The lower back is a sensitive spot for many people. 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 muscles that then pull on the lower back) are two really common contributing factors to lower back aches and discomfort.
It’s always important to figure out what’s causing pain so you can address it and prevent it from happening again. But in most situations, doing some gentle yoga can help relieve tightness and give your lower back some relief.
Yoga is great for working on flexibility and core stability, correcting posture, and breathing—all of which are necessary for a healthy back. It’s important, though, to make sure you’re in tune with your body and stop doing anything that makes your discomfort worse.
Never stretch into a position of pain. Pain is how our bodies tell us something is wrong. If it actually hurts, ease up on the stretch. If you have an issue that requires medical attention, it’s best to address it before it becomes worse.
1. Boat Pose:
Boat Pose (Navasana) was around long before the yoga world starting talking about core strength and dipping into the Pilates well for new variations on crunches and leg lifts. It remains one of the best ways to focus on your abdominal strength, which helps you do so many other yoga poses, especially gravity-defying arm balances and inversions.
- Keeping your spine long and legs together, come into a V-sit.
- For the easier version, bend your knees or keep your feet on the ground.
- Make it harder by straightening your legs and lifting your arms.
- Hold for five to 15 breaths.
2. Cross-Legged Forward Fold:
- Cross your ankles and fold your torso over your legs, stretching your outer hips for 10 to 15 breaths.
3. Twisting Boat Pose:
- Return to your V-sit and, keeping your spine long and legs together, exhale to twist to one side.
- Inhale to center, then exhale to the other side.
- Continue for five to 10 rounds.
4. Cross-Legged Forward Fold:
- Cross your ankles with the other shin in front and fold your torso over your legs for another 10 to 15 breaths.
5. Listing Boat Pose:
- Return to your V-sit and rock onto your right glute.
- For more of a challenge, lower your legs and upper body closer to the ground.
- Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.
6. Cobbler Pose:
- Bring the soles of your feet to touch and lean forward, stretching your inner thighs for 10 to 15 breaths.
7. Bridge Pose:
- From your back, knees bent, press your hips up and your hands down, engaging your glutes and hamstrings while stretching your hip flexors.
- Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.
8. Locust Y Jumping Jacks:
- Roll to your belly and lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor.
- Move through slow “jumping jacks”.
- Inhale, spread your arms to a Y, and squeeze your legs together, then exhale, bring your arms together, and spread your legs to a Y.
- Repeat five to 15 cycles.