Got a stiff back? Want to relieve pain and tightness while strengthening and stretching your back muscles into the bargain? Here are a combination of really helpful yoga-inspired movements to help relax the situation. Read on for 5 Top Yoga Stretches for Back Pain Relief!
1. Upward and Downward Facing Dog
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
One of the easier of the back-bending poses, usually incorporated in the ‘Sun Salutation’ pose.
Note: A slouched or sunken in approach can be seen when the head seems to disappear into the neck, so remember to press down through your hands and lift through the top of the head, lengthening the neck.
Benefits: This stretches your abdominal muscles, whilst engaging your back and strengthening the spine. It also improves posture, by stretching the anterior and posterior spine, strengthens the shoulders, and can help relieve sciatica pain.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A popular and widely recognized yoga pose, Downward facing dog, is named after the way dogs naturally stretch their bodies. This is also incorporated into sun salutations. Used as a transitional pose, a resting pose, and a strength-builder.
Note: Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Focus on maintaining the length of your spine.
Benefits: Builds strength, in your arms, shoulders and legs. Stretches the whole body, including the hamstrings, shoulders, calves, feet, hands, and spine.
2. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
The name ‘bow pose’ is a movement which basically reflects the shape of a bow. This can be an extension of, or follow on of upward facing dog.
Note: Beginners can find it difficult to lift their thighs away from the floor. You can lie with your thighs supported, or on a block. Or, you can advance this move by performing the pose with your thighs, calves, and inner sides of feet touching.
Benefits: Strengthens the back muscles and improves posture. Stretches the entire front of the body, thigh, chest, and deep hip flexors (psoas).
3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
The ‘Camel Pose’ is an intermediate-level back-bending pose.
Note: Beginners aren’t always able to touch their hands to their feet so turn your toes under and lift your heels, or rest the hand on a block. Or, you can advance this move by performing the pose with your thighs, calves, and inner feet touching.
Benefits: Strengthens back muscles and improves posture. It also stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs, groin, the deep hip flexors (psoas) abdomen, chest and throat.
4. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana) linking to Cow pose (Bitilasana)
This is a great move, for an achy, sore back and is an easy one to warm up the spine with.
Note: For correct posture, broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders down, away from your ears.
Benefits: Loosens the back, gently massages the spine and belly organs, whilst stretching the front torso and neck.
5. Seated Spinal Twist (Bharadvaja’s Twist)
These seated yoga poses are good for relieving your lower back pain and aligning your spine.
Note: Try not to close the space between the shoulders, when you are trying to twist around.
Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips. Relieves lower backache, neck pain and can help sciatica.
Remember to take these exercises slow and only choose to do the ones which feel right for you. Hopefully you don’t have a pain in the neck, (because they can literally be a pain…in the neck!) but if you do, this article featuring Top 5 Neck Stretches should help. We’ve also reviewed a therapeutic spine product called Backrack which might be useful. Meantime, let us know which movements work best for you below or @KeepFitKingdom !