Got Back Pain? These Are the 7 Best Yoga Poses For Back Pain Relief

Leah Sugerman
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Back pain is estimated to affect 60 to 70 percent of people at some point in their lifetime. If you’re in the majority of the population, you have likely experienced mild to severe, acute or chronic back pain, and you know all too well the torture that arises from this.

Maybe you’ve heard the Joseph Pilates quote, “You are only as old as your spine.”

It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking, and sedentary lifestyles can create a plethora of problems. Even still, so few of us know how to care for the health of our spines. The poses in this article are the best 10 yoga poses for back pain out there!
 

”You are only as old as your spine.” – Joseph Pilates

 
When it comes to back pain, yoga can come to your rescue. These 7 yoga poses offer preventive and pain-management solutions for back pain. They strengthen and stretch the muscles and surrounding tissues of the spine to support back health and overall well-being.
 

Here Are the 7 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain Relief:

Practicing even just some of these yoga poses on a daily basis can help to alleviate back pain and help prevent it from returning.
 
Heal your back with Yin Yoga! Practice these 6 Yin Yoga Poses for Back Pain
 

1. Constructive Rest Pose

This pose gently lengthens the spine while relaxing the lower back. It subtly creates an internal rotation of the legs to create more space in the sacrum.
 
Constructive-Rest-Pose
 
How to Practice Constructive Rest Pose

  • Begin lying on your back with your arms and legs relaxed
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat against the floor
  • Walk your feet out as wide as your mat and rest your knees against each other
  • Rest your hands wherever feels comfortable

 
 

2. Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

This elongates the lower back and stretches the hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the thigh that tend to “pull” on the lower back and create tension).
 
Reclining-Hand-to-Big-Toe-Pose
 
How to Practice Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

  • Begin lying on your back with your arms and legs extended
  • Bend your right knee and hug it in to your chest
  • Wrap a yoga strap or towel around the ball of your foot or hold your big toe with a yogi toe lock (wrapping your peace fingers and thumb around your big toe)
  • Extend your right leg toward the sky, straightening your knee as much as your body allows
  • Gently hug the right thigh bone back in toward the hip socket as you simultaneously extend out through the ball of your flexed right foot
  • Soften both shoulders down toward the floor
  • Hold, and then repeat on the opposite side

 
 

3. Reclining Figure-Four Pose

Reclining Figure-Four Pose lengthens and releases the external rotators of the hip which, when tight, tend to create a domino effect and cause pain in the lower back.
 
Reclining-Figure-Four-Pose
 
How to Practice Reclining Figure-Four Pose

  • Begin lying on your back with your arms and legs extended
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat against the floor, hip-distance apart
  • Lift and flex your right foot
  • Externally rotate your right hip and cross your right ankle over your left knee
  • Lift your left leg and draw your shin parallel to the floor
  • Either loop a strap around your left thigh or interlace your fingers behind it
  • Gently draw your legs toward your chest while simultaneously lengthening your tailbone toward the floor
  • Hold and repeat on the opposite side

 
 

4. Half Lord of the Fishes

Twisting the spine gently hydrates the discs between the vertebrae and subtly activates the oblique muscles of the core and the muscles of the lower back – a twist in each direction both strengthens and stretches these often overlooked muscles.
 
Half-Lord-of-the-Fishes
 
How to Practice Half Lord of the Fishes

  • Begin seated with your legs extended forward in front of you (you may wish to elevate your hips by sitting up onto a yoga block or bolster)
  • Bend your right knee, and cross it over your left knee to place your right foot on the floor
  • Either keep your left leg straight, or bend your left knee and draw your left heel toward your outer right hip
  • Place your right fingertips behind your right hip
  • Inhale and lengthen your spine
  • Exhale and twist your torso toward the right
  • Either hook your left elbow around your right knee, or cross your left elbow over your right knee
  • Hold and repeat on the opposite side

 

 

5. Cat Pose

Rounding the back body in Cat Pose stretches and lengthens all the musculature holding the spine tall all day long to relieve any chronically stressed muscles.
 
Cat-Pose
 
How to Practice Cat Pose

  • Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees
  • Align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees
  • Actively press the floor away from you and round through your upper back
  • Draw your shoulder blades apart from each other
  • Hug your navel to your spine
  • Gaze toward your belly button
  • Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor

 
 

6. Puppy Pose

Puppy Pose is a great way to passively stretch the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.
 
puppy-pose
 
How to Practice Puppy Pose

  • Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees
  • Align your hips over your knees and maintain this alignment throughout
  • Slowly walk your hands forward and melt your chest toward the floor
  • Draw the tips of your shoulder blades toward one another
  • Stretch your arms forward toward the top of your mat
  • Release your forehead to a block or the floor

 
 

7. Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Pose passively places the back body into spinal extension and subtly activates the muscles running up and down the spine.
 
sphinx-pose
 
How to Practice Sphinx Pose

  • Start lying flat on your belly with your feet about hip-width apart
  • Bring your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and prop up onto your forearms
  • Actively draw your shoulders away from your ears
  • As you press the mat away with your forearms, pull your heart towards the top of your mat
  • Draw the bottom tips of your shoulder blades towards one another
  • Stretch the crown of your head to the sky

 
Need more help for your back problems? Practice these 12 Yoga Poses for Back Pain!
 

Practice These Poses Often to Relieve Low Back Pain

Let’s be honest: no one yoga pose is going to save you from a lifetime of agonizing back pain. But adding yoga to your daily routine is an excellent way to help strengthen and stretch the muscles and connective tissues supporting and surrounding your spine.
 
With these stretching and strengthening exercises, you will open the door to a whole new world of spinal health! After all, “you are only as old as your spine,” so do you want to be old or young? The choice is ultimately yours. Tap into the fountain of youth – yoga.
 

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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