6 Yoga Poses to Soothe Your Aching Back
What if I told you there was a simple way to relieve the aches and pains in your back, that also had the ability to...
Decrease your stress...
Calm your anxiety...
Protect your heart from disease...
Promote restful sleep...
And so much more…
If you’re trying to live a more natural or holistic lifestyle, grabbing a bottle of pills to stop your pain probably isn’t on your list of ways to feel better.
The good news is that you have other options that are in line with a natural lifestyle.
Several scientific studies support the claims that yoga can greatly increase your health in many different ways… one of which is reducing chronic pain in your back.
Yoga doesn’t always have to mean standing on your head, or twisting your body up like a pretzel. There are simple yet effective poses that anyone can do to help their back pain diminish.
Why Yoga Can Help Soothe Your Back Pain…
Choosing yoga to alleviate your back pain is doubly beneficial because the physical part of the practice can help release tension in your muscles, while the mindfulness aspect will decrease your levels of stress and anxiety that often make pain worse.
One study even found that yoga can alter your brain tissue to help you better tolerate pain.
Going to a yoga studio if you’ve never done yoga can be a bit intimidating… That’s why I’ve put together a list of six yoga poses that you can do at home. Plus, there’s a bonus pose I’ve included to help you integrate all the stretching you’ve done.
I’ll lead you through each pose, step-by-step, so that you can…
- Relieve tension in your back muscles
- Soothe the pain of an aching back
- Relax both the mind and body for a complete sense of calm
- Strengthen your mind to fight off depression, anxiety, and stress
Try them all out, but remember that not everyone’s body is put together the same way… so not all poses will work in your body, just like not all poses work in mine.
If you’re looking for a more personalized approach to healing your body, I invite you to try my Full Body Healing Session. These guided audios are like having your own “personal Reiki Master" walking you through a self-healing session.
To begin, we’ll look at a pose that you may have seen or done before…
Bridge Pose in a yoga context is very different from the glute bridges that you may have heard about (or done) in a more traditional gym setting.
The key difference to a yoga Bridge is that you are not actively squeezing your butt muscles. While they will engage, they shouldn’t be doing all the work.
Spreading the effort between your thighs, core, back, and glutes makes this a well-rounded pose that works to relieve pain in your back while stretching through the spine.
As a bonus, Bridge Pose will also stimulate your stomach organs to help improve your digestion. It can also help you find relief from headaches, anxiety, and insomnia.
How to practice Bridge Pose:
- Lie on your back with your knees pointing toward the sky and your arms reaching alongside your body.
- Your feet should be close to your bottom and firmly planted in line with your hip bones. To check this, you should be able to fit your fist between your knees.
- With an inhale, press your feet and your arms into the earth as you lift your hips up, while keeping your shoulder blades connected to the ground.
- Press your knees forward and your heart toward the sky.
- Put a gentle squeeze in your inner thighs to activate these muscles (you’re gently hugging your legs together but they won’t touch).
- Stay lifted for a few breaths, then slowly lower your hips back to the earth as you exhale.
This pose can also be practiced as a more restful and restorative shape. You can grab any kind of prop, such as a block, a bolster, or a pillow, and place it on the triangular-shaped bone at the back of your pelvis to support the lift of your hips.
Once you finish Bridge Pose, stay on your back…
Reclined Hand to Foot Pose
This pose works several different muscles in your lower body that can all contribute to, or even worsen, your back pain. Practicing this pose will provide a stretch through your hamstrings, calves, hips, and groin.
It’s important to remember to stretch these muscles in addition to working on the ones in your back because everything in your body works together. So if one is too tight or not strong enough, your body may be overcompensating in another area creating pain.
While the name may sound a bit intimidating, you don’t actually have to be able to reach your hand to your foot. This pose can be modified to suit the needs of those of us who suffer from aches and pains in our backs. All you need is a space where you’re able to rest one leg up against a wall while the other leg points through a doorway.
How to practice Reclined Hand to Foot Pose:
- Lie on your back with your right leg stretched out long on the floor and your left heel stretched up to the sky. Try to make your left leg as straight as you can.
- Here is where the modifications can be helpful. You can find a doorway that will allow your right leg to be long while propping your left leg straight up, or you can grab a strap or belt to loop around the left foot.
- You’ll feel sensation in the back of your lifted leg, but you can always put a bend in the raised knee to decrease the intensity of the stretch.
- Stay in the shape for a few rounds of breath, then gently lower your leg back to the earth.
- Repeat on the other side.
This pose gets into many different muscles, including the hips, but this next pose is specifically targeted to this area of your body…
Reclined Figure Four Pose
Also sometimes called Reclined Eye of the Needle Pose, this pose is an effective way to stretch your outer hips. These muscles can often be the cause of sciatic nerve pain, which can radiate down your legs and into your back.
There are several variations of this pose, so choose the one that works for your body. Depending on how open your hips are, one of the options might feel better to you than another.
How to practice Reclined Figure Four Pose:
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees pointing up at the sky.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
- From here you have several options:
- Stay just as you are.
- Gently press the right knee away from your body.
- Plant your left foot on a wall to help encourage your legs to come closer to your body.
- Grab behind your left knee and draw your legs closer to your body.
- Hold the pose for 4-6 rounds of breath, then bring your left foot back to the earth if it’s lifted and uncross your legs.
- Repeat on the other side.
Stretching through both the hips and the hamstrings will allow you to release tension and feel your chronic pain start to wash away…
However, if you have more severe pain, yoga may not work for your body. Instead try my Full Body Healing Session. It’s a proven system for healing that you can start using right away, even if you have no experience with Reiki.
Click here to learn the easy way to heal everything from your head to your toes.
This next shape may be one of the most well-known poses, but if you haven’t heard of it, I’m about to tell you exactly how to do it…
This posture is often thought of as a resting pose. It helps to elongate and stretch your spine so that your muscles can release any tension being held and come into a more relaxed state.
Child’s Pose also creates a safe space that encourages your nervous system to calm down thus reducing your stress.
How to practice Child’s Pose:
- From kneeling, bring your big toes together behind you and open your knees wide.
- Rest your bottom on your heels and allow your torso to drape over your thighs.
- If your bottom doesn’t reach your heels, you can put a prop like a bolster or blanket between them so that the shape feels more supported.
- Allow your forehead to rest on the earth and stretch the arms forward.
- If your forehead doesn’t reach the ground, you can find a prop to place under your head that will let the neck muscles relax.
- As you inhale, feel the breath move into the back body as it lifts and spreads the shoulder blades.
- Stay in this resting shape for as long as you like.
It also might feel good to rock your head from side to side to give your forehead a gentle massage.
After you’ve enjoyed the benefits of this simple pose, you’ll move to your hands and knees.
Cat & Cow Pose
If you don’t have time to squeeze a massage into your schedule, this yoga pose is the next best thing.
The gentle undulation of the spine between flexion and extension (arching and rounding) provides a mini-massage to both your spine and the important organs in your belly.
These two poses help to stretch the entire length of your spine, while also loosening any tension that you might be holding in.
The gentle movement is also beneficial for people who sit all day.
How to practice Cat & Cow:
- Get on all fours, lining your shoulders on top of your wrists and your hips on top of your knees.
- With the breath in, let the belly drop toward the floor as you pull your heart forward. Stick your tailbone up to the sky. This creates an arch in your back for Cow Pose.
- With the breath out, press into your hands as you push the floor away and lift the back of your heart toward the sky. Pull your low belly in and up to tuck your tailbone. This rounds your back for Cat Pose.
- Flowing with the rhythm of your breath, move between these two poses for one or two minutes.
This next pose has a bit of an unusual name, but it makes you feel so good!
Half Lord of the Fish Pose
Half Lord of the Fish is an effective pose that helps you to energize your spine while also stimulating your digestive organs.
The position of the legs in the twist makes it even more effective for treating back pain because it allows you to stretch your outer hips and can also help relieve pain in the sciatic nerve.
Practicing this pose can also help you improve your posture.
How to practice Half Lord of the Fish Pose:
- From a seated position, draw your left heel into the right side of your seat with the left knee resting on the earth.
- Step your right foot outside of your left knee with the right knee point up toward the sky.
- Breathe in to grow an inch taller in your spine, and twist your belly button toward your right thigh as you breathe out.
- Place your right hand behind you on the floor for support, and hug your right knee with your left arm.
- Use your breath to continue lengthening the spine with each inhale, and inviting a bit more of a twist with each exhale.
- Hold this side for around 5 breaths, then turn your torso back to center and unwind your legs.
- Repeat on the other side.
After you’ve tried each of these six poses for soothing your back pain, it’s time to reward yourself with a bonus pose...
BONUS POSE: Savasana
No yoga practice is complete without the restful ease of Savasana or Corpse Pose.
This ending shape allows your body to relax and integrate the movement and stretching that you’ve just completed.
There are many different ways to modify this pose, but I’m going to share one that is especially soothing to the low back.
How to practice Savasana:
- Lie on your back and stretch your legs out long toward the corners of the yoga mat.
- Place a bolster or a pillow under your knees to invite your low back to release.
- Let your hands come down by your sides with your palms facing up.
- Close your eyes and ask all the muscles in your body to become soft, letting go of any gripping or holding.
- Allow your breath to flow freely and your mind to rest.
You can stay in Savasana as long as you’d like, but aim for at least 3 minutes. This relaxing posture is a tool that you can use whenever you want.
If you’re looking to heal more than just your back pain, then I invite you to try the Full Body Healing Session. With these guided audio trainings, you’ll discover how you can heal your entire body simply by using your hands.
Click here to discover more about how you can balance your Chakras and heal your whole body.