If you’re like me and the rest of the more than 26 million Americans in the U.S., at some point in your life you’ve experienced some degree of back pain.
Back pain may be experienced due to various causes such as an illness, physical misalignment, sedentary lifestyle, slip or bulging disk, or overuse of other muscles such as the hips and hamstrings. Whatever the reason, back pain can be debilitating to your quality of life and ultimately affecting how you feel about yourself and how you move through life.
If you experience occasional or chronic back pain, consider adding the three yoga poses below to your morning or evening routine. Never practiced yoga? No problem. These poses are perfect for beginners as you can find space and length through the spine while resting on the hands and knees.
These poses along with calm rhythmic breathing can provide relief by stretching and strengthening the back muscles in addition to gently opening tight hips which may contribute to back pain.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
While on all fours with the shoulders stacked over the wrists and the hips stacked over the knees as you inhale deeply through the nose slowly lift the head and the tailbone while arching the spine. On the exhale pull yourself into a tight ball by gently rounding the spine, pull the lower belly into the spine, lower the head and draw the tailbone down. Repeat a complete cycle 5-10 times.
2. Upward Facing Dog
With the spine warmed up, gently roll down to the belly. With the hands on either side of the chest and directly under the shoulders, tilt the pelvis into the mat and press your chest away from the mat compressing the lower back. Draw the shoulders away from the ears and straighten the arms. Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths.
3. Child's Pose
From Upward Facing Dog, lift the hips and gently draw them back towards the heels while extending the arms to the top of the mat creating a pulling or stretching sensation while resting the forehead on the mat.
To make the pose more relaxing take the knees apart and bring the big toes to touch creating space for the torso. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths or longer.
These poses may be practiced separately or used together as a gentle back relieving yoga flow that is sure to bring calmness to the mind and relief for your achy back muscles.