I have struggled with back pain my whole life from having bad posture as a child. Slouching and sitting awkwardly at a desk all day have exacerbated the issue, and a low back strain in 2015 put a damper on my yoga practice. These 5 postures help me release and lessen the pain.
1. BHUJANGASANA (COBRA POSE)
Lay flat on your belly, and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels and draw your belly button in. Press down with your hands as you start to curl your head and shoulder up off the floor. Hold for a few breaths, then lower. This will help to strengthen your lower back muscles.
2. BALASANA (CHILD’S POSE)
Come down your knees and send your hips back towards your heels. Stretch your arms out in front of you, or keep them drawn along the sides of your legs. This will stretch both the lower back and the spine.
3. TRIKONASANA (TRIANGLE POSE)
Start with your feet wider than hip’s distance facing the side of your mat. Turn your left foot inwards at a 45 degree angle. Turn your right foot out to a 90-degree angle. Extend your arms out to a T and start to reach out over the right foot. Keep length in both sides of the waist, and then tilt your torso to reach your right hand down for the right shin. Extend the left fingertips up towards the sky. Triangle pose will strengthening the back and legs but can also help to lengthen to the muscles along the sides of your torso and make space.
4. SUPTA MATSYENDRASANA (GENTLE SPINAL TWIST)
Lay on your back and draw both knees in towards your chest. Press your low back into the mat. Extend both arms out to your sides and then engage the core, lowering the knees to the left. Hold here for at least a minute, relaxing the core muscles. When you’re ready to switch sides, draw the belly button into the spine again and lift the knees through center before letting them fall to the right.
Core exercises will also help to alleviate back strain such as:
5. UTTIHITA CHATURANGA DANDASANA (HIGH PLANK POSE)
Come to hands and knees on the ground. You can choose to stay here and work to draw the belly button in towards the spine. Full plank pose will require lifting your knees and pressing the heels back (you may need to shift your feet back slightly). Press through your heels and lengthen through the collarbone to find extension. This is a core strengthening pose that will help to protect your lower back in other poses.