Yoga for Back Pain

So I am sure you have heard someone, whether it’s a doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or some random person on the internet tell you how bad it is for your entire body, including your back, to sit in chairs all day.

I’ll do you one better. I was on bed rest for around a year when I was like 17-18ish. Meaning, I had to be laying down like 80% of the day. Hows that for your back!

While a lot of back pain is caused by sitting or being immobile, not all of it is. I found out when I was 20 that I had scoliosis in my lower spine. Back problems actually run in our family, and maybe it does in yours too.

Either way, when someone comes to a yoga teacher with back pain, we

  1. Ask if they have seen a doctor for this.
  2. Focus on strengthening and lengthening the abdomen for this

When we strengthen and lengthen the abdomen, it gives more support to your back, thus giving you less problems!

So, today I want to give you a short Yoga Flow for back Pain! We will go over all the poses and how they can help you and your back!

Watch this video first, then I will explain all of it to you!

1. Mountain Side Stretch

For Mountain Side Stretch, raise your arms above your head, interlace your fingers leaving your pointer fingers pointing up towards the sky. As you exhale, lean over to one side, focusing more on lengthening up rather then how far you can bend.

As you inhale, come back to center. As you exhale, stretch to the other side.

Keep this movement flowing smoothly with your breath and do it about 5 times each side.

This pose focuses on stretching your whole side body, up out of your hips, thus lengthening your spine, sides, back, and abdomen.

2. Mountain

In a traditional Mountain pose, stand with your feet heavy in the mat and lift your arms up and over your head, stretching up out of your feet. This lengthens your whole body.

3. Forward Fold

From Mountain, exhale and fold from your hips over your legs. Bend your knees slightly, shift forward in your feet a little to bend deeper, and let your head hang heavy.

This lengthens your spine and hamstrings, and the weight of your head naturally stretches your spine.

4. Halfway Lift

From Forward Fold, slide your hands up your shins, flatten your back, and pull your chest forward and open. This creates length in your spine and abdomen.

5. Forward Fold

From Halfway Lift, fold back over your legs.

6. Mountain

From Forward Fold, slowly roll yourself up to standing, letting your head be the last thing that comes up.

7. Warrior 2

Stand sideways on your mat with your feet about 4-5 feet apart. Bend your front knee, with your front toes pointing towards the front of the mat. Keep your back leg straight, but not locked, with your back toes pointing towards the outside of your mat.

Sink down into your hips and raise your hands, gazing over your front fingertips.

This strengthens your abdomen and legs, while stretching your upper back and shoulders.

8. Reverse Warrior

With your feet in the same position, inhale, let your back hand drop to your back thigh, and raise your front arm to the sky, bending back slightly.

This lengthens your side body and stretches your back.

9. Extended Side Angle

As you exhale, drop your front forearm to your front thigh and raise your back arm up and over your head, keeping your feet in the same position.

This also stretches your side body and strengthens your legs and abdomen.

Keep this movement from Reverse Warrior to Extended Side Angle about 5 times each side. Inhale to Reverse Warrior, exhale to Extended Side Angle. Switch Sides.

10. Mountain

Come back to a neutral spine in Mountain.

11. Forward Fold

Fold from your hips over your legs.

12. Halfway Lift

Slide your hands up your shins for Halfway Lift.

13. Downward Facing Dog

Plant your hands on the mat, gripping into your thumbs and pointer fingers, and step your feet back for down dog. Lift your hips high and back, creating an upside down V shape.

Bend your knees and peddle out your legs to stretch your hamstrings.

14. Cat – Cow

From down dog, come to your hands and knees. Stack your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists.

For Cat, exhale, tuck your chin, round your back.

For Cow, inhale, drop your belly, lift your chin.

Keep this movement going with your breath about 5 times each.

This lengthens your whole abdomen.

15. Balancing Table Top

Come back to a neutral spine. Grip into the mat with your hands and lift your right leg up off the ground. Focus more on how far your can lengthen it back rather then how high you can lift it.

Plant your right leg, lift your left.

This also stretches your spine and opens your hips.

16. Sphinx

Lower all the way down to the mat. Peel your chest up and rest on your forearms, using them to pull your chest forward.

This releases pressure from your lower back, lengthens your abdomen, and opens your chest.

17. Cobra

Plant your hands under your shoulders and lift your chest off the mat as far as comfortable for yourself.

This also releases pressure from your lower back and lengthens your abdomen.

18. Child’s Pose

Lift back up to a table top position. Bring your big toes to touch, spread your knees as wide as is comfortable, walk your hands out in front of you, and drop your head to the mat as you sit back towards your feet.

This is a great resting pose in yoga. I tell my students to go here if they ever need to rest or take a break.

While it is a resting pose, it also gently releases pressure from your back.

So that’s a really great flow for back pain! You can do this as quickly or as slowly as you would like to! Consistency is key though. It’s better to do 5 minutes of yoga a day then 60 minutes just once a week.

If doing yoga by yourself scares you, or you are just unsure of alignment and want more instruction, let’s schedule a private yoga lesson for you!

I will curate a class or consistent practice specifically for you and your health needs!