12 Best Yoga Poses to Reduce Back Pain

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // November 23, 2021

If you are experiencing back pain, adding a yoga practice into your day is essential to feel better! By incorporating these 12 best yoga poses you are sure to reduce your back pain as well as stress. Back pain affects all ages and sadly, 85 percent of the U.S. population suffers from back pain. It’s the second most common reason for seeing a doctor in the United States followed by coughs and other respiratory infections.

Back pain is the third most common reason for surgery and to make it worse, failed back surgery syndrome is seen in 10-40 percent of patients who undergo back surgery. Not only does the surgery not fix the original problem, but more issues result from surgeries than were present before surgery! Fewer than 5 percent of people with back pain actually make good candidates for surgery. According to a recent article in USA Today, “The U.S. health care system spends about as much each year on spine problems as it does on cancer.” With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that people are looking for alternative treatments for back pain. Before going under the knife, consider how a consistent yoga practice may reduce your back pain.


Enter your email & get this article sent to your inbox.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    The Power Of Yoga To Treat Back Pain

    Learn how poses like downward dog can help reduce back pain naturally.

    While severe back pain due to a recent injury should always be examined by a doctor, chronic and moderate-level back pain can often be assisted with the power of yoga. Yoga naturally helps strengthen and lengthen your spine, stretch your muscles, and fix your back’s alignment, which can often be at the root cause of persistent back pain for those of us who sit at a desk all day.

    In fact, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, chronic back pain sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis were half as likely to need pain pills or over-the-counter treatments for their pain as non-yogis. There are specific yoga poses that help to alleviate back pain more than others, and they have been outlined below. Do the following pain-relieving yoga sequence two to three times a week to start feeling back pain relief.

    12 Yoga Poses That Reduce Back Pain

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”jlbqHWO0″ upload-date=”2017-10-05T12:40:50.000Z” name=”7 Poses to loosen a tight back” description=”A tight lower back is a huge bummer, but we have a solution! These 7 yoga poses will help loosen up a tight back and leave you feeling energized, stretched out, and pain-free. These 7 easy moves can be done by anyone! Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, these help everyone.”]

    Start with some deep breathing exercises in and out of the nose called pranayama. Prana means life force or energy and Yama means extension. Just think of a slight lengthening as you inhale and a releasing as you exhale. You will want to continue this practice of breath awareness through each of the following poses for 3-5 rounds or more depending on the time you have available. So grab your yoga mat and let’s go!

    1. Child’s Pose

    Start on the hands and knees and sit hips back towards the heels. Bring the big toes together and keep the knees together to create support to round the back over the legs and get into the thoracic spine.

    The child’s pose lengthens and stretches the spine while relieving tension in the neck and shoulders. You can also try using a block under the forehead for more relief. You can come back here as often as needed.

    Yoga Cat/Cow

    2. Cat and Cow Pose

    From child’s pose, rise up to hands and knees. For Cow: Lift the chin up and drop the belly to the mat as you look up arching the tail bone upward, then round the spine upward dropping the tailbone down as you look back to the thighs, like a cat-back.

    Try this a couple of times slowly, wallowing in each pose to feel the stretch, then move with the breath for a few times: inhaling as you move into Cow Pose with the chin and tail bone up, exhale into Cat Pose.

    Movement with the breath is called vinyasa and this will create some synovial fluid along the spine which will lubricate the back, making it feel more supple.

    Cat Cow Yoga Pose
    Cat Cow Yoga Pose

    3. Downward Dog

    Come on to the balls of the feet and lift the hips up, then release the heels down toward the mat. This is another option to come back to in between poses.

    Downward dog lengthens and strengthens at the same time. It’s also a big stretch for the hamstrings which can be the root of back pain. Take some time here to pedal the feet, twist the hips, and rock side to side.

    Downward Dog Yoga Pose
    Down Dog

    4. Crescent Lunge On One Knee

    Crescent lunge helps open up the hips which can significantly impact the back. It’s a great pose for sciatica. Step right foot forward between the hands. Aim to place the foot right below the knee so the shin is vertical. You can keep your hands on the mat for balance or reach the arms up over your head to lengthen the spine and open the chest.

    Add a twist: lift your right hand up, with the left hand by the right foot, and rotate the chest into the thigh or upwards. Twists are great for improving spinal range of motion. Repeat on the left side and come back child pose or down dog.

    Kneeling Lunge Right Yoga Pose

    5. Warrior 1

    Bring the right foot between the hands and bend the right knee, release the back foot down to the mat and lift the body and arms up. Think of bringing the back hip forward so that the hips are aligned.

    This creates some twists in the low back. Warrior 1 is an energizing pose that creates stability and improves balance. Having better posture can significantly impact and alleviate back pain.

    Warrior One Yoga Pose
    Warrior One

    6. Triangle

    Straighten the right leg and reach the right hand forward and down to the right leg. You can make contact above the knee, on the shin, foot, floor, or use a block and place the hand on the block near the front foot. Left-arm is up and the chest is open to the side.

    Triangle pose gets into the spinal nerves and strengthens the lower back.

    Triangle Yoga Pose

    7. Revolved Triangle

    Legs stay the same, switch the arms so the left hand is down toward the right leg and the right arm is reaching up.

    Revolved triangle is another pose that improves balance with the help of the internal and external obliques. This pose activates the spine! Repeat on left side

    Twist Triangle Yoga Pose

    8. Locust Pose

    Lie face down on your belly and lift the chest and legs up off the mat. You can take arms by your side, reaching fingers behind you. This is complete activation of the entire back of the body.

    Locust pose will strengthen and elongate all the muscles along the spine.

    Locust Yoga Pose

    9. One Leg Forward Fold

    Seated, extend the left leg out in front of you and bend the right knee, letting it fall open to the side like a half butterfly. Reach forward and fold softly over the legs. Switch sides after three breaths. This pose will get into the hip and psoas which when inflamed can significantly stress the back. Try not to force this, but just relax in the pose for optimal release in the spine.

    One Leg Forward Pose

    10. Knees To Chest

    Lie down on your back and hug your knees up into your chest. This has the same effects as child’s pose without the impact on the knees. It rounds and releases. You can gently rock right to left for a gentle massage on the spine.

    Knees to Chest Yoga Pose

    11. Twist

    Keep the knees bent and drop them to the right as you turn your head to the left. Switch sides after three to five breaths. Twists relieve pressure in the low back and encourage a spinal range of motion.

    Twist Yoga Pose

    12. Supported Corpse Pose

    Place a pillow or blanket under the knees and lie down with arms by side. This final pose, or savasana, allows the body to absorb the practice.

    Always try to take a few breaths in stillness to let the breath practice be the focus to relax the mind.

    Supported Corpse Pose

    If you’re short on time and want a quick and effective yoga flow to relieve your back pain, try this 4-minute flow below. You can do it in the morning before you start your day, or at night to unwind, stretch out your back, and relax.

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”FXpVR4Dl” upload-date=”2021-11-24T18:58:03.000Z” name=”The BEST 4-Minute Yoga Flow For Back Pain” description=”Try these gentle yoga poses when back pain strikes or to prevent back pain from occurring. Yoga can be SO helpful for people who suffer from a back injury, tight back muscles, or even people who sit in an uncomfortable desk chair all day long!” player-type=”static”]

    Yoga is known to relieve many stresses in the body and mind. When practiced regularly, you can become more in tune with how the body responds to certain activities and move mindfully. It’s great for improved flexibility and range of motion, but also for injury prevention. There are restorative yoga classes and workshops designed specifically for back pain.

    READ THIS NEXT: 5 Best Exercises to Beat Back Pain

    Fitness, Pain + Recovery, Training Advice, Yoga + Stretching Workouts

    Printed from GetHealthyU.com


    on Reply

    Wow! This is really helpful. Thanks for the tips!

    on Reply

    cat cow and knee to chest are the best pose for my lower back pain, its getting better in minutes.. hope i am doing this right,, by the way, thanks a lor for this amazing list of yoga poses...

    on Reply

    I have a desk job where I seat for 6 to 7 hours a day and because of this, I am suffering from back pain. The yoga poses you have mentioned in the list looks interesting and easy to do. I hope doing these poses will give me some relief from my back pain. Thanks for the list of yoga poses.

    on Reply

    The Warrior 1 and sometimes Revolved Triangle work for me. Thanks for these 12 poses, this list of poses will help me a lot.

    on Reply

    Can you suggest a modification for downward dog? I'm 63, and the pose feels really good except for the pain in my thumbs. I give up after a few seconds. Any ideas

      on Reply

      Hi Jeanne - totally get it. You could try bending your knees a bit and lifting your heels off the floor to relieve the pressure or you could also try to place your forearms on the ground rather than just your hands. Hope that helps!

    on Reply

    I find Qi Gong, which involves both physical and breathing exercises, effective to relieve back pain. I have lower back pain.

    on Reply

    Knees to chest is my go to pose when my back is stiff and aching. But like Emily said there are other great methods out there to reduce your back pain.

    on Reply

    While all these are helpful, take into consideration as well your sitting position as well as the seats you are sitting on regularly. From car seats esp. if you are driving long hours, for those working in front of the computer for a longer hours, use something that will help with this pain and posture in general.

    on Reply

    Me gustaría tratar algo diferentes* Mealludas?

    on Reply

    These are awesome!

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
    Skip to content