Yoga For Back Pain

Alyssa Murray

While people often focus on strengthening their ab muscles when they have a problem with their core, the back is also a key component, and when you have a problem with your back, it can leave you feeling debilitated. As part of your core, you use your back in almost every movement from walking to lifting to rolling over in bed. As long as you are not experiencing severe back pain, yoga can help you to find relief. 

Cow and Cat Poses

Tight muscles in your back are often the cause of back pain. To help tight muscles release, take position on your hands and knees. Arch your back to assume the cat position and hold for three to five breaths. Next, push your belly button down towards the floor to assume the cow position and hold for three to five breaths. Repeat up to five times as needed in order to relax your tight muscles. 

The Pigeon Pose

Back pain does not always mean that you have tight muscles in your back. In some cases, your hip rotators and flexors can get tight and radiate pain up into your back. The pigeon pose can help with this. From a downward dog position, bring your left leg forward so that your left knee extends almost perpendicular from your shoulders and your left foot is near your right hip. Your right leg should extend out behind you, and you should keep your spine as straight as possible. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths and then repeat with the other leg. 

Downward Dog

Tight hamstrings can also cause problems for your lower back. To stretch your hamstrings, start from a kneeling position with your hands on the floor and extending straight out in front of you. From this position, straighten your legs, while trying to keep your legs as straight as possible. You may need to lift your heels off the ground to straighten your legs completely. Over time, you should be able to push your heels down to lengthen your hamstrings. The initial stretch should relieve temporary pressure, and continued stretching should help reduce the risk of future pain.

Medication will help relieve pain, but it is only good at masking pain rather than treating the cause of it. Yoga (such as is offered by Olson's Martial Arts Academy) can help not only to relieve pain initially, but it can help to treat tight muscles which are causing the pain in the first place.  


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