yogh

37 Yoga Poses You Didn't Know Help Relieve or Prevent Back Pain

Steve Tabick

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints in the United States today. Most people experience it at some point in their lives. Nowadays, most of us sit at a desk from 9-5 every day.

Sitting all day causes tight hips and impaired mobility. In turn, this leads to back pain. This is a comprehensive list of yoga poses you can do on your own to help relieve or prevent back pain. If you find yourself too lazy to try these poses, do them while you relax after work!

Sphinx-Salamba Bhujangasana

  • Benefits
    • Opens chest, lungs, shoulders
    • Improves circulation
    • Strengthens spine and core
    • Firms butt
    • Therapeutic for mild depression, anxiety, and energy levels
  • Contraindications
    • Chronic back, arm, or shoulder injury, headache, pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Take slowly and don’t push body to achieve deeper backbend
    • Only lift chest as far as you can go without causing pain
    • Think “extension” and “lift” rather than “bend”

Pigeon-Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hips, glutes, and groin
    • Relieves spinal, lower back, knee, and sciatic pain
    • Therapeutic for stress and anxiety stored in hips
    • Improves back full range of motion
    • Stimulates internal organs
  • Contraindications
    • Knee, sacroiliac, ankle issues, tight hips
  • Tips
    • The further forward your front heel is, the deeper and more intense the pose will be
    • Keep the front foot flexed to protect the knee
    • Keep the back thigh internally rotated

Locust-Salabhasana

  • Benefits
    • Strengthens spine, butt, arms, shoulders, legs, calves, and hips
    • Helps with posture
    • Stimulates abs
    • Enhances circulation
    • Therapeutic for stress and tension
  • Contraindications
    • Knee, joint, or neck pain
    • Headaches
    • High blood pressure
    • Pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Help lift torso by placing hands near waist, inhaling, and pushing off floor

Thread the Needle-Parsva Balasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches and opens shoulders, chest, upper back and neck
    • Relieves tension in upper back and spine
    • Improves circulation
  • Contraindications
    • Chronic or recent knee, shoulder, or back injury
  • Tips
    • Move slowly in and out of pose
    • Keep breathing even and deep as hip opening poses make people clench their jaw and hold their breath
    • Protect neck by keeping shoulders broad and not collapsing them

Happy Baby-Ananda Balasana

 

  • Benefits
    • Opens hips, inner thigh, groin, and hamstrings
    • Relieves lower back pain
    • Stretches spine
    • Therapeutic for stress and anxiety
    • Stimulates digestive system
  • Contraindications
    • Knee or neck injury, extremely tight hips, herniated discs, or pregnancy
  • Tips
    • If you can’t hold your feet with your hands, use a yoga strap

 Butterfly-Baddha Konasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches inner thighs, groin, and knees
    • Stimulates abdominal organs and heart
    • Improves circulation
    • Therapeutic for mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue
    • Soothes menstrual discomfort and back pain
  • Contraindications
    • Groin, knee, or sciatic pain
  • Tips
    • Keep spine erect and don’t round if you have back issues
    • Let your shoulders soften to release more stress

Frog-Mandukasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches inner thighs, groin, hips, chest, and shoulders
    • Strengthens lungs, back, abs, and shoulder muscles
    • Improves circulation and decreases heart rate
    • Helps with sciatica, constipation, diabetes, and digestion
    • Therapeutic for headaches, stress, mild depression, menstrual cramps
  • Contraindications
    • Ankle or knee injury, severe back pain, cardiac problems, and abdominal pain
  • Tips
    • If uncomfortable, rest knees on padding and rest forehead on floor if stiff neck
    • If hands tingle, move them wider or closer

Crescent Lunge-(Sanskrit disagreed upon)

  • Benefits
    • Releases tension in hips
    • Stretches hamstrings, quads, groin
    • Strengthens knees
    • Expands chest, lungs, shoulders
    • Develops stamina and endurance in thighs
    • Improves balance and concentration
    • Builds core awareness
    • Relieves sciatica
    • Calms mind
  • Contraindications
    • High blood pressure, heart problems, or knee injuries
  • Tips
    • Place blanket under your back knee for cushioning if uncomfortable
    • Keep gaze forward if neck injury
    • Don’t do back bend if spinal or neck injury
    • Don’t raise your arms if shoulder injury
    • Challenge balance by doing pose with eyes closed
    • Improve balance by completing pose facing a wall and putting big toe of front foot against wall and stretching arms upward

Bow-Dhanurasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches chest, ankles, thighs, groin, abs, chest, throat, hip flexors
    • Strengthens back
    • Stimulates digestive organs
    • Therapeutic and reduces anxiety, stress, fatigue
    • Therapeutic for constipation, menstrual discomfort, respiratory discomfort
  • Contraindications
    • High or low blood pressure, migraines, insomnia, serious back or neck injury, or pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Start with thighs on blanket if difficult to lift off floor
    • Clasp hands around ankles not feet and keep them together
    • Keep arms straight and don’t bend
    • Focus on using leg muscles and back bend should be passive

Bridge-Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches chest, neck, spine, hips
    • Strengthens back, butt, hamstrings
    • Improves circulation, digestion, respiration
    • Therapeutic for stress and depression
    • Helps with asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
  • Contraindications
    • Only do with proper supervision if have neck, shoulder or knee injury
  • Tips
    • Don’t pull shoulders away from ears as it leads to overstretching
    • Lift tops of shoulders slightly towards ears and push shoulder blades away from spine
    • Don’t turn head to left or right when in pose or can cause neck injury
    • Don’t force body to go deeper into pose

Camel-Ustrasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches and strengthens hips, shoulders, back, chest
    • Relieves lower back pain and promotes flexibility
    • Improves circulation, digestion, posture
    • Improves low blood pressure.
    • Therapeutic for anxiety, stress, respiration
  • Contraindications
    • High or low blood pressure, migraine, insomnia, serious lower back or neck injury
  • Tips
    • If past neck pain or shoulders tight, use a wall to protect neck
    • Turn toes and elevate feet if can’t touch hands to feet or else rest hands on blocks located outside of each heel
    • Take pose slowly and go as deep as body allows
    • Don’t bring your head so far back to strain neck

Cat & Cow-Marjaryasana & Bitilasana

  • Benefits
    • Increases coordination and synchronizes breathing with movement
    • Helps breathing by stretching chest and lungs
    • Improves circulation
    • Therapeutic for menstrual discomfort, lower back pain, sciatica
    • Stretches neck, shoulders spine, hip, back, abs, chest, thighs
  • Contraindications
    • Careful when pregnant
    • Keep head in line with torso and don’t drop it forward or back if neck injury
    • Don’t let belly drop or can hurt lower back
  • Tips
    • Bring shoulders away from ears and broaden to protect neck

Dolphin-Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and feet
    • Strengthens arms and legs
    • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain
    • Helps with osteoporosis, digestion, headache, insomnia, back pain, high blood pressure, asthma, and sciatica
    • Therapeutic for mild depression and stress
  • Contraindications
    • High blood pressure, heart attack, back conditions, ear hemorrhage, headaches
    • Be very mindful if practicing during pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Keep legs bent during pose if have neck or shoulder injuries
    • Support head with pillow to reduce neck strain
    • Walk feet towards elbows while in v-posture to build shoulder and arm strength

Downward Facing Dog-Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches shoulders, hamstrings, calves, feet, hands, spine, chest
    • Strengthens back, arms, hands, writs, lower back, hamstrings, calves
    • Elongating spine and neck relieves headache and back pain
    • Improves digestion, respiration, circulation
    • Therapeutic for stress, depression, menstrual discomfort
  • Contraindications
    • Carpal tunnel, diarrhea, late term pregnancy, high blood pressure, headache
  • Tips
    • Put hands on blocks or seat of a chair if difficult to release and open shoulders

Eagle-Garudasana

  • benefits
    • Stretches shoulders and hips
    • Strengthens arms, legs, knees, ankles
    • Improves circulation and digestion
  • Contraindications
    • Knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder injuries, low blood pressure, plantar fasciitis
    • Avoid or practice against a wall if late term pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Squeeze thighs and arms and become more compact to balance easier
    • Keep hands, arms, thighs in straight line
    • Sink hips lower if struggling to cross legs or wrap foot
    • Practice arms of the pose to counterbalance shoulder and neck strain from sitting at a computer all day

Extended Side Angle-Utthita Parsvakonasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches groin, knees, ankles, spine, waist, chest, lungs, and shoulders
    • Strengthens legs, knees, and ankles
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Therapeutic for constipation, menstrual discomfort, sciatica, and lower backache
  • Contraindications
    • Headache, insomnia, high or low blood pressure
    • Care if chronic injury to hips, knees, neck, or shoulders
    • Don’t turn head to look at top arm if neck pain
  • Tips
    • Work on foot and leg placement and build pose from ground up
    • Don’t let torso drop forward
    • Keep front knee anchored when bending
    • Brace back heel against wall and bend back knee to side of front knee
    • Rest your forearm on top of bent knee or use block out of front foot if can’t touch fingers to floor

Extended Triangle-Utthita Trikonasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches and strengthens thighs, knees, ankles, hips, groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, spine, and abs
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Relieves backache, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica
    • Therapeutic for stress, anxiety, and menstrual discomfort
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea, headache, or low blood pressure
    • Practice against a wall you if have heart conditions
    • Gaze downward if you have high blood pressure
    • Look straight if you have neck issues
  • Tips
    • Brace your back heel or back of torso against a wall if struggling to balance
    • Keep your waist long
    • Bring your hand higher up or use a block if crunching ribs toward hips
    • Gaze at your foot to help with balance

Fire Log-Agnistambhasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hip and groin
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Therapeutic for anxiety, tension, and stress
  • Contraindications
    • Lower back, hip, or knee injury
  • Tips
    • Release your hip by gripping thigh at hip crease and rotating outward
    • Change cross of legs and don’t favor one side
    • Keep spine vertical and crown of head should be aligned over tailbone
    • Keep your torso and collarbones broad
    • Don’t round your back and shoulders
    • Put a blanket under your knees if they can’t rest on the floor

Fish-Matsyasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches chest, throat, abdomen, hips, rib muscles, spine
    • Strengthens upper back and neck
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Therapeutic for constipation, respiratory ailments, mild backache, anxiety, menstrual pain
  • Contraindications
    • High or low blood pressure, migraines, insomnia, serious lower back or neck injury, pregnant, heart disease, hernia
  • Tips
    • Keep neck extended and don’t bring head back
    • Lower chest slightly toward floor or use folded blanket under head if discomfort in neck and throat
    • Press thighs down to lift chest higher
    • Don’t press with head but lift with back muscles and press down with hips

Half Lord of the Fishes-Ardha Matsyendrasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches shoulders, hips, neck, spine, and chest
    • Strengthens core and back
    • Relieves backache, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort
    • Stimulates digestion, abdominal organs, and heart
  • Contraindications
    • Chronic knee, hip, or spinal pain, pregnancy
    • Proceed with caution if you have back injuries or degenerative disk disease
  • Tips
    • Let the back of your neck be soft
    • Balance head over spine
    • Never lead twist with head
    • Keep butt grounded
    • never force the pose
    • move with your breathing
    • twist to right first to place pressure on ascending colon then twist left to put pressure on descending colon; right side mimics flow of digestion

Half Moon-Ardha Chandrasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, spine
    • Strengthens abs, ankles, thighs, butt, spine
    • Relieves stress, anxiety, menstrual pain
    • Therapeutic for digestion, backache, osteoporosis, sciatica, fatigue, and constipation
  • Contraindications
    • Headache, low blood pressure, diarrhea, and insomnia
    • Look straight forward instead of up if neck pain
  • Tips
    • Support hand on block at highest height and work to using block at lowest height if can’t touch floor with lower hand
    • Pull crown of head to front of room while pulling heel of extended heel to back of room

Legs Up the Wall-Viparita Karani

  • Benefits
    • Moves stagnant fluid built up in legs and improves circulation
    • Stretches back of neck torso, back of legs
    • Relieves tired legs and swollen ankles
    • Stimulates digestion and regulates blood pressure
    • Relieves backache, headache, menstrual discomfort, and respiratory ailments
    • Therapeutic for anxiety and mild depression
  • Contraindications
    • Glaucoma, hypertension, hernia
  • Tips
    • Slide hips a few inches from wall or elevate hips by placing under your sacrum

Marichi’s Pose 3-Marichyasana III

  • Benefits
    • Stretches shoulders and spine
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Relieves lower backache, sciatica, menstrual discomfort
    • Therapeutic for constipation, indigestion, asthma, fatigue
  • Contraindications
    • Back or spine injury, high or low blood pressure, migraine, diarrhea, headache, insomnia
  • Tips
    • Keep pelvis in neutral position by sitting on folded blanket
    • Bring arm forward and grip bent knee shin with opposite hand and pull thigh against torso if struggling to keep bent knee thigh close to torso

Plow-Halasana

  • Benefits
    • Strengthens and stretches neck, shoulders, spine, abs, back, legs
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Relieves backache, headache, insomnia, menstrual discomfort, sinusitis
    • Therapeutic for stress and fatigue
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea, neck injury, asthma, high blood pressure, pregnant, glaucoma
    • Be careful overstretching neck as it can increase anxiety
  • Tips
    • Care not to overstretch neck by pulling shoulders away from ears
    • Squeeze shoulder blades together at start to lift and create space
    • Lift hips and stack them directly over shoulders
    • Engage lower abs and create a flat back
    • Rest feet on a chair or wall if feet can’t reach mat beyond head

Reclining Hand to Big Toe-Supta Padangusthasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, groin, calves
    • Strengthens knees
    • Alleviates stiffness in lower back and arthritis in hips and knees
    • Improves digestion
    • Relieves backache, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, high blood pressure
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea, headache, high blood pressure, hamstring tears, pregnant
  • Tips
    • If you feel stiff, do pose with bottom leg heel pressed against a wall
    • Position a block outside raised leg hip and swing leg to side and rest on the block

Revolved Head to Knee-Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches spine, shoulders, hamstrings, lower back, sides of abdominal
    • Relieves mild backache, neck pain, headache, insomnia, anxiety
    • Stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion
    • Improves respiration
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea, pulled hamstring, herniated disk, and asthma
    • Take care if you have hip, back, shoulder, or knee pain
  • Tips
    • It’s better keep bottom shoulder in contact with inner knee than to lose contact and straighten knee completely
    • Keep front of torso long as dropping head and rounding spine can injure back, hamstrings, and groin
    • Un-twist before coming back to seated position
    • Use elbows and forearms to help twist upper torso
    • Keep bottom shoulder pressing against inside of knee and bend it slightly if needed to make sure shoulder stays in place

Revolved Side Angle-Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches waist, spine, groin, lungs, chest, shoulders
    • Strengthens legs, ankles, knees
    • Relieves constipation, backache, osteoporosis, sciatica
  • Contraindications
    • Headache, low or high blood pressure, insomnia, or pregnant
  • Tips
    • Support heel by standing on book or bracing against wall if struggling with balance

Revolved Triangle-Parivrtta Trikonasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hamstrings, groin, hips, chest, and shoulders
    • Strengthens thighs, hips, back
    • Relieves lower back pain, constipation, asthma, sciatica
    • Stimulates abdominal organs and helps with slow digestion
    • Improves balance
  • Contraindications
    • Low blood pressure, migraine, headache, diarrhea, insomnia, neck or hamstring pain, pregnancy
  • Tips
    • Take small step or take back foot to outer edge to square hips easier
    • Look forward if neck pain
    • Slightly bend knees to avoid hyper extension
    • Focus gaze on one point to help with balance
    • Only twist as far as comfortable and never force

Child’s Pose-Balasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
    • Relieves back and neck pain
    • Therapeutic for stress and fatigue
    • Encourages steady breathing and normalizes circulation
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea, high blood pressure, or pregnant
    • Proceed with caution if have knee injuries
  • Tips
    • If uncomfortable with head on floor, rest head on pillor
    • Focus on breathing fully

Standing Forward Fold-Uttanasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches hips, hamstrings, calves, spine
    • Strengthens thighs and knees
    • Relieves tension in spine, neck, back
    • Relieves headache, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, sinusitis
    • Therapeutic for stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue,
    • Stimulates abdominal organs and increases circulation
  • Contraindications
    • Hamstring tear, sciatica, glaucoma, or detached retina
    • Bend your knees with hands on wall, legs perpendicular to your torso and arms parallel to floor if you have a back injury
  • Tips
    • Stretch back of legs by bending knees slightly
    • Focus on lengthening front of torso instead of bringing hands down all the way
    • Bend knees as much as you need or place hands on a block or chair to keep your length
    • Aim to bring belly to your thighs rather than head to your knees or your hands to ground
    • Fold from hips not waist and learn this by placing hands directly on hip bones and pressing hands into front hip bones and hinge spot keeping torso long
    • Come up from pose with flat back to help strengthen back

Lying Spinal Twist-Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches spine, back, hips, neck, back, and glutes
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Improves circulation
  • Contraindications
    • Knee or hip injury
    • Proceed with caution if have back or shoulder injury
  • Tips
    • Bring top knee over only as much as it’s comfortable
    • Rest opposite hands on top knee to add weight
    • Relax shoulders away from ears and keep shoulder blades on floor
    • Never force knee to floor
    • If you have back pain, come out of pose slowly

Seated Forward Bend-Paschimottanasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches spine, shoulders, and hamstrings
    • Stimulates abdominal organs
    • Relieves menstrual discomfort, headaches
    • Therapeutic for stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and high blood pressure
  • Contraindications
    • Diarrhea or high blood pressure
    • Care if have asthma or back injury
  • Tips
    • Sit on something comfortable to lift butt if hamstrings are hurting
    • Never force yourself into bend
    • Clasp right wrist with left hand around sole of foot or place block in front of your foot and hold the edges to deepen the pose

Knees to Chest-Apanasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches pelvis and lower back
    • Relieves back pain
    • Reduces anxiety and high blood pressure
    • Relief from indigestion, bloating, flatulence, acidity, and constipation
  • Contraindications
    • Irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal surgery, hernia, spinal, knee or hip injury, pregnant
    • Don’t lift head if you have neck pain
  • Tips
    • Keep spine lengthened along floor all the way through tailbone
    • Resist tendency to let butt and hips lift from mat
    • Place head on blanket if discomfort in head or neck

Staff-Dandasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches spine, shoulders, hamstrings chest
    • Strengthens hips, abs, back
    • Improves posture and digestion
    • Therapeutic for sciatica, asthma, stress
  • Contraindications
    • Wrist or lower back injury
  • Tips
    • Put towel underneath hips to elevate them if strain in hamstrings or lower back
    • Practice against wall to find shape of pose
    • Place blocks under pals if can’t touch ground
    • Align your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line

Upward Bow/Wheel Pose-Urdhva Dhanurasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches chest, lungs, spine, shoulders, upper back, and thighs
    • Strengthens arms, wrists, legs, butt, abs, spine
    • Therapeutic for depression, asthma, back pain, osteoporosis
  • Contraindications
    • Back injury, carpal tunnel, diarrhea, headache, heart problems, high or low blood pressure
  • Tips
    • Don’t let knees and feet splay when lifting into pose
    • Keep elbows and knees hugging center line of body

Warrior 1,2,3-Virabhadrasana I,II,III

  • Benefits
    • Stretches, chest, lungs, neck, and belly
    • Strengthens feet, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, quads, glutes, core
    • Encourages circulation and respiration
    • Therapeutic for sciatica, flat feet, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel
    • Teaches body awareness and improves balance
  • Contraindications
    • High blood pressure, heart problems, spinal disorders, diarrhea, knee pain
    • Keep arms parallel to each other if shoulder problems
    • Keep head in neutral position if neck problems
  • Tips
    • Raise back heel on height if struggling to keep back heel grounded and lower back lengthened
    • Careful not to compress lower back when front knee bends

Wide-Legged Forward Bend-Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Benefits
    • Stretches and strengthens hamstrings, calves, hips, lower back spine, shoulders, neck, wrists, forearms, and upper back
    • Therapeutic for anxiety, fatigue, and mild depression
  • Contraindications
    • Herniated discs, high or low blood pressure
    • Avoid full forward bend if back problems
    • Care if chronic leg, hip, back, or shoulder injury
  • Tips
    • Support head on folded blank if can’t touch top of head to ground
    • Keep legs strong and engaged and don’t lock knees
    • Emphasize lengthening torso rather than focusing on bringing head and hands down
    • Fold from hips not waist
    • Come up from pose with flat back
    • Align your ankles, knees, and hips

Yoga relieves many different stresses in the body and mind. When practiced consistently, you will become more in tune to your body. Adding some of these poses to your practice will help improve your flexibility and range of motion while helping to prevent injury.

What’s your favorite pose? We’d love to hear in the comments! Share these poses with friends and family to help prevent and relieve back pain!


Leave a Comment