If you are living with chronic back pain, good news is coming your way. There are now several pain relieving options out there that do not include medication. For example, have you ever thought about yoga as a way to relieve your pain? There is more to yoga than just enhancing your spiritual well-being. The ancient practice emphasizing stretching, strength, and flexibility can be the perfect remedy for relieving back pain. Its healing qualities are known for alleviating soreness and chronic backaches by lengthening the spine and strengthening the back muscles. Yoga moves can be performed almost everywhere with just your mat. Learn more about how to turn your home into a yoga retreat here. If you want to take control of managing your pain without traditional medicines, we suggest trying these five basic yoga poses targeted to ease back pain.
Cat and Cow Pose
This pose massages the muscles of the back, improving your spinal flexibility and relieving lower back pain. It also serves as an excellent warm up to other basic yoga poses. The principles of control, power, and breath are essential when practicing your yoga poses. You can brush up on these principles with a class on the introduction to ashtanga yoga: power, breath and control.
1) Starting in the kneeling position, lean forward and place your hands face down on the floor directly under your shoulders with your fingers spread apart.
2) Inhale and slowly extend your tailbone toward the ceiling.
3) Exhale and reverse the pose, arching your back upwards. Tuck your chin into your chest and round the spine, tucking the tailbone downward. Repeat the pose 2-3 times.
Downward Facing Dog
1) Kneel on all fours, placing your hands, your knees, and feet hip-width apart. Make sure your neck is in line with the rest of your spine. Take care not to arch or curve your spine and keep it as straight as possible in this position.
2) Tuck your toes under your feet, inhale, and straighten your legs. Exhale and gently push your heels down. Tense the muscles just above your knees and pull in your thigh muscles. Stretch through your arms, while pushing your sitting bones up toward the ceiling. Make sure to keep the outside edges of your feet squarely aligned with each other. *Hold for 10 breaths.
3) Counterpose the stretch by bringing your knees back to the floor and sitting back on your heels. Rest your hands lightly on your knees.
1) Start in the kneeling position and slowly lower your buttocks toward your heels as your stretch the rest of your body down and forward.
2) Rest your extended arms loosely on the floor in front of you with your palms down, your stomach comfortably on top of your thighs, and your forehead to the mat. Let gravity take over and take care not to force your buttocks any closer to your heels than you are comfortable with. You will feel a mild stretch in your buttocks, shoulders, and down the length of your spine.
Kneeling Back Bend Cycle
This cycle strengthens the spine and increases flexibility in the hips and shoulders. It is known for soothing backaches and encouraging deep breathing. For more poses like the kneeling back bend cycle, take a look at yoga for neck and back pain.
1) Kneel on the floor with your knees and feet together. Extend your feet out behind you and sit back on your heels. Rest your hands lightly on your lap.
2) Take your arms behind you and interlock your fingers behind your back. Inhale, look up, and arch your spine. Keep your hands clasped behind your as you open your shoulders and chest.
3) Exhale, fold forward, and bring you forehead toward the floor in front of your knees. Rest your head gently on the floor and keep your brow relaxed. Ensure that your buttocks remain on your heels as you fold forward.
4) As you inhale, lift your hips and gently roll onto the crown of your head, raising your clasped hands to the ceiling as your do so. Keep your arms straight and try to keep them in line with your neck. Raise your hips toward the ceiling. *Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale, return the Child’s Pose, and rest.
5) Gently inch your hands back behind you with your fingertips pointing towards your buttocks, and press them into the floor. Inhale, arch your back, and lift your chest. Exhale, slowly bend your head back, and look-up toward the ceiling. *Hold for 5 breaths. Slowly release and return to to step 1. Complete this cycle 3 times.
Extended Triangle pose
The triangle pose strengthens your back by lengthening muscles along the side of your torso and strengthening the muscle fibers along your outer hip.
1) Start this pose by moving your feet 3ft apart so they are beneath your elbows and extend your arms out to the side. Keep your heels in alignment with each other, your legs straight, and your arms level with your shoulders.
2) Turn your right foot out by 90o and turn your left foot by approximately 30o. Place your hands on your hips, and keep your pelvis facing forward. Place your right hand on your right thigh and extend your left arm toward the ceiling.
3) Inhale and stretch with your left hand. Exhale and slide your right hand down your right thigh and slowly bend sideways, feeling the stretch on your left side of your body. Turn your head to look up at the ceiling. Take care to to keep your pelvis centered.
4) Stretch through your left arm and slide further down your right leg toward your ankle, grasping it if possible. *Hold for 10 breaths. If you are unable to do step 4, hold step 3 for 10 breaths. Inhale and repeat pose on the other side of your body.
You do not have to let back pain control your life anymore. Yoga is a great way to alleviate chronic pain and soreness through stretching and strengthening. As with any new fitness regime, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor first before you start any physical activity. If you are interested in learning more beginning yoga poses, we suggest checking out this yoga class for beginners.