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7 Yin Yoga Poses to Cure Back Pain

My Yoga Teacher

Posted on Jan 24, 2021 #recent

There is honestly no pain like back pain.

That’s not to say back pain is the worst pain in the world, but it may seem that way to you, as it does to many people.

Every movement you make requires your back, and when it’s injured, tensed up, or spasming, all movements are painful movements.

Not to mention the mental and emotional stress that accompanies pain.

Many times, structural problems aren’t even the cause of back pain. Actually, stress and immune problems are the most common causes.

It is possible to cure back pain with yoga. Maybe not all back pain, but a lot of it.

Yin yoga is a slow practice of holding poses while encouraging your muscles to release and relax. It’s also a meditation practice to ease anxiety and stress due to the pain.

The Emotional Connection to Back Pain

Often, injury occurs due to unregulated emotions. We’re angry, sad, hurt, anxious, stressed. It affects our posture and how we move. And our body is out of alignment. We make more mistakes and don’t think clearly when we’re experiencing negative emotions.

The flip side of the coin is injuries and pain cause us to be more emotional.

Whichever the case, the result is the same. Muscles around the injury spasm and contract to protect the weakened area, which results in pain.

And the cycle of emotions from pain causes muscle tension which causes more pain. It’s a circle…

With that being said, we invite you to try the yin yoga poses below as a part of a regular yin yoga practice for back pain. Or check out myYogaTeacher’s Back Pain Program for multiple classes and 3 free 1 on 1 sessions with an expert trainer!

1. Butterfly Pose

Butterfly pose is a common stretch for back pain. Used in many types of yoga practices, this pose also helps stretch and lengthen the neck and release the hip flexor muscles.

In a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet together and let your knees fall open. Your heels should be a good distance from your body so that the opening between them is a diamond shape.

Slowly round your back and fold gently into the pose. Hold for 1-5 minutes.

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2. Caterpillar Pose

Caterpillar pose, aka seated forward bend. This pose is amazing for lengthening the ligaments that run along your spine, as well as your hamstrings. It also compresses your abdomen, aiding in digestion. Bonus.

In a seated position, stretch your legs out straight in front of you, fold forward from your hips. Round your back slowly and drop your head. Allow your legs to relax and your feet to fall inward or outward. Hold for 3-5 minutes.

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3. Sphinx Pose

If you’re someone who sits a lot or has issues with the curvature of your lower spine, this pose is the one for you. Sphinx pose opens up your chest, lungs, and stretches your lower back. It is also a great pose to replace Cobra Pose if you have weak or sore wrists.

Lay on your belly with legs straight out behind you, tops of feet stretching out against the floor. Rotate your thighs inwardly by rotating your outer thighs towards the floor. This will help broaden out your back and open the sacrum.

Then, set your elbows on the floor underneath your shoulders, forearms out and parallel to each other. Palms flat on the floor. Draw your lower belly away from the floor slightly and gently.

Hold pose for 1-3 minutes. (See headline image for reference!)

4. Banana Pose

Banana pose is kind of a whimsical pose that stretches and lengthens the superficial muscles of the lower back and deep back muscles. The goal is to improve shoulder mobility and cure lower back pain.

Lying flat on your back, legs outstretched, reach your arms above your head and stretch them out towards the wall behind you. Take one hand and grab the wrist of the other arm and pull gently.

Move the leg on the same side as the wrist you're grabbing and move it towards the outer corner of your mat. Take the other leg and move it towards the center of the mat and cross your ankle over that of the other one.

So you’ll look like a...banana! Hold for 3-5 minutes.

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5. Reclining Twists

Reclining twists are perfect for releasing tension in the lower back and stretching out the hip and gluteal muscles. Don’t underestimate this common pose used in many post exercise routines by people everywhere!

Begin by lying flat on your back. Bring your knees to your chest and stretch your arms out in a T, palms up facing the ceiling. Inhale and release your knees over to one side as you exhale. Lengthen your spine down towards the ground. Press your shoulder blades down towards the floor. Hold this pose on each side for 1-5 minutes.

If the pose is too intense using both legs, try extending one leg out and down towards (or onto the floor). Or, if your bottom knee doesn’t reach the ground, try putting a block or blanket

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6. Eye of the Needle Pose

This is a nice, deep hip opening pose that releases tension in the lower back. Spend some time with this pose on each side. You’ll feel the difference in your back after this yin yoga pose!

Lay flat on your back, knees up, feet flat on the floor. Cross the right ankle over your left knee, creating a figure four. Lift your left knee up towards your chest and reach through the figure four with your right hand. Reach your left hand around your left thigh and grab your right hand or wrist.

Be sure to keep your head on the floor or place a pillow under your head for more comfort! Hold this pose 1-5 minutes on each side.

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7. Child's Pose

Enjoy the deep relaxation and meditation of prayer pose. This yin yoga pose is adaptable for all levels of fitness and is an excellent stretch for back pain.

Feel free to use a block, pillow or blanket under your forehead if you aren’t able to rest it comfortably on the floor.

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There are many ways to relieve back pain with yoga. Yin yoga is one of the best ways because you spend time in each pose relaxing, breathing, meditating. You become more aware of where you’re holding tension in your body and you’re better able to release it. The meditation aspect also reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Which is better for your body, including your back.

Need more yin yoga poses than what we’ve provided here? We invite you to take part of our Back Pain Program, where you’ll get 2 weeks of unlimited group classes.Classes like Yoga for Back Pain, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Core Strengthening, Gentle Yoga, and Chair Yoga. Also, we feel the best way to relieve back pain through yoga is by working 1 on 1 with a specialized trainer. That’s why with our Back Pain Program, you’ll get 3 free 1 on 1 sessions (a $300 value at any studio)! Learn more about our program here!

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