A likely experience at some point in your life, back pain is not only uncomfortable but also very debilitating, especially if you’re having trouble moving and, therefore, are limited in what you can do. While for severe cases it is always advisable that you visit a specialist, if your back pain is minor, there are yoga poses you can try at home to help soothe and, eventually, remove the pain by strengthening the muscles in your back through stretching, improving your blood circulation.
A fixture in most yoga classes, the spinal twist is a simple movement that’s also very effective. All you need to do is sit on the floor, keeping your left leg straight while bending your right leg, so your right foot sits flat on the floor. Once you have your sitting position, place your right-hand flat on the floor behind you to hold yourself upright. You then need to twist your torso to the right until your left elbow locks itself on the right-hand side of your right knee or the top of your thigh.
If all your back needs is a good stretch, especially if your spine is feeling tight, the Cat-Cow position is ideal. To begin with, get on your hands and knees with both hands laying flat on the ground; once you are in the correct position, with your back arched and your head facing towards the ground, alternate between arching and straightening your back, similar to how a cat stretches.
Another favourite in yoga classes everywhere, the Down Dog not only stretches your back but benefits your entire body, helping to stretch your legs, arms, and torso, too. To begin, put your feet and hands flat on the ground and push your bottom upwards, so you make a triangle. Your head and neck should feel relaxed, and your thighs and shoulders stretched. This pose can be difficult to hold for an extended period so breathe deeply for ten seconds before releasing.
A starting pose for yoga novices, the Child’s Pose is incredibly relaxing and helps to stretch not only your back but also your hips. To begin, get on your knees before sitting so your bottom touches the back of your heels. You then need to fold your torso down, stretching your arms out as far as they go, until you reach the floor. Hold the pose for as long as you can, breathing deeply; if you don’t feel you are stretching your back as much as it should be, try and extend your arms further forward until your back is almost straight, in which case you should feel stretched.
Not only a fantastic way to stretch your back but also a brilliant addition to any fitness regime, the Locust pose involves you lying on your stomach, arms by your side, before lifting your head, arms, and legs up so the top of your body is curved upwards with your arms pushed back. This pose is physically demanding but try and hold it for up to a minute, repeating a couple of times if you can.
As if you were preparing for a shoulder stand, lie on your back with your head and shoulders flat on the ground and your arms spread flat, too. You must then stretch your legs over your head until they touch the ground behind you. If your body’s folded in half with your bottom pointing up in the air, you are in the correct position. Hold the pose for as long as possible, breathing deeply, to relieve tension in your back. If you are not feeling the benefits, try stretching your legs further.
Almost the opposite of the Plow pose, the Seated Forward Fold is a classic fitness technique; however, it can be tricky to do properly. To begin, sit on the ground with your legs straight and then, leaning forward as far as you can go, stretch your arms out, so your hands come together, or almost together, in front of your feet. If you’re finding it impossible, bend your knees. If you’re not feeling the benefit, reach further forward so your back is tight and your bottom pushed back.
It may take some practicing; however, the Bow pose is incredibly effective. To begin, lie front-down on the floor before reaching backwards, grabbing your ankles while lifting your torso and head, so you’re looking ahead. When you are in the correct position, your arms and calves should form a triangle. If you have a painful back injury, take this pose slowly and be very careful.
Balance is the key to a successful Eagle pose. To begin, standing, wrap your right leg around your left leg, so your right foot touches the back of your left knee and take a moment to get your balance. Next, position your right arm, so it is straight in front of your face with your palm pointing to the sky before wrapping your right arm around your left arm, knees bent, so both palms are flat against one another. The further you stretch your elbows, the more relief you’ll feel in your back.
The key to long-term back health is to regularly stretch and work towards increasing back strength, which is achievable with the Triangle Pose. Stand with your legs apart, so you form a triangle shape between your legs and point your right foot outwards and, with both arms stretched outwards, tilt your torso to the right until your upper body forms a right-angle. When correct, your right hand will be touching your right foot and your left arm straight in the air. Hold this pose for up to ten seconds before switching sides and repeating the process, alternating a couple of times.
If you’re suffering from acute back pain that doesn’t go away with regular stretching, we highly recommend you visit a back specialist. Also, to reduce the chance of damaging your back further, always listen to your body as it will tell you when you are doing something you shouldn’t be.
Whether you’re suffering from back pain or want to boost your back strength and posture, try our recommended yoga positions for back pain, practicing several times a week, for fantastic results.