Yoga for Lower Back Pain: Relieve and Prevent Discomfort

Yoga for lower back pain is an effective and natural way to relieve discomfort and prevent future issues. Explore various yoga poses and exercises that target the lower back to find relief and promote overall back health.

By Mystic Vivan
New Update
Yoga for Lower Back

Lower back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people, especially those who spend long hours sitting at a desk or engaging in sedentary activities. The constant hunched-over posture and lack of movement can lead to stiffness and discomfort in the back. However, there is a solution that can provide relief and prevent future pain – yoga.


The Benefits of Yoga for Lower Back Pain

Yoga is not only a stress-relieving practice but also an effective way to alleviate lower back pain. According to Lindsay Monal, a certified yoga teacher, back pain often stems from a lack of flexibility, mobility, and sedentary lifestyles. The prolonged periods of sitting can restrict movement in the upper and lower back, leading to discomfort and stiffness.

Practicing yoga for lower back pain can provide both short-term and long-term relief. Flowing through postures that open up and stretch the spine and back can offer immediate relief. In the long run, consistent yoga practice can train your body to maintain a more comfortable posture, reducing chronic pain caused by improper alignment.


Additionally, yoga can help strengthen your core muscles, which play a crucial role in protecting and stabilizing the spine. Insufficient core strength can contribute to poor posture, leading to back pain. Research has shown that individuals who participated in a weekly yoga class designed specifically for lower back pain experienced improved physical function and decreased pain levels compared to those who relied solely on self-help methods.

Before starting a yoga practice for lower back pain, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a serious medical condition or a specific back injury. However, in most cases, yoga is gentle enough to alleviate everyday aches and pains.

Best Tips for Practicing Yoga for Lower Back Pain


Not all types of yoga are suitable for addressing lower back pain. It is crucial to choose practices specifically designed to target back pain and avoid vigorous forms of yoga that may exacerbate your symptoms. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Find Yoga Practices Tailored for Back Pain: Look for yoga classes or videos that focus on relieving lower back pain. These practices will incorporate postures that stretch and strengthen the back, providing the most effective relief.

  • Avoid Vigorous Forms of Yoga: Ashtanga or hot yoga may not be suitable for individuals with lower back pain. Instead, opt for gentler forms of yoga that prioritize spinal movement and mobility.

  • Start with Cat-Cow Posture: Regardless of where your pain is located, begin your yoga-for-back-pain practice with the cat-cow posture. This movement helps link your breath with movement and creates space throughout the spine.

  • Explore Twists, Forward Folds, and Backbends: Postures involving twists, such as seated or supine spinal twists, forward folds, and backbends, can open up the spine and create space between the vertebrae. These poses are particularly helpful for relieving lower back pain.

  • Open the Hips: Lower back pain can often be alleviated by opening the hips. Incorporate postures like butterfly or wide-leg forward folds to relieve tension in the lower back.

  • Use Props: Don't hesitate to use props like blankets or towels to support your practice. For example, lying with your upper back on a rolled-up blanket or towel can open the chest and alleviate back pain caused by hunching over.

Remember to listen to your body during your practice. If a posture causes sharp pain or extreme discomfort, it is best to back away and explore alternative poses that are more suitable for your needs.


The 6 Best Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain

Now that you have learned the best tips for practicing yoga for lower back pain, it's time to introduce six effective yoga poses that can provide relief and help you strengthen your back. Incorporate these poses into your routine and hold each posture for five to ten breaths, or longer if comfortable.

1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)


Cobra pose stretches the chest, shoulders, abdominal muscles, and neck while strengthening the shoulders and glutes. To practice this pose:

  • Lie facedown on the floor with your legs fully extended, feet slightly closer than hip-width apart, and arms at your sides, palms facing up.
  • Place your hands on the mat directly underneath your shoulders and spread your fingertips wide.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your sides, press through your palms to lift your chest off the floor. Continue lifting your chest as far as is comfortable or until your arms are fully extended.
  • Roll your shoulder blades down your back and lengthen through the crown of your head. Gaze forward and keep the back of your neck long.
  • Hold this position for several breaths, feeling the stretch in your back and chest.

Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

2. Seated Side Stretch (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

Seated side stretch targets the side body, hips, and hamstrings, releasing tension along the spine. Follow these steps to practice this pose:

  • Sit tall on the floor with your legs extended in front of your body and your arms at your sides, fingertips touching the floor.
  • Open your left leg out to the side as far as comfortable, keeping the left foot flexed. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh.
  • Rotate your torso to point toward your right knee, keeping your spine long and gaze forward.
  • Extend your arms overhead and lean your torso toward your left foot. Rest your left hand on your left foot, shin, or thigh while continuing to reach your right arm over your right ear. Draw your right shoulder down and back to create space between your biceps and ear.
  • Hold this position for several breaths, feeling the stretch along your side body.

Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana
Seated Side Stretch (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

3. Seated Eagle Arms (Sukhasana with Garudasana Arms)

Seated eagle arms provide a stretch for the backs of your shoulders while opening up the arms and chest. Practice this pose by following these steps:

  • Sit cross-legged on the floor with your spine long, gaze forward, and arms resting at your sides. Draw your shoulders down and back.
  • Open your arms out to the sides to form a "T" shape with your body. Then, cross your arms in front of your chest, resting your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder, stacking the elbows if possible. Your right arm should be on top of your left arm.
  • To deepen the stretch, lift your hands off your shoulders and point your fingertips toward the ceiling, allowing the backs of your forearms to touch with your elbows at shoulder height in front of your body.
  • Hold this position for several breaths, feeling the stretch in the back of your shoulders and chest.

Garudasana Arms
Seated Eagle Arms (Sukhasana with Garudasana Arms)

4. Gate Pose (Parighasana)

Gate pose stretches out the spine while targeting the hamstrings, ankles, torso, arms, and abs. To practice this pose:

  • Start in a table-top position on the floor with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, hips stacked above your knees, and feet hip-width apart.
  • Step your left foot out to the left side, extending your left leg. Keep your left ankle in line with your left knee, foot flat on the floor, and toes pointed forward.
  • Engage your core and push through your palms to bring your body upright. Then, place your hands on your hips.
  • Point your toes on your left foot toward the top of the mat. Rest your left fingertips on your left thigh or shin and extend your right arm overhead. Slowly lean your torso toward the left, continuing to reach your right arm over your right ear. Draw your right shoulder down and back to create space between your biceps and ear.
  • Hold this position for several breaths, feeling the stretch along your side body.

Gate Pose (Parighasana)

5. Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Supported fish pose is an excellent stretch for the upper back, chest, shoulders, and neck. It helps correct the rounding in the shoulders caused by poor posture and opens the chest for better breathing. Follow these steps to practice this pose:

  1. Place one block at its tallest height at the top of your mat. Position a second block about 5 inches in front of it, on its medium height setting, perpendicular to the first block.
  2. Lie down over the two blocks so that the tallest block supports your head, and the shorter block sits just below your shoulder blades (around where a sports bra crosses the back).
  3. Let both arms rest down beside your body. For a deeper stretch, extend your arms out wide to a "T" shape to further open the chest. Keep your feet flat on the floor or start to extend your legs long if possible.
  4. Hold this position for up to 3 minutes, allowing the stretch to release tension in your upper back and chest.

Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

6. Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Reclined hand-to-big-toe pose stretches the groin, hamstrings, glutes, and calves while creating space between the vertebrae of the lower back. Follow these steps to practice this pose:

  • Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent to 45-degree angles, feet flat a few inches in front of your butt, and hands resting on your stomach.
  • Draw your right knee toward your chest, bringing your right thigh snug against your stomach. Keep your left foot planted on the floor or extend your left leg long for a deeper stretch.
  • With your right hand, loop a yoga strap around the sole of your right foot or right big toe. Start to lift and straighten your right leg up toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulders pressed to the mat and collarbones broadened. Your right leg can remain slightly bent depending on your flexibility.
  • Hold this position for several breaths, feeling the stretch in your groin, hamstrings, and lower back. Repeat on the other side.
Supta Padangusthasana
Reclined Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

By incorporating these six yoga poses into your routine, you can effectively relieve lower back pain and promote overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body and modify poses as needed to suit your comfort level.


Yoga is a powerful practice that can alleviate lower back pain and prevent future discomfort. By incorporating specific yoga poses into your routine and following essential tips, you can find relief and improve your overall well-being. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have a serious medical condition or specific back injury. With consistent practice and proper alignment, yoga can be a transformative tool in your journey towards a pain-free back and a healthier lifestyle.

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