Yoga is a mind/body exercise that relieves stress, improves flexibility and increases strength, but it can also help prevent sports injuries.
Specific Yoga poses can offer unique benefits for certain areas of your body to help prevent injuries related to weakness of these body parts. The following yoga poses for back pain may help ease your achy back, and strengthen specific areas to reduce your risk of sports injury. Enjoy these yoga poses for back flexibility in your next practice.
yoga for back pain
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This pose may help reduce back pain, as it opens the heart chakra, stretches the spine and is especially helpful for pain at the base of the pelvis.
• Lay with your face down, and your forehead resting on a yoga mat. Extend your legs back, and rest the tops of your feet on the floor. Spread your fingers out on the floor, under your shoulders.
• Press the tops of your feet and thighs firmly into your yoga mat.
• As you slowly inhale, gently straighten your arms to lift your chest. As you bring it off the floor only go as high as you can maintain comfortably, and keep your legs strong. Then continue to lift your body upwards from the hips, but do not harden.
• Firm your shoulder blades against your back, and lift through the top of your sternum.
• Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds, and breathe easy, noticing the quality of your breath. Then release the position, and return to resting pose as you slowly exhale.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose is a stationary pose and requires no balance on your part. It is often used as a resting pose, and is great for aching muscles. Use this pose to warm-up or cool down, and relax back muscles.
• Get down on the floor in a kneeling position and bring your big toes together. Sit back on your heels and separate your knees about hip-width apart.
• Slowly exhale and lay your torso down, resting your soft belly on your thighs. Then, as you breathe, nestle your belly down into your thighs. Imagine lengthening your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis, as you lift the base of your head away from your neck.
• Lay your hands on the floor at your sides with palms facing up and then relax your shoulders, allowing them to lean in towards the floor. Feel the weight of your shoulders and let that weight pull your shoulder blades wide.
• Stay in this pose as long as you like.
• To come out of this pose, lengthen the front of your torso and then as you slowly inhale, lift from your tailbone.
Cat’s Pose (Marjaryasana)
This pose is often used with cow pose (Bitilasana) to loosen back muscles, and relieve stress.
• Begin with your hands and knees on the floor, so your body makes a tabletop position. Keep your knees directly below your hips, and wrists, elbows, and shoulders in line, perpendicular to the floor. Center your head and keep your gaze towards the floor.
• Slowly exhale and round your spine upwards, but keep your shoulders and knees in the same position, and in line. Release your head.
• As you inhale, come back up to a neutral tabletop position.
• Pair with Cow Pose on the inhale, for a flowing Vinyasa.
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
• Slowly inhale and lift your sitting bones upwards, as you also lift your chest. Allow your belly to sink towards the floor, and lift your gaze straight forward.
• Slowly exhale, and come back to the neutral tabletop position. Repeat 12-20 times. Then try a resting pose.
Combine these yoga poses for back pain with other poses, and you’ll be able to gain all of the benefits Yoga offers including reduced stress, increased flexibility, improved balance and stronger muscles. Not to mention a mind/body connection that helps keep you centered no matter what the environment! The stretches are especially usefully for athletes interested in injury prevention.