Yoga has been a long-running trend that shows no sign of slowing down in popularity. Being that you don’t really need any equipment and it comes with numerous benefits, the idea of getting your bend on sounds quite enticing!

Standing high on the list of benefits is the relief of back pain

Be aware that the back is a very sensitive area of the body. You don’t want to go messing around if you have a really serious issue. It’s highly advisable to seek professional help if you are at a point of complete debilitation.

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But… If you just have nagging lower back pain, chances are it is minor and can be treated through the medium of exercise. That’s where the gentle, yet effectiveness, of yoga comes into play. I stress the word “gentle” here. You don’t want to push the edge too far or you WILL fall off and possibly end up in traction. That’s no fun!

Follow along as I describe a few poses that can really help in your treatment strategy. Don’t forget to breathe diaphragmatically and think peaceful thoughts. Ohm…

Cobra

The cobra is a subtle pose that puts you into back extension. Do you know why back pain tends to develop in some people over the years?

Three reasons…

– One is because of excess belly fat.

– Two is because of tight hamstrings.

– Three is because humans spend too much time in flexion!

Any time your shoulders are rounded and the angle between your thighs and upper body is less than 90 degrees, you are in flexion.

yoga poses for back pain relief_2This may feel good and comfortable, but it is bad for your back. The spinal column loves range of motion, especially extension, which the cobra provides you.

To perform it, lie on your stomach with your hands flat on the floor right under your shoulders. Keep your hips and thighs pressed to the floor as you push your chest up by extending your arms. Arch your back as much as possible and fix your gaze up at an angle.

Internally rotate your shoulders as you do this and hold for a good 45 seconds.

You may not be able to keep your hips against the floor. I personally can’t. But I’m a tall, long-limbed ostrich and I have to be more consistent with my back bends. Just as I aspire to eventually keep my hips down I invite you to do the same.

Extended Triangle

Perhaps my favorite yoga pose in the world, the extended triangle feels great on the lower back because of the lateral nature of the movement.

Remember, your spine likes movement in multiple directions. It does not like to be docile or constantly in a flexed or rounded position. Be good to it and it will allow you to live longer.

yoga poses for back pain relief_3To perform the extended triangle, stand with your feet about 3 to 4 feet apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees and your right foot in slightly. Line up your heels and shift your weight toward your right hip. Keep both legs straight and bend laterally to your left as you slide the back of your left hand down the inside of your left thigh.

Extend your right arm straight in the air and form a straight line from fingertips to fingertips. Once you have gone down as far as you can, hold for at least 45 seconds and switch sides.

When doing the extended triangle, make sure to always keep your shoulders and hips in line. You do not want to lean too far forward.

Downward Facing Dog

The downward facing dog pose does a good job of elongated the vertebrae in the back because you are slightly inverted. Your upper body is at least. You also get a great stretch on your hamstrings. And remember what I told you earlier.

yoga poses for back pain relief_4Tight hamstrings can exacerbate lower back pain.

To do the pose, begin in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and feet either together or hip-width apart. Keep your arms and legs straight as you lift your hips up in the air. Push your weight back and aim to get your heels on the floor. If you can’t that’s fine.

Just go as far as you can—there’s no ego in yoga! Hold for 45 seconds or more and release.

Child’s Pose

This is probably the most rewarding of all yoga poses. At least, I always get the most groans of satisfaction at the end of my classes when I send my students through this during our cooldown.

yoga poses for back pain relief_5Begin in an all-fours position with the insides of your feet touching, knees slightly wider than your hips and hands directly under your shoulders. Push your weight backwards and park your butt in between your heels while lowering your head down between your arms.

If you have the flexibility, rest your forehead on the floor. If not, just go as far as you can. Hold for at least 45 seconds and release.

OK, go give these a try and let me know how you make out. Since there is no maximal load or force involved, feel free to break these out every day.

Optimally, I’d say do them all at the same time, three or four times in a row. If you have time to do them two or three times a day, that’s even better. And on that note, Namaste.

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