Many people will experience a sensitive low back or pain in their low back at some point during their life. Unfortunately, low back pain can be chronic and decrease someone’s quality of life quite a bit. Often low back pain stems from tight hips, tight hamstrings, and a weak core.
Yoga can offer relief from low back pain as well as provide great preventative care for the future. This is because yoga postures stretch the hips, glutes, and hamstrings and allow our spines to move in all different directions increasing mobility and flexibility.
Below are 5 Yoga Poses for a Healthy Low Back. You can do these postures individually or together depending on how much time you have.
Note: if you experience pain while doing any of the postures, skip that posture or make adjustments in order for you to be pain-free.
Bridge pose helps to strengthen your low back and glutes as well as create gentle movement in your spine. Place your feet hip-width distance apart and place your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Bring your heels in close to your glutes, fingertips reaching for your heels.
As you inhale, press through your heels and lift your glutes, hips, low back, and mid-back creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the pose and engage your inner thighs by feeling as though you are drawing them together. As you exhale allow your body to come back down onto your mat vertebrae by vertebrae.
You can pause at the top of the pose for a few breaths or link one breath to one movement. Move through the posture at a pace that is comfortable for you. Repeat 5-10 times.
Cat & Cow Pose
Cat and cow pose also creates movement in your spine improving mobility and flexibility. Come to all fours on your mat, stacking your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees. Inhale drop your belly and look up for cow pose and then exhale round your back and look towards your belly button for cat pose.
Move with one breath to one movement or pause in each position for a couple of breaths. Repeat as many times as you would like.
Figure Four Pose
Figure four pose or reverse pigeon pose helps to release tight hips and tight glutes while the entire length of your spine is supported. Most people find that this posture feels really good and they notice great benefit from it.
Start lying on your back with your knees bent, feet are on the mat hip-width distance apart. Then cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Now thread your right hand through your legs to meet your left interlacing your fingers creating a basket grip behind your left thigh drawing your left leg toward your body lifting your left foot off of the floor.
Flex both feet to protect your knees and as you draw your left leg towards your chest, draw your right knee away from the body creating an opening through your right glute and your right hip.
Draw your tailbone into the mat to support your lower back and allow your chin to come towards your chest to create length through the back of your neck.
If you can’t for any reason create a basket grip behind your left leg, you can use a yoga strap to draw the left leg in.
Hold for 1-3 minutes and then repeat on the other side.
Twists have multiple benefits including rotation of the spine and supporting our digestion. Laying on your back for a spinal twist allows you to relax and let gravity help you.
To begin, lay on your back with your knees bent, soles of the feet on your mat. Bring your knees towards your chest lifting your feet off of the mat and send your arms straight out from your shoulders. Then allow both knees to drop to one side of the body moving into your twist. Flip your palms up, your gaze can be up or over your opposite fingertips to deepen the twist.
The closer your knees are to your chest the more intense the twist will be. You can also decrease the intensity by putting support under your knees, a blanket or yoga bolster could be helpful.
Hold for 1-5 minutes and then repeat on the other side.
Sphinx pose moves our spine into extension and helps to strengthen the muscles along the spine. It also helps to lengthen our hip flexors. Most of our days are spent with our spine in forward flexion and our hip flexor muscles in a shortened position potentially causing lower back pain.
Come to lie face down on your mat and then place your elbows underneath your shoulders and your wrist straight out from your elbows. Fingertips are reaching towards the top of your mat and your fingers are spread wide. Your gaze is between your hands.
Rock your hips gently side to side to release any tension in your glutes and hips. It is our body’s tendency to tighten the glutes in this position.
Hold for 1-3 minutes.
The key with these Yoga Poses for a Healthy Low Back is flexibility and mobility in the spine as well as a strong core and releasing tightness in glutes, hips, and hamstrings.
Looking for more yoga poses and movements? Check out our full Yoga Page.