Back pain can result from a number of activities in our day to day lifestyle. Whether you have an ache because of your desk job, woke up with a tight back or went overboard at the gym, yoga can help you relieve back pain. Multiple studies have shown the power of the ancient practice, which emphasizes stretch, strength and flexibility, to relieve back soreness. So give it a go with the following yoga poses.
1. Child’s pose (Balasana):
Kneel on the floor with knees hip-width apart, the top of your feet flat on the floor and sit back on your heels. With hands hip width apart, move forward and rest your forehead on the floor, relaxing your head and shoulders while extending your arms and fingertips.
2. Downward facing dog:
From child’s pose, keep your hands on the floor, sit up on your knees, and then press back into Downward Facing Dog pose. Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for 10 breaths.
3. Pigeon pose:
Start in downward-facing dog pose with your feet together. Then draw your left knee forward and turn it to the right so your leg is bent and near-perpendicular to your right one; lower both legs to the ground. You can simply keep your left leg extended straight behind you, or go on for an added hamstring stretch. Carefully pull your back foot off the ground and in toward your back. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, then switch to the other side, and repeat as needed.
4. Triangle pose (Trikosana):
From a standing position with the legs 3 feet apart, turn the right toes to the right wall and the left toes slightly inwards. Inhale and press the left hips out to the left as you slide both arms to right, parallel to the floor. Exhale and rotate only the arms, raising the left arm up and resting the right hand against the right leg, with the palms facing forward. Press into the feet; pull up the knee caps, keeping the legs strong. Reach the finger tips away from each other, bringing the arms into one straight line with the shoulders stacked on top of each other. Press the left hip forward and the right hip back. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. To release: inhale and reach the raised hand up towards the ceiling as you press down into the feet using the whole body to lift back into 5 pointed star. Repeat on the other side.
5. Cat and Cow (Marjarya-Bitilasana):
Starting in an all-fours position, move into cat pose by slowly pressing your spine up, arching your back. Hold for a few seconds and then move to cow by scooping your spine in, pressing your shoulder blades back and lifting your head. Moving back and forth from cat to cow helps move your spine onto a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension.Repeat 10 times, flowing smoothly from cat into cow, and back.
6. Upward-Forward Bend:
Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and your knees loose. While you exhale, hinge at your waist and bend forward, reaching toward the floor. If you can’t reach all the way to the floor at first; just stop wherever your hamstrings feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat the pose five to seven times. On the last bend hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths.
7. Spinal Twist (Windshield wipers):
Lying on your back, bring your arms out to the sides with the palms facing down in a T position. Bend both knees into the chest. Exhale; drop both knees over to the left side of your body, twisting the spine and low back. Slide the knees as close to the left arm as possible. Look at the right finger tips. Keep the shoulders flat to the floor, close the eyes, and relax into the posture. Let gravity pull the knees down, so you do not have to use any effort in this posture. Breathe and hold for 6-10 breaths.
To release: inhale and roll the hips back to the floor. Repeat on other side.
8. Seated Spinal Twist (ArdhaMatsyendrasana):
Sit down with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your left knee and pull your heel as close as you can to your right hip.Now bend your right knee and place your right foot to the left of your left knee.Plant your right palm on the floor a few inches away from your buttocks. Bend your left elbow and press it firmly against your outer right thigh, increasing the twist even further.Enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then repeat this pose on the left side.
9. Upward facing dog:
Start lying flat on the floor with your palms facedown by the middle of your ribs. While drawing your legs together and pressing the tops of your feet into the floor, use the strength of your back, not your hands, to lift your chest off the floor. Leave your legs extended straight out at first. Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths, and repeat as needed.
10. Bridge Pose (SetuBandhasarvangasana):
Lying on your back, bend both knees and place the feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Slide the arms alongside the body with the palms facing down. The fingertips should be lightly touching the heels. Press the feet into the floor, inhale and lift the hips up, rolling the spine off the floor. Press down into the arms and shoulders to lift the chest up. Engage the legs, buttocks to lift the hips higher. Inhale, hold, exhale and slowly roll the spine back to the floor.
Remember to regulate your breath while doing yoga. Do not hold your breath. And remember to have a healthy diet, drink enough water and get enough sleep everyday.
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