5 Easy Yoga Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

5 Easy Yoga Exercises for Lower Back Pain

If it’s something I get asked a lot, it’s ‘tell me some yoga exercises for lower back pain’. And I’ve got to tell you, the look on people’s faces after they’ve tried these exercises is pure relief. It’s no fun having a niggling pain all the time that interferes in daily life. So let’s hit this on it’s head with some of my favourite moves to get you stretched out, pain-free and feeling good. These double up as amazing exercises for sciatica pain too, so pass this on to someone that might need it.

My struggle with lower back pain

I used to have horrendous lower back pain. Back when I was wearing unsupportive bras, standing on my feet all day and not practicing yoga. It was a constant struggle. I’d be out for a drink at night and would have to bend over at the bar to release some of the tension… I’d sit on the toilet just so I could lean forward and stretch my lower back! And then I’d get to bed and no position was comfortable.

I know so many people with lower back pain. One of my old PT clients would only come to sessions for the stretching at the end. His lower back was so tight, he could hardly turn when sat on a chair. After around 6 sessions, he was nimble and loving it. His main reason for loving the stretch was so he could improve his golf skills… whatever floats your boat, eh?!

Either way, don’t let lower back pain control what you do. It can be so debilitating and just it’s not worth giving in to. A few yoga exercises for lower back pain is literally all you need.

How is lower back pain caused?

There are so many reasons we have lower back pain, but most are due to regular strain from something we do day-to-day. A lot of us sit at a desk and slouch. The rest of us stand up all day and hold our weight in incorrect places. Most commonly, lower back pain is caused by:

  • Poor posture over time (yep, that used to be me)
  • Lifting a heavy object, or twisting while lifting (done that before…)
  • Sudden movements that place too much stress on the lower back

More serious symptoms or intense pain lasting longer than 6 weeks could indicate bulging or ruptured disks, arthritis, skeletal irregularities or osteoporosis. If you think this could be you, please go and see a doctor.

For the majority though, we’re just not using our muscles correctly and our poor lower backs are taking the brunt of it. When we first start stretching and strengthening, it feels hard, and that’s why most of us don’t do it. I remember the agony and physical anxiety I felt at yoga teacher training when we had to sit on the floor for 10 hours in the day. The first 15 days were torture. And then my back built the strength and my back pain eventually disappeared. I’m not saying you need to force yourself to sit for 10 hours a day to feel some relief… Just some nice easy yoga exercises for lower back pain will do the trick 😉

So, how do I relieve lower back pain with yoga?

Home yoga for lower back pain

Here are the most effective yoga exercises for lower back pain. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran, you can give these a go. I weave these into every single one of my classes to keep everyone’s lower back happy and healthy. It’s always worth pairing the yoga with a meditation to handle the pain. Try this one out – download my favourite meditation to manage pain here.

Above all, remember these 3 things when trying to implement lower back exercises into your day:

  1. Try and do them for just 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening
  2. Pair all stretches with some core work
  3. Check in with your posture throughout the day as often as you can

Downward Dog

How to do it: 

Get on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your fingers and tuck your toes. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor and keep lifting your hips toward the ceiling until your hips are nice and high.Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them – if you find your back curving to straighten your knees, keep a wee bend in them whilst sticking your bum and tailbone into the air. Keep pushing into your fingers, don’t let your head drop – keep it snug in between your arms and enjoy some nice long inhales and exhales! When you’re ready, lower your knees to the floor and chill out in childs pose.

 

Why is it so good? 

Not only does it help to stretch out your lower back, it calms and relieves stress. It stretches and strengthens the majority of your body and can help with pesky period cramps. Get your digestion on top and sort out any headaches, fatigue and back pain with this beauty!

 

Ardha Matsyendrasana

How to do it:

Sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of you, step the right foot over the left leg on the outside of the knee and keep the left leg straight if this feels like enough. If you want to get deeper into it, bend your left leg and pop your foot round to the outside of your right hip. Exhale and twist toward your bent right leg. Push the right hand into the floor just behind your back, and reach your left arm up towards the ceiling. You can either drop your arm and hug your thigh in or rest the elbow on the outside of your knee. Inhale and lift up using your back hand, and twist more using your front arm.⠀ You can either look over your back shoulder, or gaze forward toward your front foot – whatever feels best that day. Try and twist through every portion of your spine so it’s nice and balanced. Stay here for a few breaths then switch to the other side!

 

Why is it so good? 

It’s a fabulous yoga exercise for lower back, tight shoulders, hips and necks.  It helps with digestion and spine flexibility and can ease cramps, fatigue and general backache.

 

Pigeon Pose

How to do it:

From downward dog, inhale raise your right leg up, exhale place your knee on the floor behind your right wrist, resting your shin on the floor. The closer your right heel is to your groin, the less intense stretch. The more parallel your right shin is to the front edge of your ma, the deeper the stretch will feel. Extend your left leg behind you, making sure it’s in a straight line. Try to keep your hips neutral to the top of your mat, keeping equal weight in both hips, avoiding sinking over to one side. Inhale lengthen the spine, exhale folding on to your forearms or bringing your forehead to the mat. Let go of any tension as you breathe out, visualizing it leaving the body. Try and stay here for between 30-60 seconds. You should experience a deep dull feeling in your glute, if you experience any knee pain, then leave the pose. Over time, your flexibility will increase and your hips will begin to respond to this opening.

 

Why is it so good? 

This pose is your go-to for sciatic pain and lower back pain. Pigeon can help to alleviate it within 5 minutes. Suffer from lower back pain? This pose can help diminish lower back aches and pain.

 

Bridge Pose

How to do it:

Lie down on the floor with your knees bent, arms by the sides of your body. Walk your heels towards your bum, you should be able to lightly touch the backs of your heels. Having your feet in hip distance apart, not too close, not too far apart. Press your lower spine in to the mat, you’ll begin to feel your hips tilting, try to keep this same engagement as you lift your hips up to the sky. Pressing through your heels, engage your thighs. Try rolling the shoulders underneath you, maybe even clasping the hands together. As your inhale, is there space to lift a little bit higher, drawing your chest towards your chin.

 

Why is it so good?

Bridge pose is so good as it stretches and strengthens the whole body whilst really getting into the lower back. It helps to calm the mind and improve the circulation of blood.

 

Triangle Pose

How to do it:

Stand at the top of your mat and step back with your left foot so they’re about a leg distance. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, both hands over your feet, reaching wide with your palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly so your heel is pushed a little away. Align the front heel with the middle of your back foot. Draw your feet together to get your inner thighs working! Exhale and reach your right hand forward to shift your upper body forward, anchor your feet into the floor and draw your hand down towards either your shin, ankle or floor if you can keep both of your sides long and extended. Reach your left arm up towards the ceiling and you can either gaze to the side, or up to your top hand with a gentle gaze at your thumb (this will super challenge your balance…). When you’re ready, inhale to come all the way back up and repeat on the other side! If you find your body coming forwards and not in line with your legs when you reach down, grab a block or something you can rest on. ⠀ 

 

Why is it so good?

Even 30 seconds in this pose in the middle of your day can help with backache, anxiety, stress, digestion issues and menopause. It stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, ankles, hips, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, spine, abs…⠀

 

 

Make the whole process that much easier with all my Leading Ladies over in Yoga LIVE. We’re all there strengthening and stretching our backs, and our monthly challenges are great ways to see and feel your progress. Join us here for $10 a month and get your 2-week free trial. You’re totally capable of feeling strong, steady and pain-free, and I can’t wait to see your achievement. Join Yoga LIVE here.

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