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Practice These 12 Yoga Poses for Back Pain for Real Relief

We all sit: in our cars, on our couches, at work, while eating. We sit, sit, sit. And then we sit some more. Sitting is the new smoking. Luckily, there are many yoga poses for back pain to help alleviate tension and pain.

After making it to the big leagues (aka cubicle life), I noticed a major shift in my overall energy and health. The key driver behind this shift was – drumroll please – sitting. Sitting is leading to a nationwide epidemic, and many suffer from the neck down to the tailbone.

If this sounds like you, read on for twelve yoga poses for back pain relief.


Here Are 12 Yoga Poses for Back Pain to Relieve Tension and Make Your Back Feel Better:

How can we relieve and ultimately reverse the aches and pains from our sedentary lifestyles? Try these 12 yoga poses for back pain to find some relief!

1. Apanasana


Lets’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with legs and arms extended long
  • Bring both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them
  • Keep your back flat on the mat and draw your tailbone and sacrum toward the ground to lengthen your spine
  • If you’re comfortable, rock gently from side to side to massage your spine


2. Ardha Apanasana

Ardha Apanasana

Let’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with legs and arms extended long
  • Bring both knees into your chest and clasp your hands around them
  • Hold your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg long
  • If you’re comfortable, rock your knee from armpit to chest and then find stillness wherever is comfortable
  • Stay for a minute and feel any back pain or tension ease, and then switch to the other leg


3. Supine Spinal Twist

spinal twist

spinal twist 2

Let’s try it:

  • Begin from the yoga for back pain pose above with your right knee hugging into your chest
  • Roll onto your left hip as you soften your right knee toward the ground
  • Extend your right arm out along the floor, about the height of your shoulder
  • Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee
  • Let your right knee become heavy, slowly releasing farther toward the floor
  • Stay for 10 to 30 breaths
  • Gently engage your lower belly and bring both knees back to center
  • Repeat on the left side

Twist Your Way to a Healthier Spine With These 8 Yoga Poses (Photo Tutorial)

4. Cat/Cow Pose

cow pose

cat pose

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a neutral tabletop position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips over your knees
  • Inhale and soften your belly toward the ground, lift your tailbone skyward, roll your shoulders back, broaden your collarbones, lift your chin slightly, and gaze toward the ceiling
  • Exhale and lower your tailbone toward the ground, round your back, draw your belly up and in, and allow your head and neck to completely relax
  • Repeat this movement five to 10 times


5. Forward Fold

forward fold

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose and bring your hands to your hips
  • Exhale, bend your knees and release your entire body toward the ground
  • Keep a bend in your knees, as deep or mild as you choose
  • Let your chest, head, and neck completely relax and melt down
  • Engage your quadriceps to let your hamstrings release
  • Inhale and gently feel your torso lift and lengthen
  • Exhale and release deeper in the posture


6. Downward Facing Dog

downward facing dog

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a neutral tabletop position
  • Spread your fingers wide
  • Exhale and curl your toes under, lift your knees off the ground, send your hips back and high toward the ceiling, lengthen your arms long, and keep your head and neck in line with your arms
  • Imagine your body is making an upside down V-shape
  • Keep your knees bent to allow expansion and relief across your lower back
  • Stay for as long as your heart desires, then exhale your knees back to the ground into a neutral tabletop position



7. Child’s Pose

child's pose

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a neutral tabletop position
  • Bring your knees together, sit back onto your heels, then gently release your torso to the ground
  • Your arms can drape behind your body with your palms up or they can extend long toward the front of your mat with your palms down
  • Rest your forehead softly on the ground and lengthen the back of your neck
  • Gently close your eyes and let gravity do the work


8. Rabbit Pose

rabbit pose

Let’s try it:

  • From Child’s Pose, bring your hands to the backs of your heels and pull your forehead in toward your knees with the top of your head resting on the floor
  • Inhale and lift your hips toward the ceiling, roll onto the crown of your head, and press your forehead as close to your knees as possible
  • Hold for five to 10 deep breaths
  • Exhale and lower your hips to your heels and slide your forehead forward to resume Child’s Pose


9. Thread the Needle

thread the needle

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a neutral tabletop position and start on the right side
  • Inhale and send your right hand straight up to the sky and open your heart
  • Exhale and thread your right hand through and underneath your left arm with your palm facing up
  • Let your right shoulder and ear relax down to the ground
  • Keep your left hand planted, extend it long in front of you or wrap it around your opposite hip for a bind
  • Soften, relax, and melt into the posture – let all tension release
  • To come out, press into your left hand, slide your right arm out from underneath, and return to tabletop
  • Repeat on the left side


10. Pigeon Pose

pigeon pose

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a neutral tabletop position
  • Bring your right knee to your right wrist and your right ankle toward your left wrist
  • Extend your left leg back with your kneecap and the top of your foot resting on the floor
  • Inhale and press your fingertips into the ground and lengthen through the front side of your body.
  • Exhale and release your torso to the ground, a block, or your forearms
  • Focus on keeping your hips squared to the front of your mat
  • Hold the pose for up to a minute while focusing a deep breath into your back pain areas

11. Happy Baby

happy baby

Let’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with your knees drawing into your chest
  • Grab hold of the outer edges of your feet with your hands
  • Flex your feet and engage your arms
  • Bring your knees wide and draw them toward your armpits
  • Use your arm strength to bring your knees closer to the ground and release your lower back into the mat
  • Stay for as long as you like, rock gently from side to side, and breathe


12. Legs Up the Wall


Let’s try it:

  • Find a wall with plenty of space to stretch alongside it
  • Press your sitting bones against the wall or a few inches away from it
  • Rest your back on the ground and stretch your legs straight up the wall with your knees soft
  • Take a moment to adjust your body and find what works best for you. Feel free to use bolsters and blankets for added comfort
  • Completely relax into the posture – let your entire body melt, soften, and surrender to the ground beneath you
  • Stay here for as long as your heart desires and enjoy the release of back pain!

Another yogi secret is the massage ball. Here’s How to Use a Massage Ball to Relieve Back Pain (Video Tutorial)

Feel Better With These Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Sitting is leading to a nationwide epidemic. Millions of people suffer from back and neck pain every year with most cases stemming from our modern sedentary lifestyles.

These yoga poses for back pain are a general guideline to help with back pain and can be performed in any specific order. Always listen to your body, breathe deeply into the postures, and back out if any pain arises. You are your own best teacher!

The above yoga poses for back pain barely scratch the surface of how yoga can restore the body, especially for those who suffer from back pain. Seek out a yoga workshop, a private yoga lesson, or a yoga therapist to learn more about your body and how yoga can help.

Have you tried using a foam roller? Here’s How to Use a Foam Roller to Relieve Low Back Pain (Video)

Take this Yoga Class to Help Relieve Your Back Pain

Yoga Class
With Ashton August

This 35-minute yoga class from our YA Classes library is ideal for yogis of all levels. Follow along with Ashton August as she guides you through a yoga class designed to help ease back pain, strengthen your spine, and increase mobility in your back body.

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How to Use a Foam Roller to Relieve Low Back Pain (Video)
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Allie Flavio

Allie is the soul behind and a yoga girl at heart. When Allie’s not blogging about yoga/travel advice or doing/teaching yoga, you can find her relaxing by the beach in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. A born and raised Florida girl, Allie is an outdoor junkie who loves the ocean, fresh air, and a delicious fish sandwich! To learn more about her yoga and travel adventures, check out her blog The Journey Junkie.

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