Our spinal cord is a part of the body that holds the entire structure of our body together. It is one of the most critical structural and functional elements of our body. It is also, sadly, the most neglected. We indulge in all kinds of exercises for our body, but we forget that the back needs adequate stretching and nurturing for it to function well.

Coping with back pain can be an extremely painful process if not handled properly. Most doctors recommend yoga for back pain.

Yoga for a bad back has been observed to be the most effective solution. It helps you not just how to reduce back pain with yoga but also snaps you right out of that complacent, lethargic feeling you have got going on

Contrary to the belief that yoga is hard, there is beginner yoga for back pain. There a few simple yoga poses for back pain and is easy to do. Practicing these yoga asanas for back pain, you can not only reduce the pain but also strengthen your back and in turn, enhance your posture.

It may seem challenging in the beginning, but with practice, the easy yoga poses for back pain don’t seem like much trouble. Yoga can be an excellent way to rejuvenate your body.

Let us look at some poses and asanas, which teach us how to reduce back pain yoga.

1) Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaiasana)

The Cat-Cow pose or Marjaiasana, as known in Sanskrit gently stretches your spine and muscles around it to relieve you from pain. This pose is also known as the cat-camel pose as well. It requires to arch your back in order to skew and unskew the back muscles. It is an excellent exercise to strengthen the spine and flex the back muscles. 

How to do it?

yoga poses for back strength

  • It starts with you placing yourself in a tabletop position. Distribute your weight evenly on all fours.
  • Exhale as you tuck your chin in and arch your back towards the ceiling. Focus on your breath and allow it to ease the tension.
  • Push down your palms and arch your back downwards towards the mat. Inhale as you do so.
  • Continue this for inhaling and exhaling for at least one to two minutes. 
  • This yoga pose for back pain works your spine muscles, glute areas, and triceps.

Benefits of Cat-Cow Pose

  • Works the spinal muscles to give it strength and stability.
  • It is known to be one of the most effective poses in yoga stretching for back pain.

Precautions to Take

  • Ensure that the breathing is correctly maintained through the flow of the pose.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on the lower back; as soon as you feel discomfort, slowly release the pose and breathe normally.

2) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward-facing dog pose is a traditional forward bend for a full stretch head to toe. The dog pose angles your body stretching all the muscles from the shoulders to toes. Due to the posture of this particular pose, it tends to engage your core muscles (abdomen) strengthening it. The downward-facing dog is considered to be excellent yoga for back relief.

How to do it?

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  • Get into a tabletop position. Keep your weight evenly across your body. 
  • Press down your palms, lift up your knees, and align them with your glutes and toes. 
  • Keep your head looking down and in line with your upper arms. 
  • Hold this pose for one minute while breathing normally.
  • This yoga pose is for upper back, lower back, glutes, triceps, and ankle stretches.

Benefits of the Downward Facing Dog

  • This pose helps straighten out the muscular imbalances in the body.
  • It helps in the strengthening of the spinal cord column through the length of the body. 

Precautions to Take

  • Important to keep the right balance on both sides of the body. 
  • While lifting your knees, keep your knees well aligned to the body to avoid cramping and breathe normally.

3) Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

The Supine Spinal Twist is a twisty treat to all your back muscles and glutes. The posture of yoga is meant to engage more than just your back muscles. It allows you to twist your abdomen, thighs, and hips to engage them in a flexibility match. They are all equally stretched and strengthened. The spinal twist needs to be done with care and precision to avoid injury to the spine.

How to do it?

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  • Keep your legs on the ground, lie on the back and bend your left knee.
  • Pull your left leg away from the left side.
  • Continue to twist your left knee across the body until it floats above the ground or rests. 
  • Keep your hips and shoulders in line by scooting your right hip backward. Keep your sight over the left shoulder and completely relax your abdominal muscles.
  • Place your right hand on the left knee, hold the posture for a few breaths and then change sides.
  • Breathe normally and hold this pose for a minute. 
  • The spinal twist is a simple yoga pose for lower back pain. It works your back muscles, lower and upper glutes, biceps, and abdomen.

Benefits of the Supine Spinal Twist

  • Spinal twist position serves as yoga stretching for back pain.
  • It allows the body to stretch fully from the neck to the lower back.

Precautions to Take

  • Ensure that you lie in the correct posture when you start this pose to avoid injury to the spine. 
  • People with acute spinal illness should not go in for this in lieu of injuring their spine because of the twist.
  • Release this pose slowly and systematically.


Related Read: Best and Worst Yoga Poses for Knee Pain | Knee Pain Relief


4) Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

The Locust pose gets its name from the way the locust moves and curls. The raising of its head and moving forward is the action replicated in the locust pose. This pose engages the spine and glutes area of our body making them light and supple. Breathing needs to be kept even so as to not pull a muscle while doing this pose.

How to do it?

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  • Lie face down on the mat with your palms facing and heels facing upwards. Forehead touching the mat.
  • Lift your forehead slowly, followed by your shoulders and partly your upper arms. 
  • You can advance the pose by lifting your legs. Intertwine your fingers behind your back for support. 
  • Look straight ahead and breathe normally. 
  • Rest before repetition. 
  • The locust pose works the spinal column, upper glutes, and triceps.

Benefits of Locust Pose

  • The backbend is great yoga for bad back as it relieves the tension in the shoulders all the way down to your lower back. 
  • It strengthens the back, arms, midriff, and legs. 
  • It’s a great yoga pose for upper back pain.

Precautions to Take

  • Backbend is great on this pose but one needs to be careful about putting too much pressure. 
  • Make sure you rest before doing other repetitions in this pose. 

5) Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

The Lotus pose is also called as the Padmasana. It derives its name from “The Padma” which is Sanskrit for lotus and “Asana” which means posture. The posture resembles a still serene lotus. Due to the basic serenity of this pose, it is most popular with meditation techniques all around the world. It is the most comfortable and cocooned positions to practice meditation in.

How to do it?

how to reduce back pain with yoga
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  • Sit cross-legged on the floor and keep your back erect. 
  • Place one foot on the opposite thigh with the heel close to the stomach and foot sole facing upwards. 
  • The other foot is placed similarly symmetrically opposite to the previous one.
  • Breathe normally during the pose and can continue to hold this pose until you are comfortable. 
  • Hip flexors and hamstrings are two of the most prominently used muscles.

Benefits of Lotus Pose

  • This pose is commonly used for all meditation techniques but also doubles up as yoga for back pain relief. 
  • It engages your muscles and eases the tension in them while strengthening your core and stretching your glutes. 

Precautions to Take

  • Considering this to be a difficult pose, be careful to stretch your muscles only till your comfort levels. 
  • In the first go, be mindful to hold this pose for less amount of time and gradually increase it. 

6) Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)

The Sphinx pose is also called so because of the similarity it holds to the structure of the sphinx. In Sanskrit, it is called as the Salamba Bhujangasana. This means Supported Cobra Pose. It is very similar to the Cobra pose with a basic difference of the extension of the arms. While doing this pose, one must be careful to bear equal weight from the head to the lower back, so as to not strain it.

How to do it?

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  • Lie facedown with your arms on your side and breathe evenly. 
  • Slowly bring your palms next to your chest, lift up your head, and stretch while keeping the lower body cemented to the ground. 
  • Lift your head in a way that you are not throwing all your weight into your lower back. 
  • Keep this pose engaged for five minutes and look straight ahead while keeping breathing normally. 
  • This engages the lower back muscles, thighs, arms, and buttocks. 

Benefits of Sphinx Pose

  • The Sphinx pose strengthens your back and buttock muscles. 
  • It helps in relieving stress and anxiety. 
  • It also stretches out your chest, abdomen, and shoulders. 

Precautions to Take

  • Be mindful of the weight that you put on the sides of the body from head to the lower back. 
  • One must be careful not to strain their back while doing this pose as there might be a chance of injury.

7) Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This pose is called Child’s Pose because of its child-like sprawling posture on the floor. In Sanskrit, it is called as Balasana. ‘Bala’ meaning child and ‘Asana’ meaning posture. It is more of a kneeling asana in modern-day yoga. Usually, it is practiced before and after Sirshana to complete flexing of the entire body specifically the back muscles.

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  • Sit upright on your heels. Bend forward on your hands and move forward. 
  • Stretch your hands in front of you and let loose your weight on your body in a sprawled-out position. 
  • Rest your forehead gently on the floor and breathe normally. Hold this pose for 5 mins. 
  • Muscles that get engaged rotator cuff muscles, hamstrings, buttocks, and spine

Benefits of Child’s Pose

  • Child’s pose stretches out your hips, thighs, ankles, and core abdomen. It stretches out your spine for it to be lengthened and stretched. 
  • It helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue. 

Precautions to Take

  • Keep breathing constantly while doing this pose. Having a cramp might be possible if you do not breathe evenly
  • Carefully bend forward without putting unnecessary strain on the spine.

8) Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

The bow pose looks exactly like the bow of the bow and arrow. That’s how it derives its name. In Sanskrit, it takes its name as Dhanurasana. ‘Dhanur’ means bow and ‘Asana’ means posture. People who suffer from excessive spinal cord problems should not do this asana as it puts pressure on the spine. It is also not advisable for people with stomach and bowel related problems.

How to do it?

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  • Lie facedown on the floor with your hands on your sides. Bring your head up slowly and simultaneously your hands. 
  • Bend your knees and grab your ankles with your hands. Keep your head lifted and hold the pose while breathing evenly.
  • Keep yourself balanced on your stomach and lower back and continue to repeat this for iterations. 
  • Muscles that get engaged are biceps, triceps, buttocks, abdomen, spine, and hamstrings. 

Benefits of Bow Pose

  • Stretches and strengthens the spine and hamstrings. Works the glutes and arms. 
  • Relieves fatigue and stress while strengthening your spine. 

Precautions to Take

  • People suffering from excessive and acute spinal cord issues must not do this pose at all. 
  • Ensure that you are not suffering from any bowel trouble or stomach issues when you are doing this pose. 

9) Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Asana)

The bridge pose is a backbend pose of yoga for back pain relief. The bridge pose in ancient Sanskrit is also called as Setu Bandha Asana. Setu means bridge and Asana means posture, brings you a rejuvenating and restoring option for your back problems. This Asana concentrates your energies on the neck, vertebral column, back and thorax part of your body. It is an excellent exercise for those glutes you want to firm up.

How to do it?

simple yoga for back pain
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  • Lie flat on your back with hands on the side. Bend your knees and place them close to your buttocks. 
  • Keep your shoulders squared and firmly on the ground. Lift your buttocks and angle them it in line with your shoulders to make a 45-degree angle. 
  • Hold the position for two minutes and breathe normally. 
  • Muscles that get worked are gluteus muscles, spine, hamstrings and rectus and transverse abdominis.

Benefits of Bridge Pose

  • Stretches out the spine and relieves backaches and headaches. 
  • Useful for fighting off fatigue, stress, and anxiety. Also cures body aches and joint pains. 

Precautions to Take

  • Make sure you are careful about the neck and the thoracic region while doing this pose. 
  • It is a weight-bearing pose so be careful when you are putting weight on the neck and back area as it is prone to injury.

10) Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Cobra pose is also called Bhujangasana. Bhujang meaning snake and asana means posture. This asana is a great help to people who need to strengthen their back muscles in a not so extreme manner. In this asana, you are in complete control of the amount of pressure you want to put on your back. It will also depend on what kind of pain you are suffering from, which will decide the extent of flex you can put into this asana.

How to do it?

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  • Lie on stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Pin your hands near your chest. 
  • Press your hands on the mat and lift your head, chest, and shoulders slowly and stretch your back to the maximum limit. 
  • Drop your head back and deepen the pose. Relax and come to facedown positions.
  • This pose works your muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, triceps, and deltoids. 

Benefits of Cobra Pose

  • Abdomen, chest, and shoulders are stretched out to strengthen your spine and soothes back pain.
  • Helps in relieving pains related to joint aches and sciatica.
  • Relieves a great amount of stress and fatigue. 

Precautions to Take

  • Ensure to keep your breathing even when you lift the head to the pose position carefully.
  • Know your limits when you extend the lift. Do it to your comfort and make sure not to put too much strain on the lower back.
  • Deepen the pose only once you have become comfortable with the original pose. 

11) One-legged Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana )

The One-legged knee-to-chest pose is also known as the knee to chest press or Apanasana. It is a popular exercise not just with yoga but with general health freaks. It is a usual stretching exercise or warm-up before beginning to exercise. It is so because of the lower back muscles it concentrates on and gets stretched in the aptest manner. Very mandatory if you are in a weight training program.

How to do it?

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  • Lie on your back in a relaxed manner. 
  • Pull one knee closer to your body and clasp it with your hands and pull towards your chest. Engage as much as possible and hold the pose. 
  • Hold the pose for a minute for each leg and repeat. 
  • Engages the glute, spine, hamstring muscles to the maximum giving it maximum benefit. 

Benefits of One-legged Knee-to-Chest Pose

  • Helps in knee-knocking or knee circles and joint pains. 
  • Stretches and strengthens spine muscles and gives it core strength.

Precautions to Take

  • Don’t forcefully pull your knee towards your chest. Do it slowly so as to avoid any muscle pulls.
  • Do a small stretch of your legs before engaging this posture to avoid pulling a hamstring.

12) Boat Pose (Navasana)

The boat pose is also called as Navasana. Nav means boat and Asana meaning posture. It is also known as Paripurna Navasana which means full boat or complete boat pose. This pose engages and strengthens all of your body muscles and can be used as an excellent abdomen floor exercise aside from yoga. Excellent spine strengthener and glute workout.

How to do it?

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  • Lie flat on your back in a relaxed manner. 
  • Bring your hands to the side of your body and lift your upper body and legs simultaneously. 
  • Balance your self on your buttocks and hold the pose for 2-3 minutes and repeat. 
  • Engages your abdomen, glutes, and thighs.

Benefits of Boat Pose

  • Engages the core and strengthens it along with giving strength to your spine. 
  • It relieves fatigue, joint pains, and lowers stress levels.

Precautions to Take

  • Don’t put too much pressure on the spine when you lift your body and legs simultaneously otherwise you may pull a lower back muscle.
  • Allow yourself to ease into the pose and do as much as you can in terms of the lift.

13) Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

The butterfly pose is also known as Konasana or Baddha Konasana. The pose is a delightful grounding pose which allows you to reach out into your calm and deep place. It is a very popular asana for meditation and spiritual seminars. Not just that, it is an excellent warm-up and stretching exercise which you must do pre-workout to engage your back and thigh muscles.

How to do it?

yoga for bad back
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  • Sit in an upright position with your legs spread out wide in front of you.
  • Bring the feet together with soles facing each other. Bring it close to your inner thighs. 
  • Hold the feet together with your hands and hold the pose for a couple of minutes. 
  • Engages the glutes, serratus anterior, and triceps. 

Benefits of Butterfly Pose

  • Mobilizes the spine and stretches it out to a maximum, strengthening it. 
  • Relieves sciatica and muscle strains in the glutes area of the body.

Precautions to Take

  • Make sure you keep the spine erect.
  • Don’t exert any pressure on your knees. 
  • Keep a blanket below your thighs if you experience discomfort.

14) Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

The Pigeon pose is also called as Kapotasana. Kapot meaning pigeon and asana meaning posture. This is a unique pose the works both your lower back and thigh muscles simultaneously. It is a lovely stretching exercise that ensures your body feels stretched, fresh and strong.

How to do it?

back pain yoga exercise
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  • Put your feet close together and start with a downward dog pose. 
  • Bend your left leg and keep it perpendicular to your right, lowering both legs to the ground. 
  • Extend your right leg behind you if you are an expert yoga practitioner.
  • Pull your back foot in towards the back and off the ground.
  •  It targets the gluteal muscles and hamstrings

Benefits of Pigeon Pose

  • Helps to open the chest muscles up and strengthen the back and groin. 
  • Helps in enhances the flexibility of the hips, lower back, and overall body.

Precautions to Take

  • Do not practice this if you have a sacroiliac or pelvis injury.
  • Also avoid this pose in case of a recent back injury, knee or a leg injury.

15) Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

The triangle pose gets its name from the shape that the body takes while completing this asana. Also known as the Trikonasana. Trikon meaning triangle and asana meaning posture. It is a standard standing exercise in a modern-day workout. It allows you to work out arms and stretch those leg muscles making it a great post-workout regime.

How to do it?

yoga for your back
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  • Stand with your feet three-four feet apart. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to your body.
  • Extend your arms, palm facing downwards on either side of your body. 
  • Bend down and place palm down parallel to your right foot and rotate the palm of your left hand toward the sky.
  • Engages the hips, hamstrings, abdomen, and arms.

Benefits of Triangle Pose

  • Stretches your spine to the maximum and engages your core while doing so. 
  • It provides ample flexibility to your hips and thighs and strengthens them.

Precautions to Take

  • Avoid overstretching the body as it can lead to pulled ligaments.
  • Slightly lower the neck if it begins to hurt.

Conclusion

Although research supports yoga for back pain, it is advisable to ask your doctor to what extent you can bend your body. They can help you identify possible risks in case of some poses that may deter your condition rather than improve. Also, learn yoga from a learned teacher, trainer, or guru. Don’t rely just on video tutorials and theoretical material to guide you as there is no expert to validate your understanding. Be sure to seek out the best yoga for back problems, and watch them vanish in no time with yoga.

FAQs Related to Yoga Exercise for Back Pain

Yes, yoga helps align your spine and enhances your posture through its various exercises and poses. It helps to train the body to become more supple and healthy. It helps maintain and recover the natural curvature of the spine, making your back aches obsolete.
If you are a side sleeper, try using a towel or pillow between your knees to keep them aligned correctly. If you sleep on your back, use a correct mattress, or use a small towel at the curve of the spine. Completely avoid sleeping on your stomach as this posture puts way too much pressure on your spine, which isn’t healthy.
Use a proper ergonomic chair with proper back support to keep your spine erect and aligned. Keep your feet flat on the ground with knees at an angle of ninety degrees. Don’t sit, angled. Keep your weight balanced on both your hips. Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. 
It depends on what the condition of the patient is and cause of pain. If it is due to a herniated disc, yes, stretching can make it worse. It can worsen and cause more pain to the patient than relief. If you have a pinched nerve, you need to stretch inwards towards the chest rather than lengthwise to make it better. Every solution in the form of stretching depends on what the problem is.
There are many activities that cause stress on the back. One of the main ones is lifting something heavy in an improper posture. Also, stress-causing reasons are when you put all your weight to one side of your body while sitting, sleeping, exercising, etc. Your spine becomes imbalanced and is unable to handle the stress, causing pain.

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