by Emily Regan: Many people suffer from back pain, whether it’s a result of an accident, poor posture, or…
they simply spend too much time hunched over their computer watching cat videos. Luckily, yoga can be very beneficial and can help practitioners alleviate back pain—but make sure you check with your doctor before starting any new kind of exercise routine! Here are ten great yoga poses for back pain.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
How to Do It: Kneel on the floor and sit on your heels. Allow yourself to bend forward and relax into the stretch. You can either rest your chest on your thighs or you can spread your knees out to the sides, keeping your feet together, and lower your torso towards the ground. Your arms can either be stretched out in front of you or reaching back towards your feet.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
How to Do It: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Tuck your toes under and push your hips up towards the ceiling, making your body into an inverted V. Melt your heart towards the floor and make sure to pull your shoulders away from your ears. Do not worry if you can’t fully straighten your legs or put your heels down on the floor, it’s more important to get your back into the proper position.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
How to Do It: Begin by lying facedown on the floor with your hands flat on the floor on either side of your ribs. Using the strength of your back, push up on your hands and straighten your arms, opening your chest with your legs extended behind you.
How to Do It: Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees below your hips. When you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, like a cat arching its back. You can allow your head to drop down but be sure not to tuck your chin to your chest.
Bonus: Ladies, if you are pregnant, doing cat and cow poses along with your breath can help encourage your baby to move off your bladder. Try it before bed to (hopefully) get a little extra sleep!
Half Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
How to Do It: Start on your hands and knees in a neutral position. Bring one of your legs forward and put your shin parallel to the front edge of your mat and flex your foot. If that isn’t possible, bring your knee forward but let your leg stay at an angle—but point your toes instead of flexing your foot. Stretch your back leg out behind you, extending your toes towards the back of your mat. You can use your fingers on the mat in front of you for support and sit up straight, opening your chest.
How to Do It: Stand in front of a wall with your feet hip-distance apart. Place your palms against the wall at about the same height as your waist. Slowly back away from the wall, bending at the waist until your back is flat and your body is at a 90-degree angle.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) with Clasped Elbows
How to Do It: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and bend forward reaching towards the floor. Clasp your hands on your elbows and let yourself hang forward. Your upper body will act as a weight to help gently stretch your back.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
How to Do It: Begin by sitting on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Keeping your right leg straight, bend your left knee and pull your foot in towards you. Wrap your right arm around your bent knee and put your left hand on the floor behind you, creating a spinal twist. Turn your gaze out over your left shoulder but be careful not to twist too hard and further injure your back. Repeat on the opposite side.
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
How to Do It: Begin by lying on your back with your arms spread out to the sides. Bring your right knee into your chest while keeping your left leg straight. Drop your right knee over your left leg, towards the floor. This creates a spinal twist while keeping your shoulder blades rooted to the floor and your neck neutral. Repeat on the opposite side.
Here’s to happy backs and happy yogis! Namaste!