Tuesday, November 28, 2023
HomePainWhat Yoga Poses To Avoid With Lower Back Pain

What Yoga Poses To Avoid With Lower Back Pain

Engage Your Inner Thighs

In plank position, upward facing dog, mountain pose, and many other poses, squeezing the inner thighs towards each other can be a cue thats overlooked or not stated. Whether your inner thighs are touching or not, intentionally squeezing them towards the midline of your body is important to keep the core and centerline tight. This can help prevent low back pain and even help improve posture.

Yoga Poses That Can Make Your Back Pain Worse

Yoga is often thought of as a restorative practice, since many poses are gentle and focus on stretching and flexibility. And plenty of people, including some athletes, even use it to help them recover from an injury, as the slower pace of yoga helps them ease back into movement. The flip side: Yoga also has the potential to cause injuries or worsen themespecially if you already have back problems.

“If you have impingement issues or any kind of structural imbalance, you’ll want to let your instructor know ahead of time,” says Angel DeSantis, instructor at CorePower Yoga in Austin, TX. While people with back pain can certainly practice yoga, there are several poses they ought to avoid or modify to make them safer. Here are six to watch out for.

This pose is supposed to make you feel a stretch in the , but it can also stretch out the lower back. Skip it if you have low back pain or a disk issue, says DeSantis.

If you have a hard time transferring weight or you have an issue with bulging disks in your lower back, stay away from any type of twist. “Twists can put too much pressure on the disks,” says celebrity yoga instructorKristin McGee. “People tend to over-muscle themselves into it instead of using their abdominals to lead the movement, which can result in serious injury.”

Paripurna Navasana Boat Pose


Although Boat Pose is an effective way to engage the core, it also causes you to tilt the lumbar spine in a manner that can worsen back issues.


Modify this pose by tucking your pelvis rather than tilting it outward. Keep the knees bent with the shins parallel to the floor, and perhaps use your hands on the floor for extra support.

Work From The Ground Up

One of my teaching mentors would say, in order to improve a yoga pose, its best to start from the ground up, in most cases from your feet and legs.

If youve dealt with low back pain in your backbends, start firming your leg muscles and roll your thighs inwardly as though you were squeezing a yoga block between them. This reduces stress to the sacrum, which can come from too much outward or external rotation in the legs.

Mountain Pose To Forward Bend

Best Yoga Poses To Eliminate Lower Back Pain

For this pose to be done safely, yogis must keep the pelvis level – and keep hips from falling back in order to touch the floor.

Although the urge to want to touch the floor is normal, it is important to be aware of your back position as you do so – as it is common for it to become too rounded.

Additionally, if your shoulders are rounded or elevated or falling towards your ears, it puts pressure on them.

The Goal Of Yoga Poses

When you do yoga posesyou can do them standing, sitting, and lying downyou should feel comfortable in them. But before getting to the more advanced poses, you have to practice the easier versions of the poses.

Think about it: If you’ve never trained for a marathon before, you wouldn’t just force your body into running 26.2 miles, would you? Why would you want to force your body into certain yoga poses if your body’s not ready for them?

When Is Exercise Appropriate

Low back pain due to muscle strain or muscle spasm is amenable to exercise. But if the pain traces to a problem in the spine, approach exercise more cautiously. One common warning sign of a spine-related problem is sciatica, or pain that radiates from the back down into the leg. The pain may be accompanied by a tingling “pins and needles” sensation. If you have sciatica, don’t begin a new exercise program without speaking to a doctor.

Less commonly, low back pain can be a “red flag” that warrants immediate medical attention if it takes any of these forms:

  • back pain with fever

  • pain that does not improve or worsens

  • numbness in the groin

  • loss of bladder or bowel control

  • leg weakness

  • inability to find a comfortable sitting or sleeping position during episodes of back pain.

#6 Reclined Pigeon Pose

Reclined Pigeon Pose allows you to open your hips. Plus, it helps stretch your quads and hamstrings. Supta Kapotasana is actually considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the physical body for more intense yoga poses.

Benefits of Supta Kapotasana include:

  • improves circulation in the lower back and hips;
  • helps you feel balanced and relaxed;
  • improves digestion;
  • increases circulation in the pelvic area of the body;
  • relieves piriformis pain ;
  • increases the range of motion in the hips.

#9 Supine Spinal Twist

Supta Matsyendrasana, better known as Spinal Twist Pose, is an excellent posture that encourages movement and mobility throughout the entire back.

Additional benefits of Supta Matsyendrasana are:

  • promotes detoxification;
  • improves circulation in the hips and lower back;
  • improves digestion.

Tip  it is recommended that you should breathe smoothly and deeply throughout Supta Matsyendrasana.

Contraindication do not practice this pose if you have a recent injury to the back or knees.

READ MORE:27 Celebrities Who Practice Yoga

Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain

Yoga is one of the best and most fun ways to care for your spine. Each practice is unique and you can modify any movement to fit your particular spine health needs. Many yogis have dedicated classes or movements toward relieving back or neck pain.

We want to offer you a few poses to consider using if you are attempting to deal with that kind of pain.

  • Seated Figure FourUse this common yoga pose to stretch both hips and relieve back pain. Notice the comforting feeling of stretch. Sit on your tailbone, lean back slightly onto your hands. Place your ankle over the knee of the opposite leg, keeping the shin parallel to the floor. Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • 2. Bridge PoseBegin by laying flat on the ground or a mat. Bend the knees leaving your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise hip upwards, paying attention to any pain or discomfort. Keep core tight and lean into the shoulders. Raise hips as high as is comfortable. Be sure to squeeze the glutes and core. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

    3. Cat-Cow PoseThis is one of the most common yoga poses, used in nearly every practice. Position yourself on all fours. Take a deep breath as you extend your belly downward and your neck upward, slowly. Slightly arch the back and let all the air out to full cow pose. As you breath in, raise your spine and lower your neck in line with the spine toward cat pose. Repeat these two exercises slowly each at least five times.

    What Styles Of Yoga Should I Practice When I Have Lower Back Pain


    Iyengar emphasizes the importance of alignment, which is key to keeping protecting the lower back. Iyengar teachers are expertly trained in anatomy and guide students to stack their bones for support. This eases the aches and pains caused by overcompensation.


    Restorative yoga is excellent when you need to relax and loosen tension in all areas of the body. The postures in this practice are long-held and gentle, so the risk of worsening an injury is very minimal.

    Sarvangasana Shoulder Stand Pose


    Shoulderstand isnt advised for those with sensitivity in the lower back or neck as it tends to put a dangerous amount of pressure on those areas when performed incorrectly. When done correctly, it can help strengthen the core and upper body, but those with weakness in the core and shoulders tend to compensate in ways that place strain on the neck and back.


    If youre looking for a mild inversion that wont exacerbate your lower back pain, try Waterfall Pose. Lying on your back, bring a block under the sacrum and send your legs toward the ceiling.

    Extended West Stretch At The Wall

    Exercises to solve lower back pain once and for all

    The common actions of bending, lifting, and twisting all have a tendency to compress and shorten the spine. This efficient pose offers three benefits: 

    • A stretch for the hamstring and latissimus dorsi muscles

    • Decompression for the front of the spine and intervertebral discs

    • Toning for the posterior spinal muscles

    Practice Tips:

  • Place your toes up on the wall at a 45-degree angle.

  • Take a giant step back with the opposite leg. Keep your heels on opposite sides of the centerline. Avoid crossing the midline when you place your back foot.

  • Face your hips toward the wall and walk your hands up until your spine is fully extended.

  • Wrap your outer arm toward the wall and draw your anterior bottom ribs back.

  • Press your top thighs and sit bones back away from the wall.

  • Caution: Be sure to extend your spine fully. Reach back with one hand and feel your lumbar spine. If you feel your spinous process poking up, move your hands higher up the wall and stretch your sit bones further back until you feel a valley there instead.  

  • May your life be blessed with yoga.



    Reprinted with permission from Lillah Schwartz/Yogawithlillah.com



    Most Common Yoga Injuries And How To Avoid Them

    Yoga teaches you how to push past your limits, but not at the expense of your body.

    But, if youre not careful, yoga can also cause , particularly to your wrists, lower back, shoulders, elbows, knees, hamstrings, and neck.Aaptiv has yoga workouts and trainers that will help you avoid injury. Learn more about Aaptiv here.

    In fact, a 2016 discovered that yoga-related injuries have nearly doubled from 2001 to 2014.

    Our experts dive into the six most common yoga injuries. Here is how you can avoid them to get the most out of your time on the mat.

    Daily Moves To Prevent Low Back Pain

    Stretching and strengthening daily is your best bet to delay the next attack of low back pain.

    When low back pain flares up, most men can’t do more than grit their teeth, reach for a numbing cold pack, and wait for it to get better. Four out of five of us experience low back pain sometime in our lives, but this common source of suffering is also an opportunity.

    “An episode of acute low back pain is a call to action for people who are simply not exercisers,” says Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of orthopedic surgery and medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It is a good time to make a commitment to exercise when you are starting to feel a bit bettertypically in a few weeks.”

    It’s important to understand that exercise is not guaranteed to eliminate back pain; however, exercise could make it less frequent. “You could have a lower risk of flare-ups over the subsequent year,” Dr. Katz says.

    Yoga Poses For Back Pain

    Even the simple poses described below can help you reap the benefits of yoga. However, these poses and the number of times you do them every day are general guidelines for how to maintain a healthy spine. Talk to your doctor before incorporating these yoga poses into your routine.

    Cat/Cow Stretch

    • Start on all fourson your hands and knees. Your hands and arms should be shoulder-distance apart and your knees should be hip-distance apart.
    • Inhale, and then as you exhale, slowly start to draw your navel toward your spine and gently tuck your tailbone.
    • As you inhale again, repeat the pose. Be sure to link your breath to your movement.
    • Repeat the cat/cow stretch 5 to 10 times once a day.

    Yoga Cat Pose. Photo Source: 123RF.com. Standing Forward Fold

    Bridge Pose

    • Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Your feet should be hip-distance apart.
    • With your arms straight by the sides of your body and your palms on the ground, slowly start to lift your hips off the floor. Hold this for 3 seconds.
    • Slowly roll back down to the floor, vertebra by vertebra.
    • Repeat the bridge pose 3 times once a day.

    Yoga Bridge Pose. Photo Source: 123RF.com.In addition, with back pain, your abdominal muscles may be weak, so while it’s important to choose yoga poses that lengthen and strengthen your spine, you should also do poses that develop strong abdominals, such as opposite hands and knees balance.

    Opposite Hands and Knees Balance

    Yoga Poses For Low Back Health

    While learning to practice yoga at home is challenging, especially with all the other tasks and duties vying for our attention. Still, regular practice does offer the best long-term benefits. A 2012 study of more than 1,000 yoga students demonstrated that the frequency of home practice predicted favorable health attributes, such as levels of mindfulness, subjective wellbeing, body-mass index , and improved eating habits and sleep. 

    In this blog, I am offering you four simple yoga poses you could do every day to wake up and condition both your connective tissues and muscles to reduce your incidence of back pain.

    Life happens. And the lower back tends to take the brunt of overwork and minimal attention until back pain gets loud enough to cause us to slow down. It is possible to keep your back pain-free with a few yoga moves. In a short 15-minute practice, you can help your back perform its best throughout your day. While this is not an extensive list of poses for total lower back strength and balance, these basics repeated often will serve you well.

    How Yoga Can Help Reduce Back Pain

    Yoga is a very popular and safe form of exercise. Many people think of yoga as just a good way to relieve stress and tension, but it can also help you reduce back pain and maintain a healthy spine. Yoga poses, called asanas, are important because they help stretch and strengthen important back muscles.

    Although there’s more to yoga than the posturesbreath control and meditation are just as essential as poses are in yogathis article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can prevent back pain.

    This article highlights the benefits of doing yoga poses, including how they can help prevent back pain. Photo Source: 123RF.com.

    Strong Abs Will Help Protect The Lower Back

    Yoga poses to avoid with lower back pain. Childs pose- For individuals with a more exaggerated lower back curve I have seen this help by working gently against the curve. If you have a hard time transferring weight or you have an issue with bulging disks in your lower back stay away from any type of twist. Hinge back without rounding in the lower back as you lift your legs out in front of you at a 45-degree angle.

    Yogas benefits are multiple. In most yoga poses and throughout your day whether sitting or standing its important to maintain the natural inward curve in your lower back to keep the back of your head lined up with the back of your pelvis not dropping the head forward or back and to keep your shoulders broad and stacked right over your hips. This can cause problems if you have low back.

    If this is too much for you try resting your palms on a yoga block or a chunky book. If you already experience back pain or have an existing specific back injury please work closely with an experienced yoga teacher or better yet consult your physician before practicing the following postures. This pose makes for an effective psoas muscle stretch.

    While there can be a ton of causes of lower back pain a weak core and poor posture from sitting all day and consequently shortening the hip. Whether you have low back pain or are just trying to keep your spine feeing great here are five poses for you. Turn your right toes to face forward and your left toes out at an angle.

    Yoga Poses To Relieve Back Pain

    October 10, 2019 | , Pain Management | 2019-10-1002 October 2019

    Yoga can be extremely beneficial for those experiencing back pain, including occasional soreness and chronic pain. So, what makes yoga so much better for back pain than other fitness routines? Yoga is one of the only workouts that emphasizes stretching, strength, and flexibility. Recent studies have found that practicing yoga relieves symptoms caused by back pain better than stretching alone. The same study found that those who practice yoga regularly are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications than those who attempt to manage symptoms on their own.Did you know? Those who practice yoga regularly are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications than those who attempt to manage symptoms on their own.

    So which poses should you incorporate into your routine for the most effective pain relief? Weve compiled a list of nine poses below, along with instructions on how to perform them, to help manage your back pain symptoms. All of the poses should be held for 3-5 breaths, or as long as comfortably possible.

    It should be noted that people with severe back pain should not attempt to use yoga for symptom relief. And remember, it is always a good idea to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program.

    When To Start Exercising

    Yoga poses lower back pain

    When back pain is severe, remain up and around to the extent possible. Extended bed rest is not good during a bout of severe back pain, but neither is rushing into stretching and strengthening exercises, according to research.

    “If you have an episode of low back pain and try to start exercising the next day, that turns out not to be that helpful,” Dr. Katz says. Instead, resume your normal activities as soon as possible, but avoid lifting heavy weight and engaging in physical activities that exert sudden stresses on your back, like jogging or shoveling snow.

    Lower Back Pain Relief Yoga Sequence #4b: Thread The Needle


    Lying on your back, bend both knees with the feet flat on the ground. Bend the right knee like a figure four, with the outer left ankle to the right thigh. Lift the left foot into the air, bringing the left calf parallel to the ground. Thread your right hand between the opening of the legs and interlace your hands behind your left thigh. Hold 2-3 minutes and then repeat on the other side.


    Not Just About The Back Or The Core

    Yet, as simple as backbends may appear, they can be rather involved poses.

    A backbend is not just about bending your spine. You might have heard that the key to a healthy back lies in a healthy core. Indeed, there is a direct relationship between the abdominals and spineyour core enables movement and supports your trunk.

    Before you decide on crunches as your remedy for back pain, however, you might be surprised to learn that there are better ways to strengthen your backbends.

    In addition to abs and obliques, your legs, hips, chest, and shoulders often need to actively contribute as well, in order to cultivate a sustainable, healthy backbend.

    In a backbend, your legs and hips anchor and stabilize the pose, while the trunk and shoulders distribute the extension to the upper back, where the spine is usually less backbend-y. When all these parts work together with an engaged breath, your backbends become freer, happier, and more enriching.

    Mountain Pose Or Tadasana

    The elevating yoga position is supposed to be very useful in alleviating back pain. This posture needs the utmost level of your attention because it offers the best results; that is if you know what you are doing.

    It develops an ideal spinal alignment and offers an instant relief for back pains. It is also a must for patients with back pain.

    The Power Of Yoga To Treat Back Pain

    While severe back pain due to a recent injury should always be examined by a doctor, chronic and moderate-level back pain can often be assisted with the power of yoga. Yoga naturally helps strengthen and lengthen your spine, stretch your muscles, and fix your backs alignment, which can often be at the root cause of persistent back pain for those of us who sit at a desk all day.

    In fact, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, chronic back pain sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis were half as likely to need pain pills or over the counter treatments for their pain as non-yogis. There are specific yoga poses that help to alleviate back pain more than others, and they have been outlined below. Do the following pain-relieving yoga sequence two to three times a week to start feeling back pain relief.

    Related: The Power of Choosing Exercise to Treat Back Pain 

    What Actually Hurts When We Have Lower Back Pain

    Your lower back consists of the five lumbar vertebrae at the bottom of your spine . The lumbar vertebrae are the largest when compared to the rest of your spine and help support your upper and lower body, allow you to twist and move your torso, and protect your spinal cord. There is also a complex network of ligaments, muscles, and tendons here to help everything move properly and stay in place.

    The lumbar region handles high stress and heavy loads when youre walking, running, lifting, carrying, or doing just about anythingwhich is why its no surprise that lower back pain is so common.

    There are a few issues that can cause lower back pain. A bulging disk happens when the cushioning between your vertebrae gets compressed and cant do its job properly. Herniated disks can cause pinched nerves. But often, lower back pain is a symptom of a strain or tear that occurred as a result of weakened muscles.

    See also:Hurty Hips or a Cranky Low Back? Try This Sacroiliac Joint-Inspired Sequence

    Lower Back Pain Relief Yoga Sequence #3: Sphinx


    Lying on your stomach, prop yourself up on your forearms. Align your elbows directly under your shoulders. Press firmly through your palms and the tops of your feet. Press your pubic bone forward. You will feel sensations in your lower back, but breathe through it. You are allowing blood flow into the lower back for healing. Hold for 1-3 minutes.


    Urdhva Dhanurasana Full Wheel Pose


    This posture is an advanced backbend that requires a lot of strength and flexibility. Its not suited to beginners, or even some intermediate students, and should always be practiced with caution. Regardless of experience level, all yogis should steer clear of this pose if they have back issues because it puts extra pressure on the spine.


    Instead of taking your backbend to new heights, try modifying with Half Wheel Pose or Supported Bridge Pose. Youll still get a heart-opening backbend without the risk of injury.

    Yoga Poses And Modifications To Avoid Back Injury

    Yoga poses for lower back pain

    Bruce ChungYoga Teacher and Trainer

    Yoga Teacher; World Traveler; Proud Canadian View more

    Back pain is fairly common and can result from injury such as a sprain or a strain. It can be brought on by simple movements or more strenuous actions, like lifting heavy objects. Physical exercise such as weight lifting and yoga can also result in back injury when not performed properly.

    As practitioners of yoga, we want to create a practice that is safe and sustainable ensuring longevity. The following are 5 yoga poses and modifications that will help to keep the back safe , preventing injury.

    NB: If you already experience back pain or have an existing, specific back injury, please work closely with an experienced yoga teacher or better yet, consult your physician before practicing the following postures.


    Popular Articles