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Gentle Yoga Exercises for Back Pain

Various studies have revealed the power of the ancient practice called yoga, which emphasizes flexibility, strength, and stretching, to treat back pain. Although yoga isn’t recommended for severe back pain, it is really great for chronic aches or occasional soreness.

Certain yoga postures can greatly benefit you as these can help stretch and strengthen your back muscles, lengthen your spine, and align your back properly.

Yoga postures typically focus on control and balance which encourage your body to defend against the back pain and its causes such as weak pelvic and abdominal muscles, and less flexibility in hips flexor muscles.

yoga exercises for back pain

Yoga exercises help you strengthen these muscles, which, in turn, will improve your posture by reducing the load on your back muscles and relieve back pain. It also involves stretching that helps improve flexibility by increasing the flow of blood to the tight muscles.

I know, you are a senior, haven’t done Yoga before, or are new at it and you look at these poses and think “I can’t do that” well I was in the same mind frame 12 months ago, I found once I started at the gym doing Functional training (F45) and don’t forget I am 65 and so unfit and overweight when I started, my body started to limber up. It was like it had been locked for years. It’s like stretching and breathing if done properly you will find you can stretch that little bit further.

And no, you don’t have to be doing what they are doing in the images, just do the best you can.

Following are some of the top proven yoga exercises for back pain:

1.) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

This yoga pose can be very rejuvenating and restful as it helps relieve sciatica disorder and other spine-related pain. This asana also helps improve strength and even out imbalances in your body.

Steps to do this yoga-asana:

  • Adho Mukha SvanasanaStep 1: Attain a kneeling position and place your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  • Step 2: Breathe-out and gently lift up your knees off the floor by tucking your toes beneath and pressing into your hands. Also, raise your hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Step 3: Straighten your knees and elbows, and allow your body to form an ‘inverted V’ pose. Make sure your feet are in line with your hips, your hands are in line with your shoulders, and your toes are pointing outwards.
  • Step 4: Lengthen your neck and press your hands into the floor to allow your ears to touch your inner arms. Then, stare at your navel.
  • Step 5: Hold the pose for one minute, and return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

2.) Cat-Cow Pose

This yoga exercise is a combination of cat (Marjariasana) and cow (Bitilasana) pose. This asana offers gentle backbend stretch and spine massage. It even stretches your neck, shoulders, torso, and massage your abdomen.

Steps to do cat-cow pose:

  • Cat-Cow PoseStep 1: Attain a kneeling position on the floor and place your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  • Step 2: While inhaling, raise your head up to look at the ceiling, lift your hips up and allow your stomach to sink down toward the floor.
  • Step 3: While exhaling, arch your spine up by bringing down your chin toward your chest and pulling your navel close to your spine.
  • Step 4: Perform both step 2 and step 3 at least 5 to 6 times.

3.) Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Ustrasana This yoga-asana can help open up the heart chakra and improve flexibility and strength of your spine.

Steps to do Ustrasana:

  • Step 1: Attain a kneeling position on the floor and place the hands on your hips. Your shoulders and knees should be in the same line, and your feet-soles should face the ceiling.
  • Step 2: While inhaling, pull your tailbone toward the pubis until you feel a stretch in your navel area.
  • Step 3: Arch your back and place your hands over your feet behind you and extend your arms. Make sure that your neck is in a neutral position to prevent any strain.
  • Step 4: Hold the pose for one minute and return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

4.) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

This yoga-asana involves backward bending pose. Here, the head and trunk resemble a raised cobra hood.

Steps to do Bhujangasana:

  • BhujangasanaStep 1: Lie down flat on your stomach on the floor. Place both of your hands on your sides and bring your toes closer.
  • Step 2: Move your hands in front of you and place both palms on the floor. Ensure to place your palms are at the shoulder level.
  • Step 3: Put the weight of your upper body on your palms and lift your trunk and head slowly. Make sure to bend your arms at your elbows.
  • Step 4: Arch your neck and spine backward in order to attain the raised cobra hood pose.
  • Step 5: Hold the position for a few seconds and return back to the starting position.
  • Step 6: Repeat the entire routine as many times as you can to attain the best results.

5.) Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

This yoga-asana is a great east-facing stretching pose. It helps strengthen the spine, the shoulders, and the leg muscles.

Steps to do Purvottanasana:

  • Step 1: Attain a sitting position on the floor and place both of your hands a bit behind your hips on the floor. Your fingertips should point at your feet.
  • Step 2: Slowly bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart on the floor.
  • Step 3: While exhaling, push your hands and feet on the floor and gently lift your butts up off the floor. Make sure that your hips and shoulders are on the same level.
  • Step 4: Gently straighten your legs and arms, and your toes should point outward.
  • Step 5: Raise your hips as high as possible until your legs and glutes feel stretched.
  • Step 6: Lift your chest up by rolling your shoulders backward. Allow your head to hang back slowly and carefully in order to prevent any neck injury.
  • Step 7: Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and slowly return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

6.) Paschimottanasana

This yoga-asana activates the central part of your solar plexus.

Steps to do Paschimottanasana:

  • PaschimottanasanaStep 1: Attain a cross-legged sitting position on the floor. Stretch out your legs by keeping your spine erect and your feet pointing upward.
  • Step 2: While inhaling, extend your hands above your head and do not bend your elbows. Then, stretch your spine as much as possible.
  • Step 3: While exhaling, lean forward by bringing your hands down and attempt to touch the toes. Rest your head on the knees. For beginners, you can try to touch your ankles or thighs.
  • Step 4: Try to hold and pull back your toes until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Step 5: Hold the position for a minute or two and return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

7.) Halasana

This yoga-asana can help prepare your body and mind for deep transformation. It can help strengthen your body by calming your entire nervous system.

Steps to perform Halasana:

  • HalasanaStep 1: Lie down on your back on the floor and place your arms on the sides. Your palms should face downwards.
  • Step 2: While inhaling, use your abdominal muscles to raise your feet up off the floor.
  • Step 3: Support the hips with your hands and lift your hips up off the floor.
  • Step 4: Slowly bring your legs down on the opposite side (over your head) and allow your toes to touch the floor behind your head. Your spine should be perpendicular to the floor.
  • Step 5: Hold the position for 60 seconds and gently return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

8.) Shalabasana (Locust Pose)

This yoga-asana helps stretch the spine as well as the back muscles.

Steps to perform Shalabasana:

  • ShalabasanaStep 1: Lie down on your stomach on the floor and place your arms at your sides.
  • Step 2: While inhaling, raise your hands, upper torso as well as your legs. Do not bend your knees. Make sure to rest your entire weight on your abdomen and lower ribs.
  • Step 3: Hold the position for 60 seconds and return back to the starting position. Repeat the entire routine as many times as possible.

Although yoga-asanas can effectively help treat back pain problems, these may not be suitable for every individual. Make sure to consult your doctor prior to joining any new yoga exercise program.

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