Numerous studies have shown the benefits of yoga for relieving back pain and improving function. It can even reduce the need for pain medication. Certain postures can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back.
We have found some effective beginner yoga poses for lower back pain for you to try. They are all easy and fun to do.
Downward Facing Dog
This is a classic yoga pose that is a total body stretch while targeting back extensors. These are the large muscles that support your spine and help you to stand and to lift objects.
Begin on your hands and knees. Put your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and push back. Lift your knees from the floor and raise your tailbone toward the ceiling. Hold the position for 5–10 breaths. Repeat the pose 5–7 times.
While this pose looks passive you are in fact actively stretching and elongating your back.
Begin on your hands and knees. Now stretch your arms out in front of you. Then sit back so your butt muscles are resting above but not on your heels. Your forehead should be touching the mat.
Maintain the pose for 5–10 breaths. Repeat it as often as you need for a good, soothing stretch.
Cat & Cow Pose
Perfect for an aching back, the cat and cow pose loosen all of the back muscles.
Begin on all fours and slowly arch your back by pressing your spine up. This is the cat pose. Hold for a couple of seconds. Now scoop the spine in and press your shoulder blades back, lifting your head. This is the cow pose.
Move between the two to help relax the muscles of your lower back and ease tension.
Triangle pose is a great back and leg strengthening exercise.
Begin with your feet 3–4 feet apart. Start with your left foot and point in a 45-degree angle. Turn your torso to the left side.
Open up the pose and stretch your left arm toward the ground and extend your right arm toward the ceiling. Keep your legs straight.
You may not be able to touch the ground at first so only bend as far as you can.
Upward Forward Bend
This pose is sometimes called the forward fold. It stretches the back muscles and releases tension.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your knees should be loose, not locked. As you exhale, bend forward reaching toward the ground.
Don’t worry if you can’t reach that far yet and stop when your hamstrings feel a comfortable stretch.
Repeat for 5–7 times and in the last pose hold for 5–10 breaths.
Upward Facing Dog
The upward facing dog pose engages the muscles of your back helping to relieve tension in your lower back.
Lie face down on the floor with your hands around the mid-rib area. Draw your legs together and press the tops of your feet into the floor. Now lift your chest off the floor by engaging your back muscles not by pushing with your hands.
Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat as needed.
The garland pose stretches almost everything around your lower back, your groin, hips, quads and torso. It also strengthens your ankles.
Squat with your feet as close together as you can manage. Try to maintain contact between your heels and the floor. Spread your thighs wide and lean forward to fit your torso between your thighs.
Press against your inner knees with your elbows and place your palms together. Resist your knees into your elbows and hold for 30–60 seconds.
The sphinx pose strengthens your back while stretching your shoulders, abdomen and chest.
Lie on your front with your shoulders over your elbows and your palms facing down, flat on the floor. Bring your shoulders away from your neck by sliding your shoulder blades down your back. You should feel a subtle lift in your breastbone.
You should guide your breath toward your abdomen and lower back.
Knees To Chest Pose
This pose is also known as the wind-relieving pose and is good for your lower back.
Lie on the floor with your legs extended out. Pull your knees toward your chest and hold them around the shin or kneecap. The back of your head should remain on the floor at all times.
Hold the pose for as long as it feels comfortable.
Reclining Spinal Twist
A reclining spinal twist has many benefits including stretching the back muscles and glutes.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your arms should rest by your sides. To begin, do the knees to chest pose as above.
Then keep your right knee at your chest, extend your left leg. Extend your arms into a T, palms facing downward. Hook your right foot behind your left inner thigh.
Now gently move your right knee across your body and down towards the mat.
Many people with lower back pain can benefit from these and other yoga poses. If you are in severe pain then they may not be suitable, but you should always consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise regime.
We hope that you have enjoyed this guide to these effective beginner yoga poses for lower back pain and that it has been helpful for you.