Yoga goes hand in hand with resolving back pain. Known for its mind-body approach and relaxation techniques, yoga use a series of poses to work your lower back and boost flexibility and strength. In fact, yoga has been studied and shown to be effective in helping reduce back pain.
- Child’s Pose
The first yoga pose on our list is child’s pose. Child’s pose is one of the most common yoga poses and it’s excellent for stretching out your spine in a relaxing alignment.
To start this pose, put yourself in the tabletop position. Move to a kneeling position on the floor and put the big toes together. Sit back on your heels and separate your knees about hip width apart. Exhale and put your torso down between your thighs and walk the hands in front of you. Feel the expansion of your body as you sink deeply into the pose. To move out of this pose, place your hands under your shoulders and press your torso up.
Plank is a simple yet effective yoga pose that engages your lower back and ab muscles for a strong stretch.
To perform this beginning pose, start from a kneeling position. Slide your torso forward, gliding on your forearms. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders. Slide your legs out just a bit and press down on your toes, lifting the legs and buttocks so you resemble a plank or piece of wood. Your elbow should be aligned under your shoulders and your toes loosely apart. Your body should look completely straight. Don’t hold your breath! Pull in your abdomen. Think quality over quantity. Hold for 20 seconds to 1 minute. As you get stronger, you can perform a full plank, which is done with the arms extended.
- Cat/Cow Pose
The cat/cow pose is a 2-in-1 stretch that is excellent for stretching your back for better flexibility. It’s also great for feeling the range of motion of your spine.
To Perform this pose, start in the tabletop position. Your body should be aligned, with everything positioned naturally under your shoulders and hips. First, stretch up into “cat” by rounding your back up and looking down. Then, switch to “cow” by arching your back down and looking up. Continue to switch between these poses for a few minutes.
Bridge is a great stretch for relaxing your lower back and strengthening the lumbar area.
To do it, lie on your back with your knees bent up. Keep your arms at your sides, with your palms down. Then, lift your torso off the floor, while keeping your shoulders and head down. Pushing down on your hands and feet will help you create this sensation. Hold for about a minute.
- Downward Facing Dog
Another common yoga pose, downward facing dog involves stretching your whole body. It’s great for opening your hips and getting a stretch in your leg muscles.
To do it, start in the tabletop position, then lift your behind back and out, so that it’s sticking up. You should be making a “v” with your body, including your hands stretched out before you and your head tucked down. Keep your back straight as you can, but if you need to, bend your knees and work to straighten them during the stretch. Hold it for a few minutes.
- Supine Twist
This stretch really opens up your lower back and hips. It feels great, while giving you restorative movement.
To do it, lie down on your back with your knees tucked up near your chest. Your arms can remain stretched out to the sides. As you lower your knees to the right side, look toward your left. Hold this deep stretch for a few minutes, then switch sides.
- Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is another great stretch for your back and abs. The sphinx pose uses weight and gravity to extend your lower back. Don’t overdo it by hyperextending. The stretch should be engaging, but not painful or intense.
To do it, lie down on your stomach with your legs naturally straight behind you. Then set your elbows under your shoulders, so that your upper body is propped up. Your palms should be down and out, positioned like a sphinx. Keep your spine nice and long, and hold for a few minutes.
- Extended Triangle
The extended triangle is a standing pose that engages your legs, hips, spine, chest and shoulders.
To do this pose, start in a standing position, hands on your hips. Step the feet wide apart, the right foot should be pointing out and the left foot (back foot) slightly in, heels aligned. Bend to the right, bringing your hip bone towards the thigh. Move your right hand behind your leg, using a block for support if you cannot touch the floor. Breathe and feel the stretch. Now reach your left arm towards the ceiling, eye straight ahead. Don’t let your torso move forward. Don’t try to look up at the ceiling until you are more advanced. To move out of this pose, you can push up from the block or walk your hand up your thigh if necessary.
- Rocking Knees to Chest
This pose is extremely comfortable and relaxing. It uses the natural fetal position for a natural lower back stretch.
To do it, lie on your back and position your knees against your chest. Hold them firmly with your arms as you rock back and forth gently. Don’t overdo this rocking. You should be able to maintain your balance as you rock for a few minutes.
- Locust Pose
Locust pose is great for building your lower back strength.
To do it, start by lying down on your stomach, with your arms back and your legs straight. Your forehead should start lightly against the floor. Then slowly lift your head, arms and legs back, as far as you feel comfortable with. Hold for about a minute.
These 10 yoga poses are great for making your back stronger and more flexible. You can incorporate these 10 poses – and more – into your morning routine to get lasting results.
Remember that if you continue to struggle with back pain, you can see a professional chiropractor near you. A chiropractor can make necessary adjustments and recommend massage therapy and lifestyle changes for optimal improvement.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. He created the Alaska Back Pain Protocol, which has helped thousands say goodbye to back pain.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.