Back pain and back tension can be a real bummer as our back provides the centre for much of our musculature and skeletal system. Maintaining a healthy back is central to any good health and fitness regime. Plus it’ll stop you complaining of bad pain all the time. Yoga is especially good for maintaining joint health as it both stretches and builds strength at the same time, and as it focuses on breathing you’ll help to minimise any further back pain and injuries as you become more aware of where your body’s limits lie.
Try these 5 poses regularly to build strength and flexibility in your back:
1. The Pigeon Pose
This is great for releasing tight hip flexor muscles. Tight hip flexors put pressure on your lower back. Long-term hip flexor tension can cause lower back pain and problems.
To get into pigeon pose, start in a tabletop position.
- Bring one foot in front of you on the ground and bend your knee then rest that leg on the ground.
- Point the other leg out straight behind you.
- Either keep your upper body straight or lean forward and rest your head or forearms on the ground.
- Breathe into the tension and stay there for 30 secs to a minute before switching legs.
2. Child’s Pose
This relieves tension in the lower back by putting the body in a position where there is minimal pressure on those muscles. It also curves the back, giving you a chance to stretch the muscles in the whole back, especially the lower back.
- Sit back onto your heels and then extend your arms forward into a stretched out position.
- You can move your hips wider for comfort.
- Breathe, relax and remain here for a minute or more.
3. Forward Bend
This will stretch your whole back by letting your weight fall over in front of you, allowing the muscles to relax and stretch.
- Start in an upright position and curl gently forward by stretching your arms and head folded forward in front of you.
- Let go of tension and just let your upper body hang for 30 seconds to a minute or more.
4. The Cat-Cow
This pose stretches and offers movement too.
- Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground.
- Curl your spine up as you lower your head toward the ground breathing in.
- Breathe out and round your spine the other way lowering your head toward the ground. Move slowly and gracefully repeating 5 or more times.
5. Down faced Dog
This builds strength and flexibility in your back and tones the arms too.
- Start on your hands and knees with both feet planted flat on the ground.
- With knees slightly bent, push your legs back until almost straight.
- Walk your feet up so that your rear is up in the air.
- Look down until you’re focusing on the belly button or upper thighs and spread your fingers wide for stability. Stay here for around a minute.
Keep this practice daily if you can, either first thing in the morning or at night. Even a lunchtime session works but make sure you do the poses before eating a large meal or at least 2 hours after eating.