Back pain is not a lot of fun—no matter whether you get the odd pain every so often, or you suffer with a chronic issue. It can disrupt your day or week, so you’ll want to find something effective that will relieve the pain and reduce the likelihood of a flare-up happening again.
You may have had yoga recommended to you as a long-term option. If you haven’t tried it out yet, and you’re not sure about committing to a term of classes, then there are a few yoga poses that you can try out at home, which may help you decide if yoga class is the choice for you.
Cat and cow pose
This will loosen your back and warm you up, and is great for a sore, achy back. You can use this either as part of your yoga routine, or include it in your warm-up for another workout.
Get onto your hands and knees (all-fours position), and move into the cat pose by pressing your spine up slowly and arching your back. Hold that for a few seconds and then move to cow, by scooping in your spine, press your shoulder blades back and lift your head. Moving between cat and cow will help your spine get into a neutral position, which relaxes your muscles and eases tension.
Upward facing dog
This one will help to open up your chest, stretch your muscles in the abdomen, and engage your back. Lie flat on the floor (tummy down) with your palms face-down by the middle of your ribcage. Draw your legs together, press the top of your feet into the floor, and use the strength in your back—rather than your hands—to lift your chest off the floor. Leave your legs extended out, and hold that position for five to 10 breaths. Repeat this as required.
Downward facing dog
This is a great pose that will give you full-body flexibility and strength. You will get to stretch your lower back, calves, feet, and hamstrings, which will help to release any tightness that you may have along your spine and the back of your body. Downward dog also increases strength of the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and upper back—this is because you push your body into the floor to get the correct alignment.
Push yourself from the floor into the plank pose (if you need to, your knees can be bent). Lift up your buttocks until you’re in a triangle pose—your feet and hands are on the floor, and your hips up. Spread your palms and press firmly onto the floor and, as you push through your shoulders, widen your shoulder blades and pull them back to your tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms, and don’t let it hang. If done correctly, downward dog helps to lengthen the spine and reverse any decompression for the ultimate pain relief.
This is usually a starting point for many practices, and is a basic seating posture in yoga: you just sit in the cross-legged position. The easy pose is a good one to practice if your hips are tight. Hold this position for five to 10 breaths.