If you suffer from chronic back pain, then yoga could help you find relief. A systematic review published in the Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology concluded that yoga was a safe and effective back pain remedy. This ancient practice, which combines gentle stretching with deep breathing and meditation, can help address back pain from multiple angles. And while the perfect yoga sequence will combine different postures to help stretch every major muscle, you probably want to keep your focus on your achy back for now. Here are 8 easy-to-do yoga poses known to mitigate back pain.
1. Cat/cow pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
Two poses practiced together to gently warm up the spine and the abdomen for more challenging postures or is sometimes also practiced as a simple restorative pose. On all fours gently moving the back in a rhythmic way, and taking the position like that of a cat or a cow, releases the tensions around the spine and shoulders and tightens the abdomen to make a stronger core. Repeat ten times.
2. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
Because one of the main focuses of yoga is balance, it’s a good idea to balance out the previous posture with spine stretching in the opposite directions. Triangle pose will help you do just that, by allowing you to stretch your lower spine from side to side gently. Stand straight with your feet apart, turn one foot outwards (90 degrees) and other foot slightly inwards (45 degrees). Stretching out your arms, Bend the body towards the outwards (90 degrees) foot side bending gradually at the hips. Bring the hand towards the ground and place it behind the calf as far as you can. Stretch the other arm up and as you exhale, look up at the raised arm, hold the pose with gentle long breaths in and out. Release the bend and come up. Repeat with another side.
3. Upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Lie prone, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Now, bend your elbows so that your palms are placed beside your waist. Inhale and press your palms on the floor to straighten your arms while lifting your torso as well as your hips just a few inches from the floor. Do not tighten your buttocks or push your ribs forward, as this only strains the lower back. This pose is very effective for back pain relief, as well as improved flexibility, according to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
4. Childs pose (Balasana)
With Child pose, the spine remains relaxed in forward fold and forces one to focus on the breathing with the compressing of the abdomen and the chest towards the tummy.Thus this pose helps ease upper and lower back pain while also providing stress relief. To get into this pose, kneel on the floor and sit on your heels. Separate your knees wide apart, and at an exhale, lay your torso towards the floor with your arms stretched out on your mat. Gently stretch your arms forward as much as you can, and hold this position for up to 15 seconds. This is essentially considered a resting pose, and is perfect to use between more difficult postures.
5. Supine twist (Supta Matsyendrasana II)
Another relaxing pose that will help release your lower back and improve overall spinal mobility. Lay on your back, and place your knees on your chest. Gently turn your knees to your right side with one leg resting on the floor and the other laying on top of it. Turn your head to the opposite direction, and spread your arms wide apart at a 90-degree angle. Remain still as long as you like, and repeat on the other side. This relaxing pose is perfect for those with lower back pain, as well as neck stiffness and shoulder pain.
6. Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-facing dog stretches all major muscle groups while also gently extending the spine. The pose is also said to open the chest and help build upper body strength. Start the pose by placing yourself on all fours but with your hands slightly in front of you. Start lifting your knees and tailbone towards the ceiling. Push your upper body towards the floor the stretch the upper back and hold the position for up to a minute, breathing deeply.
7. Locust pose (Salabhasana)
The locust pose will provide you with a deep stretch in your back, while also firming your buttocks and stimulating the parasympathetic nerves in the lower spinal region. This is also the only posture in this sequence to involve a back bend. Start by lying flat on your stomach with your forehead pressed against the floor. Place your hands behind you and at an inhale, lift your head, torso, arms, and legs away from the floor. Stay in this position for as long as you feel comfortable, and unlock at an exhale.
8. Eagle pose (Garudasana)
You need strength and balance to tackle back problems completely. This is why we’ve included the eagle pose here, but also because this pose helps stretch the shoulders and upper back. Stand straight up, bend your knees slightly and lift your left foot, placing it behind your knee and keeping your balance on your right foot. Place your arms right in front of you, your upper arms parallel to the floor, and your forearms wrapped around each other.
Back pain is the most common type of pain, accounting for the majority of doctor’s visits. Taking pain medication can help ease back pain, but you will experience some side effects. This is why it is a good idea to take a more natural approach to treating back pain, such as with regular yoga practice. The postures listed here provide gentle stretching to the back muscles, helping improve posture and reducing the stress caused by back pain.
This article was provided by https://artoflivingretreatcenter.org/blog/yoga-positions-back-pain/ and revised by Angela Elliott