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SEVEN Yoga Postures to Relieve Back Pain

yoga pose to relieve back pain

Are you Suffering from Back Pain ?

Yoga postures  practiced mindfully and regularly may just be the answer to loosening and relieving the discomfort of an aching back. Back pain related to poor posture, injury, repetitive strain and tight muscles due to locked in physical and or emotional stress account for more off sick days than any other reason. Begin to loosen up and release stiffness and tension by practicing these postures gently and regularly. Go slowly, yoga should be safe and pleasurable. If you experience pain back off, perhaps your pushing yourself. Breath in and Breath out let go and soften with your practice.

The health of our back and spine is vitally important

The health of our back, spine and supportive muscles is vitally important to our quality of life. The spinal cord bringing messages from the brain travels through our spine with branches to every part of our body. In Yoga we also understand that important nadis or energy channels traverse the spine. If our back is chronically tight and tense blood circulation to muscles may be impaired, the energy channels become blocked and our health begins to suffer. Our spine allows for our upright posture and flexibility forward, backward, twisting and lateral body movement. It really is the backbone of our upright existence and one worth investing time into maintaining in tip top condition.

Stretch, Strengthen and Relax your Back & Spine

These Seven Simple Postures release tension and develop flexibility by offering an upright, lateral, twisting, backward and gentle forward bend to your spine and back muscles. Gently coerce your body with deep breathing and adjust to your individual flexibility.

1. Tadasana – Palm Tree Pose

  • Stand on your mat and correct your posture.
  • Feet apart under your hips, with the body weight balanced between the right and left foot and the toes and heels.
    Tadasana
    Tadasana
  • Feel that the heart is lifted and the shoulders are relaxed.
  • Feel the crown living skyward so the spinal column is long.
  • Fix the eyes directly ahead on a point of focus.
  • Breath slowly and deeply feeling grounded and balanced.
  • Interlace the fingers in front of the body.
  • INHALE while raising the hands above the head with the palms turned upwards to the sky and push up onto the toes.
  • Stretch upwards feeling the whole body lengthening while holding the balance.
  • EXHALE release fingers and create a big circle with the arms releasing out to the sides and down and relax the shoulders.
  • Practice 7-10 times
Benefits:
  • Develops balance and releases spine.
  • Before other stretches it is good to lengthen through the spine.
  • Gravity and poor posture can bring congestion to the spinal vertebra, discs and emerging nerves.
  • Tadasana releases this stress while developing physical and mental balance and improving posture.
  • It stretches the abdomen and keeps digestive organs toned.

2. Tiryaka Tadasana – Swaying Palm Tree Pose

Tiryaka Tadasana - swaying tree
Tiryaka Tadasana – swaying tree
  • Stand with your feet mat width apart
  • fix gaze ahead
  • INHALE raise arms to sides and above the head and interlace fingers, palms up.
  • EXHALE bend to the right side pause a moment
  • INHALE return to the centre
  • Repeat to the left side
  • Practice 5 – 10 times alternately to each side.
Benefits:
  • Stretches spine laterally stretching and toning the lateral spinal muscles
  • Tones the digestive organs and the waistline.
  • Tones kidneys alternately stretching and compressing either side.
  • Helps overcome constipation.
  • Opens chest and lungs.

3. Marjariasana – Cat Stretch

The cat is an animal known for its incredible flexibility, agility and relaxed movements. This stretch warms up the back muscles and offers our back a deep muscular release while developing flexibility. Practiced regularly it prevents back tension.  
  • Sit in Vajrasana (kneeling posture) then come forward onto the hands and knees.
  • The arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the floor so the spine is stretched out.
  • Finger forward hands under shoulders and knees under the hips.
  • Become aware of the Spinal Column.
  • INHALE turn the tail bone up and relax the mid-spine towards the floor and raising the face to look forwards.
  • Simultaneously move Awareness through spine from tailbone up to eyebrow centre.
  • EXHALE turn face to look between the arms at thighs and arch the back up like a startled cat and tuck tailbone under then draw the abdomen up into the spine.
  • Simultaneously move your awareness from the eyebrow centre to the tailbone.
  • Practice up to 10 movements.
note: lengthen the breath with slow full movements and keep arms still and straight. Benefits:
  • This asana improves the flexibility of the neck, back muscles and spine while releasing tension and tightness.
  • It has the added benefit of toning the reproductive organs and balancing the menstrual irregularities and infertility.
  • note: It is safe during pregnancy up to 6 months without the abdominal contraction after 3 months.

4. Bhujangasana – Cobra pose or Sphinx pose -simple form

Bhujanga means snake or serpent in sanskrit. A snake has a flexible spine and powerful digestive system and this posture both improves digestion and develops flexibility of the spinal column.
  • Lie on your yoga mat in the prone position (on abdomen).
  • Lay the tops of your feet down and stretch them out.
  • Place the hands under the shoulders fingers forward
  • Or if choosing the Sphinx, (less demanding) place fingertips level with top of the head.
  • Elbows close to the rib cage.
  • INHALE raise the forehead first, nose, head and chest up and you begin to straighten the arms to your ability.
  • The pubic bone, thighs and tops of the feet should remain grounded.
  • The neck leading the way with shoulders and shoulder blades relaxed down towards the buttocks.
  • note: It is not necessary to straighten the arms – arch only to your bodies ability.
  • Hold cobra with breath held in.
  • EXHALE slowly uncoil laying the body down from the abdomen to the forehead.
  • Practice 5 rounds on the last round hold with natural breath.
Benefits:
  • Keeps spine supple and improves flexibility of back muscles.
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Improves circulation to spine and back muscles
  • Opens lungs and improves lung capacity – helpful to asthmatics
  • Tones the adrenal glands and kidneys
  • Calming and relaxing
  • Opens heart and assists in overcoming introversion and depression.
note: if back in stiff adjust hands by having fingertips forward and level with top of head and only raise up to Sphinx posture with forearms on mat. As flexibility improves practice full cobra to ability.

5. Shashankasana – Moon or Hare Pose

This posture has a dynamic phase and a static relaxation phase. They may be practiced together or separately. This static relaxation pose is best practiced as a counter pose after a backward bending asana like cobra to relax the spine. This is a deeply relaxing position for most people and is similar to that of a child.
  • After finishing Cobra pose push from the palms under the shoulders taking the buttocks back onto the heels and spine upright in vajrasana.
  • Take hold of one wrist in the other hand behind the back.
  • EXHALE bend forward from the hips and relax the abdomen on the thighs.
  • Further relax the forehead to the mat thus relaxing the neck muscles.
  • Hold and breath deeply in this position relaxing as much as possible.
  • When ready to release INHALE slowly come up with one hand held behind the back.
  • Allow blood pressure to adjust.
Benefits:
  • Relaxes the whole spine and supportive muscles.
  • Relieves any pressure on intervertebral discs.
  • Offers a deep massage to abdominal organs by exerting pressure.
  • Increase blood supply to head and brain.
  • Brings feeling of safety and security while balancing adrenals.
  • Deeply calming and relaxing – releases anxiety.
  • Hold 2-5 minutes.
Note: if there is high blood pressure raise head and rest chin in hands so heart and head are level.

6. Supta Udarakarshanasana – Sleeping abdominal pose

This posture offers a spinal twist that also stretches the hips, waist, back muscles and abdominal organs thus improving digestion and stretches the spinal muscles.
  • Lie flat on the mat with the legs stretched out and the arms lying on the floor out to the sides of the body at shoulder level.
  • INHALE bend the knees lift feet and feel back flat on the floor in this position.
  • EXHALE allow both knees & thighs to fall to the right side and turn face to look over the left arm in a spinal twist.
  • Note: you may need a folded blanket or cushion under thighs if they don’t reach floor as shoulders must remain grounded to mat
  • Hold and breath deeply for 5-7 yogic breaths
  • INHALE return knees to upright centre position
  • EXHALE allow knees and thighs to drop to left (on cushion if necessary), Relax and take 5-7 yogic breaths.
Benefits:
  • Spinal twist relieves stiffness from long hours of sitting at a desk.
  • Stretches from the hip to the shoulder.
  • Opens lower back and kidney area.
  • Stretches the digestive system and improves digestion.
  • helps eliminate constipation.
Note: place cushion or folded blankets to the side and rest thighs upon them until flexible enough to drop to the mat.

7. Shavansana with yogic breathing – Corpse Pose

This is the pose of relaxation and surrender of all efforts with deep yoga breathing. Finish your yoga practice in this pose of complete surrender where all effort is released.
  • Lie flat on the mat with the back of the neck long and relaxed.
  • Allow the arms to rest out to the sides but not touch the body, palms upward, fingers lightly curled or in chin mudra – relaxed from shoulders to finger tips.
    Shavasana - Corpse Pose
    Shavasana – Corpse Pose
  • Move the feet apart and allow them to fall loosely to the sides so the legs are relaxed from the hips to the toes.
  • Soften the facial muscles
  • Soften the abdomen, throat, neck and shoulders.
  • The right and left sides of the body should be in perfect balance.
  • Practice Long Slow Deep Yogic Breathing from the belly.
  • Surrender all efforts and relax a little more with each out breath.
Benefits:
  • In this position there is little stimulus to the senses of the hands, feet, face and muscles as everything surrenders to relaxation with breath.
  • The perfect way to complete your practice and allow the body to realign energetically.
  • We die to the outer world and focus on a sense of inner balance and alignment.

Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti

(I invoke peace for body mind and spirit) by Soraya Saraswati Qualified Yoga Practitioner

2 thoughts on “SEVEN Yoga Postures to Relieve Back Pain”

  1. Namaste Laxman,
    Yes there is much gentle yoga you can do for pain in your back and knees. Find a good local yoga teacher who understands the body. But I will do a video for this soon so stay in touch please and sign up for my email to receive the video.
    with best wishes Soraya.

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