Cross it over your body, allowing your eyes to gaze in the opposite direction. Repeat on the other side.
You can perform variations of this movement. One trick involves bending both knees and crossing them as if you were sitting in an office chair before twisting. A more gentle variation entails bending both knees to 90 degrees and letting them fall to one side while you gaze in the opposite direction.
Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain
Many people struggle with lower back pain every day. If you’re one of them, you might be able to get relief from yoga, especially if your aches result from insufficient movement or poor posture.
Try the eight yoga poses above to ease your lower back pain. They’re free and can significantly improve your quality of life.