I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween! My husband and I dressed up as a banana and a strawberry. It was quite a hit. 🙂 What’d you guys dress up as? I’m personally super excited for November. It’s finally cooling off down here in Texas and Thanksgiving is just around the corner (my personal favorite holiday!).
Today I’m going to be outlining some asanas that can help with back pain. I’m writing this one specifically for my Dad (Hi, Dad!!), who works hard and is a great role model of self care. My Dad has always eaten healthy and had a regular exercise routine. He asked me a few weeks ago what some good poses were to help him with his back pain, and he’s been doing them and reporting that his back feels a lot better! I hope you can incorporate some of these poses in to your yoga routine for a healthy, happy back!
I typically focus on my back in my yoga practice when I feel a lot of stress. Personally, my back and shoulders is where I physically hold my worries. Doing these poses daily can really improve our physical well being. However, I would guess that even practicing some of these poses once would lead to some kind of instant relief.
Focusing on maintaining health in our spine is important. Our society revolves around one central thing – a lot of sitting. Driving, working, socializing – it’s mostly done while in a seated position. Our skeleton was not designed for us to sit as much as we do in our modern society. I’m not saying stop sitting; I’m emphasizing how important it is for us to move. Whether that movement is through yoga or walking or sports, it helps our bodies stay in tip top shape. These poses can help counter effect all the sitting we do on a daily basis.
This list is definitely not an exhaustive one – check out the listed sources at the end of this post for more poses you can try for your back pain. Next week, I’ll be posting a video of a sequence for back pain, using most of these poses listed and more.
Asanas for Back Pain:
- Forward Fold (bend your knees here for extra support)
From a standing position, inhale and raise your arms above your head. On your exhale, lower your body over your legs. Touch the ground/your toes if possible. Other options are to grab your elbows. Let your head hang and be loose. You should be able to nod your head yes and no.
- Cat/Cow (probably one of my all time favorites)
On the inhale, raise your gaze to the ceiling while slowly rounding your back/belly down. Then, on your exhale, gradually lower your head down while rounding your back/belly up. Repeat as much as needed while following your breath.
- Cobra and/or Upward Facing Dog (be careful not to go to far on this one – if you feel a pinching in your back, go lower in the pose.)
- Half Lord of the Fishes
Start in a seated position with your legs outstretched. Cross one leg over the other, getting your foot on the other side of your thigh. Inhale, twist your torso, bringing your opposite arm to the outer edges of your thigh. Exhale and twist the other arm to behind your back. Breathe in to the twist. If you can, turn your gaze behind your back.
- Supine Spinal Twist (use a block or blanket for knee support if it does not touch all the way to the floor)
From a lying position on your back, have your legs stretched out. Flex the feet. Bring one leg in to your chest and squeeze it. On the inhale, shift your hips to the side (if your right leg up, shift hips to the right. If left leg up, shift hips to the left.) On your exhale, lower your lifted leg over the other leg for a twist. Keep your opposite arm on the bent leg and lower the other arm to the side. Shift your gaze over the extended arm if possible to deepen the twist.
- Happy Baby
Lying on your back, squeeze your legs in to your chest. Raise your legs, knees still bent, until your hands grab the balls of your feet from the inside. Roll side to side if desired. This should feel great on your back and in your hips.
- Supported Bridge*
On your back, have your feet on the mat as close to your bottom as possible. When ready, lift your back. Grab a block or a blanket or pillow to place under your tailbone for support. If no supports wanted, roll your shoulders underneath your back.
- Supported Legs Up On the Wall*
- Supported Child’s Pose*
Starting in all fours, spread your knees out wide and bring your feet together. Take a bolster, blanket, block, or pillow in between your legs. Spread out your arms in front of you as you ease back in to child’s pose.
- Thread the Needle
From all fours, get ready to move to child’s pose. Inhale, lift one arm up over your head. As you exhale, swing it under the other side of your body (through your arm and knee). Lower your head, resting your face on the side facing your arms.
*Can also be done without the supports. Supports help with relaxation and ease in the poses. If using supports, focus on breathing in to your back to alleviate the pain.
Happy OM’ing and Namaste. ❤
What poses do you like to practice to help with back pain?
Abbate, E. (2014). 5 yoga poses to soothe back pain. Retrieved from http://www.rodalewellness.com/fitness/5-yoga-poses-soothe-back-pain?slide=6
Flavio, A. (n.d.). 12 yoga poses for back pain – strengthen and heal your lower back. Retrieved from http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/12-yoga-poses-for-back-pain/
Regan, E. (2015). Yoga for back pain. Retrieved from http://yogatime.tv/blog/yoga-for-back-pain/