You don’t need me to tell you that yoga stabilizes the mind and body relation. But, did you know this age-old exercise strengthens neuropathways, improves proprioception, and can unblock neurological blind spots too? This is why yoga for back pain – usually activated by sitting or standing in a bad position – has dropped its hippy-dippy status and is now recognized by the NHS.

When it comes to back pain, your first thought is to discern why suddenly, you are feeling sore. But, pinpointing the moment that you went ‘ouch’ is not always that easy. Dismally, there are many reasons that cause back pain ranging from bad posture, tight hamstrings, a poor desk setup, genetics, and repetitive strain. Unless your back pain is injury related, knowing your trigger is tough.

Enter: yoga for back pain.

A regular yoga exercise tasks your whole body and activates muscles that have not had any action for years. Many yoga moves are isometric and solicit base stability muscles –front, back and side flanks – to switch on. A strong base promises a stable torso, better yoga pose, and firm muscles to support a well-formed frame. This helps future-proof your body.

As you age, the soft discs between your vertebras become less-soft, with the possibility of a disc either bulging or rupturing increasing. They can also enhance the pressure on nerves, which you would notice as pain. But particular yoga asanas done regularly can both relieve and prevent back pain symptoms.

Before you begin tackling yoga for back pain

First off all, always seek medical counsel before self-treating a bad back. A bodywork expert, such as a yoga teacher, can help in the healing procedure but only when problems that require medical attention have been ruled out.

Already join a yoga class? Make sure your Yoga Teacher is aware of your bad back so they can counsel alternative corrections that work for your body and imbalances.

Choosing a class

Now is the time to be soft to yourself. Classes that are gentle and less physically taxing, such as Iyengar Yoga or Yin Yoga, allow you the time to notify in with how you feel in the Yoga postures and have an awareness of niggles as you come out of them. Advanced classes, like Power Yoga and Rocket Yoga, usually do not. Their intense flows require fast muscular contractions, which can cause muscles to confiscate. If your alignment is not correct in the advanced postures you are more likely to cause ahead (or new) injuries.

Back pain exercises you can try at home

As stated, there is an uncounted number of reasons why you can wake up one day and suffer from back pain. This means one magic yoga pose to fix a backache does not exist. But that should not stop you from pushing back the sofa, rolling out your best yoga mat and embracing self-care.


  • Be kind to your body and if you feel any strain in your back, reduce your range of motion or skip the pose completely
  • Take deep breaths and do not rush through the exercises
  • Pick and mix the poses depending on your trigger

Lower back pain caused by tight hamstrings

A common cause of lower back pain is tight hamstrings.

Do poses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Why? Forward folds, whether seated or standing, help release the seams that run up the back of the body. As does Pyramid poses but make sure you scissor your legs to avoid twisting through the lower back.

Pain from sitting at a desk

Sitting on a chair, hunching over a desk and putting off going to the toilet to finish your last email is a common occurrence in the workplace. But so is lower back pain. A sedentary work life can overwork the back muscles, causing them to tense up.

Do poses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 8

Why? Chest openers will help balance out the days you have spent hunched over. Shoulder openers build space, while twists increase motility. Be sure to twist from above the bra-line as your lower back only bends, the thoracic (a part with ribs attached) can twist.


Outlook this back condition with alert and only when you have been given the all clear by a medical professional.

Do pose 7.

Why? Side planks can help to recondition the spine. If the spine twist to the right side, then hold a plank with the right hand assisting the pose.

Herniated discs, broken backs, and other spinal conditions

It is good to keep moving but this needs to be safe. Private classes and/or small groups are counsel and always speak to a professional to get stiff and considered instruction.



Aim: Create length.

Target area: Calves, hamstrings and erector spine (back muscles).

How to: Bring feet hip-width apart, jack tailbone up, lengthen through the spine and draw shoulders away from ears.

Modification: Go deeper by straightening legs. Or, ease off from tight hamstrings by popping blocks under hands to keep the spine straight.



Aim: Create length.

Target area: Calves, hamstrings and erector spine.
How to: Fetch feet hip-width apart, jack tailbone up, amplify through the spine and exert shoulders away from ears.

Modification: Go deeper by straightening legs. Or, ease off from tight hamstrings by popping blocks under hands to keep the spine straight.



Target area: Calves, hamstrings, chest, and erector spine.

Aim: Create length and space.

How to: Sit with your legs out long, lean tailbone back to amplify your hamstrings, incline through your heels – this lengthens calves. Spread across your collarbone as you lean forward while keeping your chest opens and drawing belly button towards thighs.
Modification: Go deeper be leaning further forward (see pic 4), or ease off by using a strap to maintain length through spine and openness through the chest.



Aim: Create length.

Target Area: Calves, Hamstrings & erector spine.
How to: Stand with your feet together. Scissor your legs into a moderate stride. Construct your front foot flat and frame with either hand. Rise onto the ball of your back foot to keep hips square and lower your back in neutral position (with no twist). Increase through your spine keeping ears away from shoulders.

Modification: Go deeper be moving ahead forward bringing your nose to your knee. Or, comfort off by using blocks under each hand.



Aim: Create length and space.

Target area: Calves, Hamstrings, erector spine, shoulder girdle.

How to: Take feet slightly wider than hip width and bring your big toes in line. Twine fingers behind your back, roll shoulders back, open your chest, and then hinge at your hips to fold forwards drawing your arms overhead. Amplify through the crown of your head towards the floor. Gravity will do the work here, balancing compression on the spine and undoing any hunching forwards.

Modification: Complete general forward fold.



Aim: Create core strength and help realign posture.

Target area: Arms, shoulder girdle, core muscles.

How to: Fetch your subsidiary palm flat and stack shoulder over the wrist the press your hips up to the roof.

Modification: Comfort off by lowering bottom knee to floor for recourse and to keep form.



Aim: Aid mobility.

Target area: The Thoracic spine.

How to: Start seated and bend one knee bringing your foot close to your buttock with your foot flat on the floor. Access your opposite arm to the roof to lengthen flank then hook raised elbow outside of the bent knee. Breathe in as you lengthen through the crown of your head to the ceiling, Breathe out as your twist (from the bra line) and look behind you.

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