10 Yoga Poses and Exercises for Back Pain
Did you know that among the tons of benefits of yoga, it can alleviate allergy symptoms? I definitely didn't, and as the pollen continues to rage war against my sinuses for the 25th year in a row, there's not a lot of things I wouldn't try to get it to stop.
But I'm not writing this post to complain about my allergy pains.
I AM, however, writing this post to complain about my back pains.
After a brief stint with a yoga routine this fall, the amount of time I spent doing anything yoga related slowly decreased to nothing while I focused on other aspects of my training.
Keeping up with body maintenance routines is so important, but its not always the easiest to do. We forget, make excuses, or don't see the benefits right away and stop caring to do it.
It doesn't matter if you're an elite athlete or someone with a 9-5 desk job, regular stretching and mobility exercises can and should be a part of your routine. Not only does it increase athletic performance, it improves circulation, joint movement, muscular function, and stress levels. Feel better, do things better!
However, after a long day of work, taking valuable free time to configure yourself into some distorted pose could be the very last thing you want to do.
...if you even remember it, that is.
You don't always see immediate results or pay offs, but implementing movement into your daily routines WILL improve how you feel in the long run.
I recently have been experiencing lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain. If you don't know, this nerve runs from the lower back through the butt and all the way down each leg. So when the pain was radiating through the entire nerve, my whole leg was bothering me.
As unfortunate as this was, I've started to develop a routine that helps keep my lower back, hips, and glutes more mobile, in order to offset lower back pain and hopefully never feel the nerve again. (fingers crossed)
So without further ado, the yoga-inspired exercises that leave me feeling loose and more mobile. The images can give you a good idea, but many of these exercises are dynamic, so watch the video (at the end of this post) to make them most effective!
low lunge with knee to ground: feel this in the hips, hold for a great stretch
low lunge with knee raised: just like the position above, with knee lifted up (by straightening back leg)
low hip opener: from a raised plank position, bring one knee up to your chest and place the foot outside hands. hold. I also like to use this for spine mobility, by reaching up to sky with same arm. bring back down.
seated figure 4: seated, cross right right leg by placing ankle on left knee. hold or rotate by swinging knee back and forth for a dynamic mobility movement. watch the video at the end for the full move!
cat-cow: the position pictured is the cat pose, to get to cow, maintain same body position but arch back the other way. rotate between the two breathing slowly. watch the video at the end for a full clip!
cat-cobra: cat is the position in the picture above, breathe in and hold cat, then as you exhale drop the hips and come forward and fully exhale with back arched. repeat.
quad-hip flexor- arm can be down, reach up to lengthen through your fingertips, feels great. this can be a held stretch or dynamic rocking back and forth (preferred)
90 90- keep knees at a 90 degree angle and rotate purposefully trying to keep butt to floor
kneeling T-spine rotators- really reach up and keep your back from arching in
reclined cow- I also like to do this one sitting up, legs crossed, leaning forward (if I can) -amazing stretch!
If you want to watch a video of the movements, you can find one here!
Hope these make a difference for you, just as they have for me! Know a great movement or variation of these exercises? Please share with me!
p.s.- I'm not a certified yoga instructor. All of these exercises are derived from more experienced yoga routines- and they work for me :)