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Yoga poses for back pain

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While so many of us spend a large chunk of our waking hours sitting down – whether it’s at our desks in front of the computer, or simply sitting at home on the sofa with a film –  we may not realise that all this time spent stationary could actually be doing damage to our backs.1

Holding our bodies in the same position for too long is a common cause of back pain.2 Luckily, one of the best ways to help ease back pain is also the simplest: get moving. Regular movement helps with weight management, which in turn helps with pain relief – which is something we’re fully in support of!

Regular gentle exercise can go a long way to helping to relieve upper and lower back pain – and one of the most effective forms of this is yoga.3

Learn more about the benefits of yoga, and discover some basic yoga poses for back pain that you can do at home.

Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

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What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise made up of a series of movements and postures, as well as breathing and meditation techniques.4,5

Yoga is mainly used to help increase strength, flexibility and balance, but there are many other ways that it can benefit our physical health – particularly if you suffer from back pain.6

Yoga can also benefit mental health, with many breathing techniques practiced for relaxation and calming that can be employed inside and outside the yoga studio! Learning some of these methods can also help with pain relief, as it relaxes the body and reduces stress levels which can exacerbate pain.7

One of the best things about yoga is that it is extremely accessible. Yoga is suitable for people of all age groups and fitness levels, so you can take it up at any time of life.

But with so many different yoga poses, types and techniques available, it can be difficult to know which are best suited to easing your back pain. We’ve compiled a short list of simple, common yoga poses for back pain below, to help you get started in the comfort of your own home.

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Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that originated in India around 5,000 years ago. There are now more than 100 different types of yoga practised around the world.6

What are the best yoga poses for back pain?

Woman in yoga child pose

Balasana (aka Child’s Pose)

Possibly the easiest posture in yoga besides Savasana (corpse pose), the child’s pose is a gentle yoga pose that can help stretch your lower back and ease lower back pain.8

  1. Starting on your hands and knees, sit back and bring your hips toward your heels.
  2. Then, stretch your arms out in front of you and place your palms on the floor.*
  3. Relax your forehead to the ground* and pause for some big, deep breaths (pictured: left).

*If you cannot bend or reach all the way down to complete this pose as pictured, don’t worry. Do not push your body any further than it can naturally stretch.

Chakravakasana (aka Cat Cow Pose)

The ‘cat cow’ yoga pose helps to target lower back pain by gently massaging your spine and stretching the back area.9

Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-distance apart and your knees hip-distance apart.

Slowly inhale and look upwards towards the sky, slightly arching your back as you do so.

Then, as you slowly exhale, look back down towards the floor while drawing your belly button towards your spine, arching your back (pictured: right).

Repeat this process 5 – 10 times during your practice (or as many as you feel able to), continuing to match the movements to your inhales and exhales.7

Man doing yoga cat cow pose
Woman doing yoga cobra pose

Bhujangasana (aka Cobra Pose)

Another yoga pose to help stretch the back is the cobra pose, which is also very simple.10

  1. Start by lying on the floor, on your front. 
  2. Stretch your legs back and keep the tops of your feet facing the floor. 
  3. Press the tops of your feet, thighs and pelvic bone into the floor. 
  4. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, hugging your elbows into your sides. 
  5. Inhale and straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor, keeping your pelvic bone in contact with the floor (pictured: left). 
  6. Hold for 15-30 seconds, taking some deep breaths. Release back to the floor as you exhale. 

Don’t force your back to bend more than you find comfortable – this should be a gentle stretch and should not pinch the lower back.

Uttanasana (aka Standing Forward Bend)

This is a simple standing yoga pose for back pain, which helps to release muscles in the lower back.10

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Inhale deeply and bring your arms out to your sides and up above your head in one smooth motion.
  3. Exhale and gently bend at the waist, lowering your arms back down to your sides and then down to the ground.*
  4. Let your head hang and breathe deeply as you hold this position for a few seconds (pictured: right).
  5. To come up, bend your knees slightly and slowly roll yourself back up to a straight standing position. Repeat 3-5 times.

*If you cannot bend or reach all the way down to complete this pose as pictured, don’t worry. Do not push your body any further than it can naturally stretch.

Woman doing yoga standing forward bend pose

It’s important to note that if your back pain does not improve within a few weeks, is severe or limiting your day-to-day movement, then gentle exercise (including yoga) may not be suitable. Speak to your doctor so that they can advise the best course of action for you. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist or physiotherapist who may recommend specific activities or yoga poses to avoid, depending on the severity of your back pain.11


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Knee pain, elbow pain, back pain, neck pain. Pain relief is not one-size-fits-all. Whatever kind of body pain you’re experiencing - Iodex has got you covered. Learn all about the causes, symptoms, and pain treatments for the type of pain you’re experiencing so you can get back to doing those little things that bring you joy.

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