The benefits of yoga are as plentiful as there are poses. Which is to say, a lot!
Outside of simply being a great way of getting a daily workout into your routine, or being a great mindfulness and meditation strategy. It’s also an amazing method of alleviating pain around the body.
The right yoga poses and sequences that target areas of light pain and soreness with gentle stretches and exercise can help alleviate those issues.
After all, if an area is feeling sore because it is rarely used, or a minor medical condition, a gentle working of the problem area can alleviate or even get rid of the pain in question. Particularly for problem areas like the lower back
And with up to 80% of adults in some cases suffering from back pain of some kind, yoga that targets and helps the lower back is more in demand now than it has ever been!
If you’re trying to help out this spot on your back a little more, there are plenty of yoga poses that you can try out to help maintain this delicate part of your body. And you can start with these yoga poses!
So, if we’re discussing yoga poses, we should probably start with one of the most famous poses, right?
The downward dog is a position in yoga that pretty much everyone who has at least heard of or seen yoga practiced will be familiar with. If you’re thinking of yoga poses, then the downward dog is often one of the first that comes to mind.
It’s also a very good pose to try out if you’re looking to alleviate stress and pain in your hamstring, calves, and your lower back, targeting these areas with the gentle strain that yoga pushes your body.
Plus, it’s an incredibly popular pose to include in many sequences, so it will pay to get familiar with downward dog sooner rather than later!
You start from a kneeled or on all fours position, then rise on the balls of your feet and hands against the ground, until your lower back and glutes are raised into the air, looking like an upside-down V while doing it.
If this pose feels a little tight around your lower back on your first few attempts, you can bend your knees a little to alleviate this issue. As you get more confident and comfortable, you can then move into the true downward dog position.
Moving on to another iconic pose in yoga, the child’s pose is another essential to learn when it comes to positions and sequences.
Not only is it another pose that many other moves into a through, but it’s also a great resting position between intensive actions, as well as a great way to stretch and loosen your entire back, glutes, and hips.
The pose is also incredibly simple to understand. From a kneeled position, all you need to do is stretch your hands and arms out in front of you, then spread your knees outward until your toes are touching.
As this is all happening, make sure to sit your hips over your legs and spread your hands out in front of you until your forehead is touching the ground.
From this point, you simply let your body relax and sink into the ground, continuously breathing in and out. Hold this position for around 30 seconds, before slowly bringing your arms back and your head up, back into a kneeled position.
As you get more comfortable with this pose, consider staying in the position for longer periods.
Cat & Cow Pose
We’re still sticking with the favorite poses for a little while longer!
The cat and cow pose is perhaps not as universally known as the two other poses that we’ve covered, but it is still an incredibly effective and popular way to help loosen up muscles and joints around the torso, including around the lower back.
The pose starts on your hands and knees, keeping them around shoulder width apart, and planted firmly on the ground.
From here, as you inhale, you’ll drop your belly closer to the floor or yoga mat, gently arch your back downwards into a deeper shape, and tilt your head upwards.
As you exhale, you’ll arch your back upwards as you breathe out, turning your shoulders along with it, and turning your head to face the ground.
And that’s it. It’s an incredibly simple pose to try out, but one that exercises those key areas very well. You don’t have to hold each breath and position for long either, just until it feels comfortable to inhale or exhale.
If you want to feel the full effects, make sure that you’re doing multiple reps of this exercise in a routine (around 5 to start with), then slowly building that number up.
Walk Your Dog
Going back to our first entry for a second, this pose is a great expansion on the benefits that the downward dog gave us. This one is not just great for stretching the lower back, but also relieving tension in the lower body.
You’ll start this pose in the downward dog position, while lifting and bending each leg one at a time in a walking position, as if, you guessed it, you’re a dog out on a walk.
You’ll also be pushing your hands up to lengthen your back out for extra stretching, as well as working the hamstrings a little more as you carry out the walking motion.
It’s an easy way of adding a little extra movement and exercise to a pose that you’re already familiar with. Have fun with this pose, seeing how much longer you can hold it than the last time you tried it!
Supine Figure 4 Stretch
While the name may not roll off the tongue as easily as some of the other poses that we’ve covered here, what the supine figure 4 stretch lack in easy pronunciation, it more than makes up for as an effective stretching pose for both your hamstrings, glutes, and the lower back.
Starting with your back planted firmly on the ground, your knees bent upwards and feet on the ground, you’ll bend your right knee upwards, then place your right ankle over your left knee for support.
From here, you’ll then lock your hands underneath the left knee, lift it upwards and hold the position for around 30 seconds. From the above perspective, you’ll be in a reverse 4 shape, with your left leg held up by your arms, and your right leg stretched by the raised left knee.
After the time has ended, you’ll unfold your legs, and repeat the steps with the opposite side. So, despite its rather complicated-looking shape at first, it is a surprisingly easy shape to make on your own!
If you’re struggling to achieve full shape at first, you can try this pose without lifting the lower leg. Once you get unforgettable with this, you can then start lifting it for an extra challenge.
The locus pose is a very simple pose to try out for pretty much everyone. All you’ll effectively be doing is lifting your arms, legs, and back behind you as you lay on your stomach.
However, that deceptive simpleness does not stop it from being an incredibly effective stretching exercise, especially if you are looking to strengthen the muscles across your entire back.
As you lay on your stomach, you will arch your back upwards on the inhale, also raising your feet and arms in the process to encourage that motion. Remember to keep your arms and legs straight throughout the process.
When fully inhaled, the only part of your body that will be touching the ground is your torso, with much of it being supported by your diaphragm and stomach.
Make sure to lower your body gently as you exhale. This is just as much an exercise in control as it is a back workout routine!
Pyramid Yoga Pose
The pyramid pose is another great workout for both your hamstrings and lower back to try out, especially as you get the hang of the more simple poses we’ve been covering.
Simply stretch forward to form a light lunge, try to touch the ground, and hold for a few breathing cycles, before rising back up.
The hamstrings and glutes are also getting a real workout in this list alongside the lower back, aren’t they? Then again, with how interconnected these groups of muscles are, should we be that surprised?
You may find that the soreness doesn’t immediately go away after you first start practicing it.
But if you keep at it, whether you’re constantly pushing yourself, or just keeping the exercise nice and gentle for a little workout, you’ll soon start to find that not only you can stretch further and do more, but that nagging pain may start to subside a little.
Pain and discomfort in the lower back are problems that no one wants to have to put up with, so these exercises are worth a try. If you have any concerns, make sure to contact a health professional before starting your new yoga routine!