If you’re like most people, you probably suffer from occasional back pain. Whether it’s bad posture, slouching on the couch, or too much time in front of the computer, back pain can throw off your entire day and even keep you from participating in activities you enjoy. Luckily, there are a handful of excellent back pain healing yoga poses that you can try, and you don’t have to be a pro for them to be effective. Use these four poses to heal back pain naturally.
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
The cat pose is one of the most recognizable (and one of the easiest) yoga poses, and it does wonders for tense back muscles. Start on your hands and knees in what’s referred to as “tabletop” position (with your back flat). Your knees should be directly below your hips, and your elbows, shoulders, and wrists should be aligned with your palms flat on the floor. Keep your neck relaxed as you look down toward the floor. Next, exhale and round your back toward the ceiling. Let your forehead dip toward the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds before exhaling and coming back to tabletop.
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
The cow pose is great to pair with the cat pose above. For the cow pose, start in “tabletop” just as you would for the cat pose, but instead of rounding your back toward the ceiling, for cow pose, you’ll let your stomach sink toward the floor while you keep your eyes straight forward. This pose is a fantastic chest opener.
Note: if you have a neck injury, be cautious, as looking straight ahead in this pose can cause strain on the cervical spine.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This famous entry-level yoga pose offers a great full-body stretch that anyone can do. Start with your hands and knees on the floor with your knees directly beneath your hips and hands just slightly past your shoulders. With your toes pressed to the floor, exhale and lift your knees so that you’re straightening your legs. With your knees slightly bent, lift your heels from the floor. Now exhale, and gently press your heels toward the floor, straighten your knees (but don’t lock!), and lift your tailbone toward the ceiling. Keep your head between your upper arms with intention. You can hold this pose for as long as is comfortable while enjoying the all-over stretch.
Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
The sphinx pose is a beginning backbend that is perfect for stimulating the arch of your back. First, lay on your stomach and bring your elbows under your shoulders. This will force your chest upward to promote the natural curve in your lower back. If this pose is uncomfortable, you can push your elbows forward slightly to decrease the angle. Hold this pose between 1-3 minutes. With these four yoga poses, you should be able to alleviate your lower back pain.