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10-Minute Yoga Sequence to Help Soothe Lower Back Pain

Healing | Health

By the end of a long day, your lower back aches and all you feel like doing is lying on the couch and watching trashy TV.

Did you know that even just ten minutes of gentle yoga can help relieve that lower back pain? Tension in this area of the back is often caused by tight hamstrings and poor posture, and there are a number of poses which will help to correct this.

Try this short yoga sequence designed especially for lower back issues and start feeling better today!

1. Cat/Cow Pose

This pose allows us to gently warm up the back before we move into stronger stretching and strengthening.

Start in a tabletop position with the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. As you inhale, look towards the sky, lift the tailbone, and let the belly gently soften towards the floor. Exhale out through the mouth and round the back looking towards the thighs.

Repeat with three breaths.

2. Cobra Pose

cobra pose

Cobra Pose is a great way to stretch and strengthen into the lower back at the same time.

Come to lie on the belly and place the hands by the shoulders. Inhale and use the muscles of the back to lift the shoulders and chest off the floor. The hands may take some of the weight of the body, but allow the muscles of the back to do most of the work. Exhale and lower back down.

Repeat three times, gently lifting a little bit higher each time.

3. Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

After the strengthening work of Cobra Pose, this pose works as a counterpose and allows the spine to reset.

Sit back towards the heels and rest the forehead down towards the floor. Wrap the hands around towards the heels and let the shoulders relax.

Hold for three full breaths.

4. Down Dog

Faith Hunter in Down Dog

Down Dog is a key pose in every yoga class as it stretches strongly into the hamstrings, helping to relieve tension held in the lower back.

From a tabletop position, tuck the toes under and lift the hips towards the sky. Bend into the knees and lift the tailbone high as you draw the heels down towards the mat at the same time. Press evenly into the hands and draw the shoulder blades down the back.

Hold for three full breaths.

5. Down Dog Twist

Credit: Meagan McCrary Credit: Meagan McCrary

This beautiful, open twist helps to encourage free movement in the spine.

Inhale and reach one hand across to the opposite ankle or calf. Keep the knees bent and hips even as you take the gaze up through the armpit to increase the twist.

Hold for three breaths, and repeat on the opposite side.

6. Standing Forward Fold

forward fold

Forward Folds are essential for anyone suffering from lower back pain, however, they need to be practiced with the knees bent to avoid injury.

Bend generously into the knees as you fold the torso over the legs. Keep your awareness on gently lifting the tailbone while also grounding down through the heels. Let the arms, shoulders, and neck gently hang.

Hold for three full breaths.

7. Mountain Pose

It may not seem like it would do much, but Mountain Pose has the ability to teach you how to stand correctly to reduce lower back pain in the future.

Stand with the feet under the hips and press the four corners of both feet into your mat. Draw up on the muscles of the legs, and simultaneously draw the tailbone gently down. Lift the core in and up as you draw the shoulder blades down. Lift the crown of the head to the sky.

Stay here for three breaths, focusing on the length in the spine. Try to bring awareness to creating this same alignment as you go about your day.

8. Reclining Hamstring Stretch

This pose helps to stretch deeply into the muscles of the leg, relieving tension in the back of the body.

Lie on the back and lift one leg towards the sky. Either hold your calf or use a strap around the ball of the foot to draw the hamstring in towards you. With each exhalation, gently draw the leg in a little bit further.

Repeat for three breaths on each side.

9. Supported Bridge Pose

Credit: Meagan McCrary
Credit: Meagan McCrary

Practicing a supported version of this pose allows you to stretch gently into the back without straining.

Bring the soles of the feet towards you at hip distance. As you inhale, press into the feet to lift the hips and slide a block or bolster underneath the tailbone. Exhale and release the body onto your support.

Stay here for three breaths, allowing the rest of the body to relax.

10. Supine Twist

A Supine Twist helps to relieve the muscles on either side of the spine that become tight throughout the day, as well as helping to keep the vertebrae healthy.

Draw the knees into the chest, take the arms wide, and gently let the knees fall to one side.  Use a bolster under the knees to support or increase the stretch by taking the top leg long and looking away from the legs.

Hold for three full breaths on each side.

Practice this gentle ten minute sequence every day and you’ll notice your lower back pain will start to decrease in just a few days! You might even find you have more energy for other things you love when you’re not feeling constantly drained by your aching body.

What are your favorite poses to practice to soothe an achy back? Share with the rest of the community in the comments below!

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