The Yoga poses & stretches for the back discussed in this article involve specific stretching exercises to relax, stretch, loosen the spine and relieve back pain and stress.
Yoga & the back are meant to get along.
Yoga is one of the most effective physical activities for taking care of your back.
Not that yoga will heal a bad back after a few weeks, but regular practice of yoga helps to maintain, stretch and strengthen the muscles of the back, favouring blood circulation in the spine and in the nervous system.
Yoga is also an effective way to manage stress: stress is a common cause of back pain and reducing stress generally results in less muscle and joints pain.
As long as you don’t have a back problem, you don’t really care about it and you could spend your whole life without paying attention to your back, until the day it becomes a problem.
To most of us, back pain is a tough time, but long-term back problems can quickly become a liability and can make life difficult for those affected.
Here are a few yoga poses and back stretches that can be performed gently to help you feel better.
Be sure to do some warm-up, stretching and relaxation before doing going into these yoga poses.
These Yoga poses should not be performed by people who have any serious back problems (herniated disc, severe disc disease or chronic low back pain).
Except for the cat and cow yoga poses, yoga and lumbar disc herniation do not go well with each other.
For people suffering from disc disease, cervical disc herniation, Yoga requires too much bending and twisting and is not recommended..
Yoga for the back: Downward Facing Dog
The downward facing dog is one of the most iconic yoga poses. This posture is designed to revitalize and stretch your entire body.
- Starting in the Table position, hips are raised to place the body in an reverse V position.
- The Head and neck are loosened and the thighs are stretched backwards.
- Keep the shoulder blades as far apart as you can to stretch the upper back as much as possible and raise the hips as much as possible to stretch them and keep them flexible.
The downward facing dog pose also makes the shoulders more flexible, stimulates digestion and helps strengthen the abdominal muscles.
Breathe deeply, five to seven times while doing this stretch.
Yoga for the back: Upward Facing Dog
- Start in table position and lower your hips to the floor.
- Drop the shoulders and pull them back a little and at the same time push on the floor with the palms of your hands.
- Expand your torso and raise your head to fix the ceiling.
- Inhale and lift the thighs and legs while pressing down with the tips of the toes.
- Breathe in and hold the posture for 1-3 breaths.
- To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back and up to return to the table position.
In this posture, only hands and toes are in direct contact with the ground.
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Yoga for the back: Pigeon pose
The hips are a complex group of muscles, tendons and ligaments essential for proper proper movementof the body.
Sitting in front of a computer all day reduces flexibility in the hips and in the long run, this is a risk factor for the strength of the back and the muscles of the legs.
Physical activities such as running, walking and cycling can help build hip strength, but do not help hips reach the level of flexibility they need.
Stress is also a factor that limits the flexibility of the hips.
The Yoga pigeon pose helps to loosen the hips, providing the body with flexibility and motion
Starting from the table position:
- Lift the right leg away from your pelvis.
- Bring your right foot in front of your left knee, behind your left hand.
- The outside of your right shin should now rest on the floor. The further forward your right heel is, the more intense the stretch will be.
- Keep your right foot flexed to help protect your knee.
It is important to protect your knee to prevent irritating the joint.
If you are a beginner in yoga, don’t hesitate to bend your knee forward as much as you need to, so that it doesn’t get too tense.
Stretching the hips causes increased pressure on the back and excessive strain on the spine: this leads to back pain that won’t go away.
In addition to increased flexibility in the spine, improved activity, improved blood circulation and reduced back pain, opening the hips induces a beneficial energy release throughout the whole body.
Yoga for the back: The Clamp
To do the Clamp, sit on the floor, legs straight, you can fold a blanket folded under your buttocks if you wish to make it a bit more comfortable.
On entame l’exécution de cette posture assis sur le sol, avec une couverture repliée sous les fesses et les jambes droites devant soi.
- Actively press down on the floor with the heels.
- Raise your arms to the sky and while keeping your arms outstretched, grab your toes with your hands. The descent should be done keeping the back straight until the hands touch the feet.
- Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Come back by unrolling the vertebrae one after the other.
The Clamp pose calls for a significant flexion in return for an much appreciated stretching of the spine.
Benefits of the Clamp pose.
In addition to the benefits to the back due to the stretching of the spine, shoulders and hamstrings, the clamp pose also helps:
- Calming the mind, relieving stress and moderating depression.
- Stimulating the liver, kidneys, ovaries and uterus.
- Promoting digestion
- Relieving menopausal symptoms and menstrual discomfort.
- Alleviating headaches, decreasing anxiety and reducing fatigue.
Yoga for the back Child’s Pose
- Sit on your heels.
- Keep your hips on your heels, lean forward gently, and lay your forehead on the floor.
- Keep your arms along your body with your hands on the floor, palms up (If it’s too complicated, you can put one wrist on top of the other and place your forehead on top of that wrist.)
- Gently press your chest against your thighs.
- Hold the position.
- Slowly raise your upper body until you sit on your heels.Unroll your vertebrae one after the other and relax.
Taking and keeping this “fetal” pose, allows you to calm down, relax from releasing pressure on the spine (with back pain relief as a result), and feel the same energy in the body as in the mind.
Like a child connected to its mother by the umbilical cord.
The mother here, being nature.
Yoga for the back: cat & cow stretch
An absolute must. This stretch should be used as a warm-up, and is subject for a full article: Yoga for lumbar disc herniation: Cat & Cow stretch