According to WebMD, studies have shown that twelve weeks of yoga can reduce symptoms of lower back pain and improve overall back function.
If you’d like to take advantage of the relaxation benefits of yoga while also solving some of your lower back problems, try some of the following poses.
1. Forward Bend
With your feet hip-distance apart, cross your arms in front of you, and then bend from the hips. You may keep your arms folded, or reach to touch the floor or hold onto your ankles. As you hold the pose, continue to breathe, and try to relax further into the stretch on each exhale.
If you feel pulling in your hamstrings, feel free to bend your knees slightly to reduce the strain and get the most out of this back stretch. To come up, unfold at the hips rather than rolling your spine.
2. Sphinx Pose
Lie on your stomach with your legs together and your forearms braced on the floor in front of you. Keep your toes pointed behind you as you inhale, and lift your chest and head up off of the floor. Make sure to keep your feet pointed and stay aware of your abdominals to avoid putting too much strain on the lower back as you bend into the pose.
Sphinx pose will help you strengthen the spine and avoid future injury.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’re likely familiar with this pose. Get down onto your hands and knees, with your palms flat on the ground about shoulder width apart, and your feet about hip-width apart.
Pressing down with your hands and toes, push yourself up and tighten your abs to form a triangle shape with your body.
This pose will strengthen your back and lengthen your spine.
4. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
If a twist is what you need, then Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is just what the yogi ordered.
Sit on the floor and place your left foot just outside of your right hip. Then, place your right foot just outside of your left knee.
Twist to the right and brace your left elbow on your right knee, and spread your fingertips wide. You should feel the stretch throughout your entire spine.
5. Child’s Pose
This “rest pose” is an excellent back stretch, and can also help to release tension in your hips.
With your feet tucked under you, fold your body over your thighs so that your forehead rests on the floor. Depending on what’s most comfortable to you, either keep your arms at your sides, or extend them in front of you to also stretch your shoulders.
Bonus: Upward Salute
While it looks simple, this pose will help you become aware of your pelvis and posture, helping you to avoid slouching throughout the day.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and draw your arms up with your palms facing together. Avoid locking your elbows.
As you hold the pose, fully concentrate on drawing in your ribs, abdominals, and pelvis. Visualizing a long spine from your tailbone through the crown of your head will help you to hold this pose properly.
Have you tried any of these poses? Tell us what you think!