Yoga Poses for Back Pain + Strengthening
By: Jenn Moss
Our backs are an important powerhouse. Having a strong back allows us to support our neck and head, lift things, and helps us function. Because we utilize our back so much in our daily living, it can become easily irritated, and even worse, you can experience immense pain. Many exercises help with back problems, but one of the most helpful, and accessible, is yoga.
What is great about yoga is that it is able to be done almost anywhere. At the office, at home, outside, and so much more. Simply grab a mat, maybe a couple of blocks, and you are ready to go.
Here are a couple of poses you might want to incorporate:
1. Cat/Cow Position
Starting on all fours (on the floor) with your hands and knees in line, set up for your cat/cow pose. On the inhale drop your pelvis to the floor and lift your gaze to the ceiling, arching your back. This is your Cat Pose. On the exhale, contract your spine and round up to the ceiling, and tilt the head down to the floor. This is your Cow Pose. Alternate between the two positions, loosening up built-up back and neck tension.
2. Sphinx Pose
Imagine the mythical creature with the head of a human, a falcon, a cat, or a sheep and the body of a lion with the wings of an eagle. You are imitating this position. First, lay flat on your stomach, then bring your arms out in front of you, bending your elbows in towards the chest, and lift the top half of the body and your chest to the ceiling. This allows for an opening within the chest and strengthens the back.
3. Bridge Pose
This is a perfect way to access the upper back muscles, which can often be hard to focus on. With this pose, you can start by laying on your back. From there bend your knees with your feet still on the ground they are in line. Walk your heels in closer to your buttocks, and guide you towards the back of your heels. You are now set up in the right position. Lift your pelvis towards the ceiling, and squeeze the inner thighs together. And then slowly lower down one vertebra at a time. You will have a nice release of pressure, and almost a massage-like feeling when you go slowly.