yoga for lower back pain

6 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain

People all over the world and across many different cultures have adopted a yoga practice into their daily routine. Why? This is because of the many mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that come from it. One of these benefits is relief from lower back pain. Here are 6 yoga poses for lower back pain you can incorporate into your practice.

Lower back pain is a very common condition

Lower back pain affects 540 million people worldwide. It is also the leading cause of disability. In the United States alone, lower back pain leads to 2.6 million emergency room visits every year, with prescription opioids given as treatment to 60% of those cases.

With the growing opioid epidemic occurring in the US, people are turning to other methods to relieve their lower back pain. 

Yoga as an option

Yoga presents itself as an ideal way to treat an achy lower back. You are able to perform yoga from the comfort of your own home or in a classroom with a trained yoga practitioner at an affordable cost. 

A consistent yoga practice results in improved posture, which a better sense of balance, and better alignment for your head, shoulders, and pelvis. When you have good posture and your body is in alignment, you maintain the natural curvature of the spine. This is an extremely important part of reducing or avoiding lower back pain. 

Yoga also increases core strength and flexibility, which leads to a healthy back. 

Without further ado, here are 6 yoga poses for lower back pain and how to perform them.

6 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain

1. Standing Forward Bend

While this may seem like a simple, easy-to-do pose, it actually incorporates a lot of concentration and body awareness to ensure you are stretching the correct muscles. To do this one, stand with your feet at hip-width distance apart. Focus on spreading the weight evenly on the four corners of your feet and throughout the stretch try not to lean backwards too much. Raise your arms above your head, then begin bending forward. Be careful not to bend from your waist, but from your hip creases. Keep your legs as straight as you can and let your torso hang, allowing gravity to pull and stretch your back. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, your chin tucked towards your chest, and the top of your head extended towards the floor. Hold for at least 1-3 minutes. 

2. Downward Facing Dog

Arguably the most well-known yoga pose, downward facing dog helps with lower back pain by stretching the backs of the legs. Sometimes lower back pain is caused by the muscles on the backs of the legs being too tight. To perform this yoga pose, start on the ground, on your knees and wrists. Make sure your knees are directly under your hips and wrists and elbows extended directly under your shoulders. Activate your core muscles, press your full palm into the mat, tuck your toes under, and slowly raise your hips up while extending your legs. Keep your legs straight and quadriceps activated, lifting your heels off the mat if you need. Turn your biceps out, shoulders away from your ears, and chin tucked towards your chest. Focus on keeping your body aligned and breathe. Hold for 1-3 minutes.

3. Cat/Cow

This yoga pose for lower back pain promotes mobility of the spine and relieves tension. To perform, start on your knees and wrists, with your knees under your hips and wrists in line with your shoulders. Take a deep breath in, drop your belly, lift your head, chest, and tailbone for cow pose. As you exhale, round your spine, suck your belly button in, and drop your head towards the floor, feeling the nice stretch in your upper back for cat pose. To feel the stretch even more, push your wrists into the mat as if you are pushing the floor away. As you inhale slowly, drop your belly back down for cat pose, and repeat with every inhale/exhale for 1-3 minutes. 

4. Knees to Chest with Slow Rock

This is a basic yoga stretch that gives your lower back a mini massage and eases any tension held there. Lie flat on your back, then hug your knees towards the chest. Slowly rock your knees back and forth while maintaining your hold on your knees. Keep rocking for 1-3 minutes.  

5. Reclined Pigeon Pose

This yoga pose is said to ease lower back pain and sciatica pain by stretching the hips, glutes, and inner thighs. To do this pose, first lie flat on your back. Extend your right leg into the air and then bend the knee to a 90 degree angle. Lift the left foot up and cross it over the quad. Grab the back of the right knee and gently pull towards your chest until you feel a nice stretch. Hold for 1-3 minutes, then repeat on the opposite side.

6. Child’s Pose

This is one of the best and most comfortable yoga poses for lower back pain because it relieves pressure by elongating and aligning your spine, which decompresses it. To perform this yoga pose, sit with your knees hip-width distance apart, toes together under you. Take a deep breath in and as you inhale, lower your torso over your thighs, extending your arms out in front of you, lowering down until your forehead rests gently on the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears by extending the crown of your head. Rest here as long as you would like.

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