Your back is designed to support and stabilise your every movement. When your back is aching, not only does it feel awful, but it can adversely impact your mental well-being. However, yoga is an excellent cure to give you the required relief from back pain. Here are five yoga poses to help relax your tight muscles, strengthen your weak muscles and ease your back pain.
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana)
This is a great warm-up pose to stretch your chest, back and hips together.
- Start with your hands and knees in a tabletop position, making sure your knees are directly below your hips.
- Ensure that your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor.
- Centre your head in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor.
- As you inhale, lift your chest towards the ceiling. Lift your head to look straightforward.
- When you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
- Repeat 10-20 times for the best effects.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is one of the most common poses in yoga that offers lengthening and strength to your muscle. It also helps loosen up your back, hamstrings, shoulders and more.
- Start in a tabletop position. Curl your toes under, press into your shoulders and lift your hips up and back.
- Press down firmly with your palm to pull your forearms in the front.
- Roll your inner upper arms toward the wall in front while engaging your outer upper arms.
- Engaging your shoulders, allow your shoulder blades to spin out and up. Do this way from your spine and towards your outer armpits.
- You need to make a straight line from your wrists to your shoulders and hips. You need not worry about straightening your legs.
- Make sure your feet are hip-width apart and parallel.
- Let your head hang freely and gaze towards your feet. Hold for a couple of breaths and then release back to the tabletop position.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This yoga pose helps stretching and releasing your hamstrings, calves and hips, which strengthens your quadriceps and relieves stress.
- Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Exhale and bend forward at your hips, to lengthen the front torso.
- Keep your knees straight and try bringing your palms to the floor, beside your feet. Press your heels firmly to the floor.
- With each inhale, lift your body slowly. And with each exhale, release into the pose more. Let your head hang freely. Try repeating this process a few times.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Garland pose helps in stretching everything around your lower back–groin, hips, quadriceps and torso–and strengthens your muscles.
- Squat with your feet as close together as possible. Keep your heels grounded on the floor if you can or use a mat for less friction.
- Separate your thighs wider than your torso. While exhaling, let your torso lean forward and fit between your thighs.
- Press your elbows against your inner knees, and bring your palms together in a salutation seal (Anjali Mudra). Resist the knees into the elbows to lengthen your torso.
- Hold this position for a minute or two.
Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)
This pose can help relax your lower back, while stretching your thighs and knees.
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees. Lift your feet off the floor one at a time, bringing your knees closer to your chest.
- Place your hands on the back of your thighs as you hug your knees to your chest.
- You can rock from side-to-side to give your back a massage.
- Stay in this position for as long as possible, then put your feet back on the mat with your knees bent and hip-distance apart.
Reclining Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
The reclining spinal twist stretches your glutes and back muscles, and relaxes your spine, relieving a sore back.
- Lie completely on your back and make a T with your arms at shoulder level.
- Bend your knees and inhale as you lift your feet off the floor and bring your knees over your hips, creating a right angle with your legs.
- Breathe out and let your knees fall, while keeping your shoulders on the mat.
- Your left hip will twist in the opposite direction.
- Hold the pose for one or two minutes. Then bring your legs back to centre and switch sides.