Tip Tuesday: 5 Poses for Easing Back Pain

Tip Tuesday is a weekly feature where I offer a few yoga tips that have worked for me in the hopes that they can help you too.

Baby got back (pain)?

You are hardly alone. Here’s a 5-pose sequence to help get you back on your game.

1) Breath work: Standing Uddiyana, 3 rounds
Feet hip-width distance apart, hands braced on mid-thighs, straightening arms
Exhale all air out, while still empty of air, pull belly in & up.
When you need to breathe, release belly, then inhale.
Work up to holding for 10 count

Image credit: Yoga Journal

 

2) Seated side bend w/ neck release
Sit in cross-legged position. Bring right hand about 12 inches from right hip. Inhale, reach left arm up
Exhale, side bend towards right.
Keep length in both sides of waist and expand your breath out into the rib cage. Repeat on the left side.

 

Neck release: Inhale, reach left arm out a foot from floor near left side of hip feel for stretching through side of neck and out through fingertips.
Exhale, relax the neck
Gently release torso to center, use hand to pick head up. Repeat other side.

Image credit: Ann Hyde Yoga

 

3) Abs with a block (or roll)*
Take your block the medium-width way (you may also use a mat that has been folded into thirds and then rolled up) and bring it all the way up between the thighs. Bring legs straight up over hips. If you need to down-level, bring the legs to 90 degrees or work with feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Clasp hands behind the head, elbows in.
Inhale, spread breath into low back.
Hold the breath, curl tailbone up, squeeze block or roll.
Exhale, lift both elbows straight up towards ceiling
Inhale, lay head and shoulders down on mat
Work up to 3-6 rounds

Image credit: Marisha Doan
Only take the thumbs-up variation like Marisha if you really love abs

 

4) Cobra with or without a block
Lay down on the belly. Brings hands 6-12 inches in front of shoulders.
Inhale, press through hands and feet and pull chest forward. Elbows are a couple of inches off the floor.
Exhale, tuck tailbone down towards heels,
With block between ankles:
Place block the long way so it is parallel to the mat. Squeeze onto the block with the inner ankles and big toe side of the feet.
Inhale, press down through hands and feet to pull chest forward
Exhale, squeeze block with ankles and tuck tailbone

Image credit: musasana

 

5) Threading the needle/back release pose
Lie on back with knees bent, hug knees in towards chest. Hook left ankle across the right knee, creating a little triangle (eye of the needle) with left ankle across the right thigh.
Inhale, thread the left arm through the eye of the needle, bringing hands on top of right knee or back of right thigh
Exhale, draw right knee in towards chest
Repeat on the other side.

Image credit: Rory Earnshaw

 

*No block or extra mat to roll? No problem, use two towels and roll them up in the same manner.