#1 Cobra Pose or Upward Facing Dog
Cobra is a common yoga exercise for back pain. I prescribe this exercise to nearly all my clients who present with low back or hip pathology. The reason why this pose is so powerful is based on principles of anatomy. You’ve probably heard of the term “slipped or herniated disc”. Well believe it or not, there is a high prevalence of asymptomatic disc problems in most adults. It may only take lifting one heavy object the wrong way to bring on symptoms though. When a disc herniates, it goes into a posterior lateral direction. In other words, when a disc slips it moves backwards causing increased pain which sometimes even radiates down the leg. Cobra pose and upward facing dog alike, promote spinal movement which brings the disc material more anteriorly, towards the front, where it belongs. Try it for yourself but remember, this is not personalized medical advice. If you have pain, please seek out physical therapy or a physician for further work up.
#2 Downward Facing Dog
A classic pose with so many benefits; this is a yoga exercise to reduce back pain. Not only will you lengthen the spine but this pose offers a great lower body stretch. Often times, back pain is the result of tight hamstrings, IT band, or hip flexors. This pose in particular will stretch the hamstrings, calves, and back muscles. If you have shoulder issues/pain, this is probably not the pose you should be trying though until its medically cleared by your physical therapist. Do what feels good and don’t forget to listen to your body. A little discomfort is okay but never push through pain.
#3 Warrior 3
“I have no balance” is a quote I hear nearly daily from my clients. You absolutely have balance receptors but you need to train them, the same way you would train muscles to get stronger. A warrior 3 pose/bird dip is a perfect place to start. This yoga exercise for low back pain can also be helpful to reduce pain caused by chronic ankle sprains, a hamstring strain, or hip dysfunction. Here are a few tips to remember:
- really ground down into the floor with toes
- keep your core tight
- practice the hip hinge to allow for a flat back
- keep a micro bend in the standing knee
- arms can be on your hips, in airplane form as shown in the photo, or reaching out in front for a true warrior 3
The Essentials for a Successful Yoga Practice
- Yoga strap – purchase on Amazon here
- Yoga mat – purchase on Amazon here
- Water bottle – find my favorite one for yoga on Amazon here
- Yoga block – purchase on Amazon here
- Yoga wheel – there are a variety of ways to use a yoga wheel. I show an example of how I use the wheel in the video below. Purchase on Amazon here.
Please note these are affiliate links and while this will not affect you, by using my link I will receive a very small commission from Amazon which is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance & I hope you enjoy these products as much as I do!
... Just for Fun
Happy Practicing. Namaste!