Best Yoga Poses to Alleviate Lower Back Pain

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Let’s talk about the most common issue we’re all facing as a wager to our current lifestyles: Backaches. The plight of your spine, to carry the rest of your body around and support every other muscle, including your brain. Quite the task appointed for one single organ, is it not? There there. Don’t fret. Everyone has been through at least mild versions of lower back pain once in their lives. If all of your efforts to alleviate this pain have gone to waste, here is a routine of 7 poses that I know I can swear by:

In a world where desk jobs are the norm, “Sleeping in” is the new “vacation” and “Netflix and chill” is the new “playtime”, each muscle in your body is begging to be stretched. Yoga has gotten popular, now more than ever, because of how it seamlessly fits into our new normal lifestyles, like a missing puzzle piece waiting to complete us.

Let’s talk about the most common issue we’re all facing as a wager to our current lifestyles: Backaches. The plight of your spine, to carry the rest of your body around and support every other muscle, including your brain. Quite the task appointed for one single organ, is it not? 

There there. Don’t fret. Everyone has been through at least mild versions of lower back pain once in their lives. If all of your efforts to alleviate this pain have gone to waste, here is a routine of 7 poses that I know I can swear by:

 

1. CAT and COW: The Warm-up

 
Wonder what the ideal pose for an aching, sore lower back is? The Cat and Cow stretch, when performed together in a sequence, tend to loosen any tension accumulated in your back muscles and make a great sequence to begin your back exercises. Kind of like a warm to all the poses on this list.
 
Here’s how to perform this stretch:
 
Step 1:
Start by placing your knees and hands on the floor in what is known as an “all-fours” or a “tabletop” position. Make sure to align your knees to be directly above your hips and your wrists directly below your shoulders. Good to go? 
 
Step 2:
Exhale and round your spine up towards the ceiling, arching your back to get into the cat pose. Hold this posture for a few seconds.
 
Step 3:
Inhale and scoop your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades back and look at the ceiling.
 
Step 4:
Repeat 10 times. With each new attempt, try to inhale deeper and exhale longer. You will really start to feel your back muscles relaxing and easing the tension.

 

2. Bharadvaja’s Twist

Step 1:
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight in front of you. Shift your weight onto your right buttock, bend your knees such that they come close to you, and rotate your legs to the left. Lay your feet onto the floor outside, with your left ankle resting in the right arch.
 
Step 2:
Inhale and lift up to lengthen your torso. Then exhale and twist your torso to the right, keeping your left buttock very close to the floor (if you can't keep it directly onto the floor). Stretch your tailbone toward the floor to lengthen your lower back. 
 
Step 3:
Tuck your left hand below your right knee and bring your right hand to the floor, placing it next to your right buttock. Pull your left shoulder back slightly, pressing the shoulder blades firmly against your back even as you continue twisting your chest to the right.
 
Step 4:
Your head can be turned in either of the two directions: following the torso twist by tilting it to the right; or countering the torso twist by turning it to the left and looking over your left shoulder. 
 
Step 5:
With every inhalation, try to lift a little more through the sternum. You can also use the push of your fingers on the floor to help. With every exhalation, twist more to get deeper into the posture. Stay here for between 30 seconds to 1 minute, releasing the pose with an exhalation. Return to the start, and repeat the same on the left. 

 

3. Chair Pose

 
Step 1:
Begin by standing straight with your arms close to your body. Kind of like when they scream “Attention” in a P.E. drill. Inhale and raise your arms such that they are now perpendicular to the floor. You can choose to either a) keep your arms parallel to one another, or b) join your palms.
 
Step 2:
As you exhale, bend your knees and try to take your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible - as if you were sitting on an indivisible chair. Your knees will naturally protrude out of your feet, and your torso will lean forward over your thighs until it forms (an almost) right angle with the top of your glutes. Keep your inner thighs parallel to each other and try to channel any pressure coming from your thighs to your heels. Pressure on your knees can make you injury-prone. 
 
Step 3:
Straighten your shoulder blades, pulling them back consciously. Try to pull your tailbone in towards your pubis in order to keep the lower back long.
 
Step 4:
Stay in this posture for 30 seconds to a minute. Your glutes may start to wobble, but don’t give up. To come out of the pose, inhale deeply and straighten your knees, lifting strong through your arms. As you exhale, release your arms to the sides and back into standing. If your knees start to hurt, come out of this posture immediately.

 

4. Upward-Facing Dog

Step 1:
Begin by lying down on your belly with your feet about hip-distance apart and your hands placed on either side of your lower ribs. Extend your big toes and press down with all 10 toes to activate those quadriceps. Feel it yet?
 
Step 2:
Press the mat down with your hands and feet and inhale as you straighten up those arms, looking straight as your shoulders stay rolled back. Now try to push your feet into the floor and lift your legs off the mat too.
 
Step 3:
Make the necessary adjustments to align your arms such that they are perpendicular to the floor and your shoulders are directly over your wrists.
 
Step 4:
With each breath, keep drawing your chest forward and upward. Hold this for 5 deep breaths and release the posture. 

 

5. Downward-Facing Dog

Step 1:
Get into a tabletop position with all fours on your yoga mat. This time, place your hands about three inches ahead of your shoulder, not directly below and shoulder-width apart. 
 
Step 2:
Curling your toes under, push back your such that your hands help you lift your hips and straighten your legs. Your buttocks should now be pointed towards the ceiling. 
 
Step 3:
Spread your fingers on the mat to avoid putting pressure on your wrists. Rotate your upper arms outward to deepen the posture and broaden your collarbones.
 
Step 4:
Allow your head to relax while also pushing your shoulder blades away from each other to open up your chest.
 
Step 5:
Engage your quads equally, if not more, to ensure that the pressure is off your arms. This can really make this posture feel relaxing rather than taxing. 
 
Step 6:
With each deep breath, try to push your tail high towards the ceiling and your heels down towards the mat. If you can get your feet completely on the floor, bingo!
 
Step 7:
To come out of this pose, Exhale, bend your knees and come back to the tabletop position.

 

6. Extended Puppy Pose

 
Step 1:
Come onto the tabletop position (all fours). Make sure to check for alignment. (You know the drill). Now walk your palms forward by a few inches and curl your toes under.
 
Step 2:
Exhale and slide your buttocks back toward your heels (only halfway). Keep the arms active. Don’t allow your elbows to reach the ground.
 
Step 3:
Place your forehead onto the mat to ensure your neck relaxes. Allow your lower back to curve naturally, but only slightly. To feel a good stretch in your spine, press your hands down on the mat and stretch through your arms while also pulling the hips back towards your heel.
 
Step 4:
Breathe into your back as you feel your spine stretch in both directions. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds before your release. 
 
 

7. Child’s Pose: The Cool-down

While the child’s pose looks like a resting/cool-down pose (and it is), it’s also a brilliant ailment for the back. The child’s pose is an active stretch that helps to elongate and relax the spine like no other. It’s also a fantastic de-stressor after a long day. 
Here’s how to perform this stretch:

Start by coming on all fours with your arms lengthened out straight in front of you, and sit back in such a way that your glutes (buttocks) rest on your heels. Hold this for 5 deep, long breaths for a nice, soothing finisher stretch.

I hope this “7 postures to a better back” mantra works for you, as well as it did for me. Try it and comment about your experiences below.

Happy Stretching :) 



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