May 15, 2021
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Low back pain is THE WORST…. actually, any chronic pain in the body is pretty horrible if I’m being honest 😓 so let me just say, if you’re experiencing pain in the body: my heart goes out to you. Yoga is an incredible healing practice that I personally turn to for support for body, mind and spirit healing. The benefits of practicing yoga are endless, but as it pertains to lower back pain, pairing these 7 yoga poses for low back pain that I’m sharing in this post, along with conscious intentional breathing, it can be an incredible tool to help you release tension, reconnect to the innate open energy we all have within us, and gain better body awareness.
I’ve broken down each pose included in this round up of yoga poses for low back pain below which will hopefully give you clarity on how to get into each one, but make sure you are listening to your body and focusing on your breath! When I am experiencing lower back pain and seeking relief through my yoga practice I allow myself to stay in each posture for 5-10 long and full deep breaths, really focusing my energy towards sending my breath to my lower back in my minds eye. I know that sounds a little woo woo, but it works 😉
Cow Pose (belly is dropping towards the earth) is best paired with cat pose (spine rounded) I do cat and cow at the beginning of most of my personal yoga practices because it’s a wonderful and gentle warm up for the spine. Practicing these poses together offer an opportunity to feel the link between breath and body (inhaling in cow pose, exhaling in cat pose) and also stretches your neck and shoulders. When doing these poses to relieve back pain move slowly, and in cat pose engage the glutes to help release the lower back!
Begin in table top position ( on all fours, hands and knees). Spread your fingers wide, wrists stacked directly under the shoulders, knees under your hips, tops of the feet press down. Evenly distribute your weight between all four points (hands and knees). Inhale as you gaze up, arching through the spine, allowing your belly to drop down toward the mat (this is cow pose). Exhale as you round through the spine, dropping the head, pull the belly button toward the spine, and engage the glutes to release the lower back (this is cat pose). Move with your breath mindfully and take your time here! I suggest doing this for 5-10 breath cycles, but move through cat and cow pose for as long as it feels good! When I am experiencing lower back pain I sometimes like to hangout in cat pose (spine rounded) and allow my hips to wiggle from side to side and really release the head and neck!
Standing forward fold is an amazing way to decompress the low back. Begin with feet hip distance apart or a little wider for extra support. Ground through all four corners of the feet and bend the knees generously until your belly is resting on your thighs. Feel free to allow the arms to hang down to the earth, or grab opposite elbows and gently pull down for more decompression. Relax here stagnantly or sway side to side, I like to hold here for 5-10 breaths but again, stay for as long as it feels good!
Apanasana AKA knees to chest is soooo yummy on the low back, especially if you gently rock side to side, it’s kind of like a little massage for your lower back and a definite must to include in these yoga poses for low back pain😍 Not too much to say here other than keep the head relaxed on the mat and do your best to keep the tailbone on the mat! I like to hold here for 5-10 breaths but again, stay for as long as it feels good! It also feels good to rock the head side to side, massaging the back of the head!
Bridge Pose is a gentle backbend (and technically an inversion too since the head is below the heart!) that can be both energizing and restorative. Backbends keep the spine supple which is super important for overall body wellness. Begin in your back, feet parallel and planted on the earth hip distance apart, inhale as your lift the hips – engaging the glutes and pressing down into the feet to lips the hips up. Your head and neck is relaxed, chin away from the chest, breath is fluid. You can place the hands along side the body, palms down, or interlace the hands behind the low back pressing the hands and arms down to help find more lift in the hips. I like to hold here for 5-10 breaths but again, stay for as long as it feels good!
Constructive rest pose is a wonderful passive and restorative pose, and is one of my favorite resting poses. When you’re in it, it doesn’t feel like much is happening but it’s powerful: this pose is soothing, centering and calming for both the mind and central nervous system. In addition to relieving back pain it can also help relieve pain in the pelvis!
Beginning on your back with the head and neck relaxed on the earth, plant both feet on the ground about as wide as the mat and then allow the knees to knock in towards each other. I like to bring my hands on the body to strengthen the connection to my breath and just allow my body to melt into the mat. Stay here for 5-10 breaths, or for as long as it feels good in your body!
Legs up the wall is typically done….. with a wall 😉 but you can do it in the center of the room as well, like I’m doing in the photo above! Begin by laying down on your back and extend both legs up to the sky, if you’re using a wall scoot your booty up to the wall and then one by one extend both legs up against the wall – in either variation once the legs are extended relax them to allow the thigh bone to descend back into the pelvic bowl (this happens on it’s own with no effort on your part) stay here for 5-10 breaths, or for as long as it feels good in your body!
So there you have it, 7 deeply healing yoga poses for low back pain broken down very mildly 😉 A lot goes in to each and every yoga posture but the most important thing is to ALWAYS listen to your body. While there are some basic alignment points that I consider “musts” it’s also important to note that everybody’s body is different, therefore each posture will look and feel different in everyones body! For more yoga inspo definitely head to my Instagram and YouTube channel! I post weekly on my YouTube channel and daily on my Instagram! And if you’re new to yoga be sure to check out this post I did on 8 Yoga Poses For Beginners to help you kickstart your yoga practice!