4 Yoga Exercises For Relieving Back Pain
Yoga is a magical tool for relieving back inflammation and pain, (you can learn more about the fundamental reasons why by clicking here). Below you will find four specific postures and breathing exercises you can add into your yoga routine to destress your back and reduce tension.
1. Sitali Pranayama
This is one of our favorite breathing techniques! Sitali means cooling, which speaks to the effect this technique has on the mind and body, and is especially good for anyone living in a hot climate!
How To: Roll your tongue to form a tube (if you can’t do this form a small circle with your lips and keep your tongue relaxed). Inhale deeply through your tongue or lips, taking in as much air as you can. Then, press the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and seal your lips. Hold here for a count of 4, feeling the coolness of the air in your mouth. Finally, exhale through the nose keeping your mouth closed. Repeat for 5 - 10 minutes or as needed.
2. Cat Cow
This is a dynamic pose that alternates between contraction of the back and relaxation, going back and forth with the breath. This pose is great for stretching out the upper back, lower back, and also the torso!
How To: Position yourself evenly balanced on all fours, with the wrists and knees shoulder width apart, and the hands facing forward directly under the shoulders. As you inhale, raise your gaze up towards the sky, letting your belly drop towards your mat. As you exhale, tuck the chin to the chest and arch your spine towards the sky, focusing on releasing tension in your body as you perform this movement. This can be repeated as needed.
3. Bridge Pose
This pose incorporates a backbend and a slight inversion and is hugely beneficial in strengthening the lower back and opening the torso.
How To: Lay on your back with your knees bent and heels almost touching the glutes, resting your arms along the side of your body. Lift the tailbone to the sky by pressing your feet and arms into the ground until you form a straight diagonal from the knees through the hips to the shoulders. Hold here for 3 - 5 breaths and release, slowly rolling your spine back to the floor.
4. Cobra Pose
This pose is a gentle backbend that engages the chest, shoulders and abdominal muscles.
How To: Lie face down with your palms facing down directly under the shoulders, making sure the elbows stay pressed to your torso and not out to the side. Lift your head, chest and shoulder off the ground by pressing gently into your hands while bringing the gaze to the sky, letting your head drop back to move deeper into the pose. The lift can be done halfway, or the full way up, whatever you are comfortable with, feeling the extension in the chest and mid-back and holding for 3 - 5 breaths. Slowly release back to the ground, resting your head on the mat.
Of course, there are many other poses and techniques that can be beneficial for any sort of back and neck pain, these are some of our favorites, and are accessible to yoga practitioners of all levels.
If you’re experiencing severe back pain and fear it may be something serious, stick to the experts and consult a physician. This article is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed expert and we always recommend checking with your doctor if you are experiencing any health-related issues!