And Breathe: The 7 Yoga Poses That Will Relieve Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is something that most of us have had to deal with at some point. Whether you're a long-time sufferer or only get the occasional muscle twitch, research has shown that by practicing yoga you can relieve pain and improve function. We've compiled the seven best yoga poses to strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility—taking the pressure off your overworked lower back. So, grab your yoga mats and get to stretching!
Starting with a classic yoga pose, downward-facing dog helps to strengthen your abdominals which in turn, support your lower back. Begin with your hands and knees on the ground, then push your knees away from the floor and lift your tailbone upwards.
Child's pose is a great all-round yoga movement. Not only does it gently elongate the muscles in your back, but it also encourages deep, conscious breathing that can be helpful to soothe stressful thoughts as well. While on all fours, stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your head facing down. Sit back on your ankles, and you'll be able to feel your muscles stretching as you inhale and exhale.
This exercise is one that can easily be done at the office or anywhere lacking in floor space. Triangle pose relieves lower back pain by lengthening the muscles on the sides of your torso. Start by standing straight ahead, then slowly spread your feet apart and point your left foot at a forty-five-degree angle. Use your right arm to reach to the floor, while you keep your left arm straight to the ceiling. Hold for five to ten breaths, then change sides.
Upward-facing dog is a go-to pose for yogis to relieve lower back pain. It helps to strengthen both your spine and abdominal muscles which helps to develop a strong torso. Try it by laying flat on the floor with your palms in front of you. Push the tops of your feet into the floor as you lift your chest and raise your head upwards.
Cat and Cow Pose
This simple backbend movement is extremely effective in stretching out your spine, while also engaging your shoulders, neck, and torso. To do this pose, get on your hands and knees and while inhaling, lift your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling. While you exhale, arch your back and drop your head. Continue this pose to the rhythm of your breathing.
Your abdominal muscles play a huge part in lower back pain. By strengthening them, you're effectively relieving your back from excess stress. Bridge pose is a simple and effective way to do this. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your arms resting beside your body. Then, lift your tailbone up until your thighs are parallel with the floor and feet firmly on the ground. Interlock your hands underneath your body and hold for up to a minute.
By sitting at a desk for the majority of the day, lower backs can become flat (and painful). The sphinx pose is a way to promote the natural curvature of the lower back to relieve aches and pains. Simply lay on your stomach with your legs hip-width apart. Bring your elbows underneath your shoulders with your palms face down in front of you. Hold the pose for a couple of minutes and breathe deeply throughout.