Yoga For Back Pain

Our lives spent sitting in hard office chairs slouched over desks can wreak havoc on our bodies. One of the most common complaints amongst working adults is back pain. What starts off as mild discomfort can turn debilitating when left untreated. But before you rush to the pharmacy in search of pain pills, try these yoga poses that stretch the spine, release tension, and lessen the strain that makes your back feel more like a battleground. As a bonus, yoga can improve posture, which will help you avoid further strain. Just remember that if your back pain is severe, always consult a doctor before trying a new exercise regime. Once you’ve been given the OK, try these seven pain relieving poses: 

1. Childs Pose

Staring in Tabletop (hands under shoulders, knees resting on the ground, back straight), slowly draw your hips back towards your feet, keeping your arms stretched out in front. Keep going until your whole torso is resting on your thighs and your forehead is on your mat. You can either leave your arms in front of you or bring them to your sides. It is a simple resting pose that gently stretches the upper and lower back. 

2. Cat/Cow

Start once again in Tabletop. Drop your belly towards the ground, lift your head and chin, and bring a nice u-curve to your back. It is a Cow pose. Next, pull your belly in, curve your spine up, and drop your head down. You should resemble a cat with an arched back, hence the name. Repeat this as many as 20 times, inhaling into Cow and exhaling into Cat.

3. Downward Facing Dog

Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders aligned over your wrists and hips over knees. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across your hands. Tuck your toes under and lift up and back, reaching your pelvis towards the ceiling. Touch your heels to the floor if you can, but if not, stay on your toes. Your body should resemble an “a” shape. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders.

4. Upward Facing Dog

Lie face-down on your mat with your legs a few inches apart and your hands beside your ribs. Keeping the tops of your toes flat on the mat (not curling them under) and press up with your hands, bringing your torso, hips, and upper thighs off the mat. Make sure your shoulders are not up by your ears – if they are, you can remedy this by lifting your chest higher and pushing from your hands, not resting your weight on your wrists. 

5. Triangle

Step your feet 4-5 feet apart, turning your right foot 90 degrees, so your toes point to the front of your mat. Your left foot should be at a 45-degree angle. Keep your hips facing forward and both legs straight. Raise your arms to shoulder height, then reach your right arm forward, bend at the hip, and draw your right arm down to your right shin, keeping the left arm straight up pointing to the ceiling. Do the same on the left side.

6. Supine Spinal Twist

Lie on your back with your knees drawn into your chest. Slowly drop your knees to one side of your body, keeping your upper back on the mat as much as possible. After resting here for a minute, bring your knees back to your chest then drop to the other side. 

7. Thread The Needle

From Tabletop, inhale and reach your right arm up to the ceiling, then exhale and bring that arm down, sliding it under your left arm. Keep your palm up and reach until you can set your shoulder onto your mat. Rest your cheek lightly on the mat, putting your weight on your left arm and keeping the hips up. Switch sides and repeat. 

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