5 Gentle Yoga Poses For Relieving Back Pain


Published:

Article Illustrations: Jeffrey Longo

If you are struggling with back pain, the only consolation is that you are not alone. Most people deal with some level of back pain in their lifetime. It is one of the most common causes of losing hours at work, not to mention the discomfort and frustration that comes along with not being able to do daily activities. If you are in acute pain, seeing your health practitioner and resting is the best thing to do. If you are able to move around fairly comfortably and are ready to stretch gently, here are some gentle yoga poses to consider. 

To do these poses, place your yoga mat on a carpeted space or use two mats to give enough padding for your spine. Keep a few thick blankets nearby to help position your neck, head and legs comfortably while in position. 

PARTIAL RECLINE
This is one of the simplest yet most effective poses to bring your spine back into alignment. Lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Rest your head on a blanket so it’s in a straight line with the rest of the spine. Make sure it’s not tilted too far up or down. Tuck your tailbone by lifting it up and gently placing it back on the ground. Feel your lower, middle and upper back completely resting on the mat. This position will allow the normal curvatures of your spine to come to a resting place. As you rest here, you can place your hands on your belly and focus on your breath for 2-5 minutes.  

ALTERNATE KNEES TO CHEST
Bring your right knee in towards your chest, place both hands on the knee and give your knee a hug. You can add some ankle rotations here. Take 5-10 breaths, release the leg back on the mat in bent position. Repeat on left side. 

RECLINED TREE POSE
While you are lying down on your back, straighten out your right leg on the mat. Bend your left leg and then drop the left knee towards the ground so that the sole of the left foot can touch some part of your right leg and allow it to rest. You can add a rolled-up blanket under left knee for support. Raise your arms above your head. Allow yourself to gently stretch from head to toe as you inhale. As you exhale, allow your arms to come to a resting place either above the head or by your side.  Your elbows and hands should feel rested. You can use yoga blocks or blankets for support as needed. Stay in this pose for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

RECLINED TWIST
After Reclined Tree Pose, you can bring both knees to chest and rock side to side a few times. Then stretch your arms sideways in T- shape. Rest both feet on the ground with knees in bent position. Drop both knees to the right side and gently turn your head to the left side. This stretch can be very gentle in the beginning and you can go deeper as your spine allows more pain-free movement.  Repeat on the other side. Take 5-10 breaths on each side. 

SHAVASANA WITH SUPPORT UNDER THE KNEES
Keep a rolled-up blanket or a bolster under your knees. Make sure that your feet are on the ground and then allow them to rest completely. Allow your legs, hip and spine to completely rest against the ground. Rest your arms at a slight angle by your hips with palms up and fingers slightly curled. Rest your head on a blanket, close your eyes with your inner eye gaze resting on your breath. Simply notice your breath like a silent witness. You can surrender completely in this pose as the name suggests (shava in Sanskrit means dead, so you can literally play dead here as if you have no control over your body or your breath). Let it go! Stay here as long as you want. 

When you are ready to get up, gently roll over onto your side and stay there for a short time before you begin to get up. Press your weight onto both the elbow of the side you are on and the hand of the opposite arm and slowly raise yourself about halfway, letting your spine and neck hang gently for a bit before slowly continuing to come up to a full and comfortable seated position. You can sit tall and meditate on your breath for 3-5 minutes. The whole practice can be done in 10-20 minutes depending on how long you stay in each pose. As the pain subsides over the next few weeks and you feel stronger to try more poses, talk to a yoga teacher about adding poses for strengthening. 

Ritu Kapur is the owner of Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio in Westborough, MA. She has been working as an occupational therapist with different age groups for over 20 years and is a registered Yoga teacher. You can reach her at Ritu.Kapur@Sohum.org or check out her class schedule at www.SOHUM.org

See also:
Elevating Yoga To The Next Level: An Interview with Yoga Alliance President David Lipsius
Is Most Back Pain Caused By Repressed Emotions?

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

September 22, 2019

Shortly after midnight the Moon settles into her home base, Cancer. The quiet pleasures of familiar places is accented, although a late morning lunar sextile to Uranus may bring unexpected messages or surprise visitors. An informal gathering of close…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2019

It’s time for a workshop!  One plus one always equals two. In a similar fashion EFT plus Law of Attraction always equals effective and positive change. Teaching Emotional Freedom...

Cost: $40

Where:
21 Wiles Farm Road
Northboro, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Medicine My Way
Telephone: 508-523-7132
Website »

More information

In this 90 minute workshop you will find clarity in what brings you joy. You will create your personal vision statement that will help guide you to living a more satisfied, balanced life. This...

Cost: $25 early-bird till 9/20 ($30 after)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Witness the healing power of mediumship! Join New England's own trusted spirit medium Raylene Sousa and top UK medium Dominic Boag from Scotland for an afternoon of spirit messages. If...

Cost: $40

Where:
The Little Meetinghouse
723 Roosevelt Trail
Windham, ME  04062
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Members of the Reflexology Association of NH will be offering “mini” hand or foot reflexology sessions at the Salt Cave within Bien Soigne in honor of World Reflexology Week.

Cost: Donations suggested $15 - $20

Where:
Bien Soigne Salt Cave
350 North Broadway
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: Reflexology Association of NH
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 25–October 29, 2019 Expert Tai Chi instructor and Qigong Master Instructor Terry Dunn will be giving a total of four five-day intensive workshops in October 2019 at Eastover...

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 26–29 This training at the Center for Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) uses mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy to break the cycle of...

Cost: $1,390

Where:
Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
1035 Cambridge St, Suite 21A
Cambridge, MA  02141
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Telephone: 617-591-6132
Contact Name: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Website »

More information

Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Mirabai Starr was an adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years. Her emphasis has always been on making connections between the perennial...

Cost: $20

Where:
First Parish in Lexington
7 Harrington Road
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: Lexington Community Education
Telephone: 781-862-8043
Contact Name: Craig Hall
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Maryellen Labelle, David Sholemson and Steve Cunningham are excited to announce Qigong for Inner Peace teacher training fall term 2019. This 50 hour certification training is appropriate for a wide...

Cost: $1100 / $800 early registration

Where:
Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: Qigong for Inner Peace
Telephone: 617-721-7215
Contact Name: Maryellen Labelle / David Sholemson
Website »

More information

Join life coach Cheryl Richardson and her husband, Michael Gerrish, a psychotherapist and gifted intuitive, for a special evening designed to help you upgrade your life! During this event,...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

This Dating Program is the follow-up to Kerri Morrison's workshop, Deliberate Dating: 5 Keys to Successful Online Romance; held Friday, August 16th, 2019 from 6:30-7:30pm. View that event...

Cost: $199

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn Reiki—revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Laura Haley, IET Master Instructor Trainer  This class provides you with everything you need to conduct a powerful Integrated Energy Therapy session on yourself or others (either in...

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
Methuen, MA


Telephone: (978) 474-8010
Website »

More information

Learn the benefits of yoga for families as well as how to develop character in children to get them more focused, respectful, and confident before returning back to school this fall! This class...

Cost: $45 early bird till 9/25 (includes child and a parent), $50 after

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

September 28–29 Saturday 10 am Registration; 10 am–5 pm  Sunday 10 am–5 pm This practitioner training takes place over 2 days and offers students the opportunity to...

Cost: Course Fee: $450; Recalibration Appointment: $333

Where:
The Hampton Inn Coventry Warwick
850 Centre Of New England Boulevard
Coventry, RI
View map »


Telephone: 617-366-6042
Website »

More information

September 28–29 Learn hands-on techniques for the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, as well as the sacrum, psoas and ilium. Leave with tools you can use right away. Coming in...

Where:
Downeast School of Massage
Waldoboro, ME


Telephone: (617) 678-8920
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags