Hardly any other complaint is as widespread among adults as back pain. Almost everyone has to struggle with this at some point in their life, and it is not uncommon for them to lead to temporary disability.
But we don't have to wait until then - yoga offers us a comprehensive tool with which we can prevent and reduce back pain.
What is back yoga?
Back yoga basically involves the same postures as other yoga styles. However, the focus is particularly on mobilizing the spine through rotations, bending forwards and backwards, and on the balanced strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles. This regular practice can greatly alleviate most back problems.
Is yoga good for your back in general?
Yes, because in almost every yoga class the back is stretched in all possible directions. It also strengthens the many different muscles on the back of the body and their counterparts on the front. Deep breathing alone can alleviate many ailments.
In contrast to other sports, the deep muscles are also addressed, which are particularly important for an upright and pain-free posture.
In the case of an acute back injury (e.g. herniated disc), however, not all yoga exercises can be performed without restrictions. In this case, of course, the doctor's recommendations should be followed.
Can yoga exercises help against back pain?
The most important thing for a healthy and pain-free body and back is regular and varied exercise. In yoga we practice a variety of different postures (Asanas) and move our spine three-dimensionally. This puts the back in many positions that we don't normally assume in everyday life, which is particularly good for activating neglected muscles and relieving tension. Yoga has a gentle yet deep effect and is therefore an ideal balance for the one-sided stress of everyday life.
Training with yoga: specifically strengthen your back
One of the most common causes of back pain is weak muscles or one-sided strain. With yoga you can specifically strengthen your back and correct imbalances.
Benefits of yoga for the back: what does back yoga do?
Back yoga gets muscles, fascia, ligaments and joints in motion that are neglected due to all the sitting in everyday life and are therefore weak or tense. Both, the large and superficial muscles and the small, deep muscle layers are activated, strengthened and stretched during yoga. The body becomes more supple and the spine gets more freedom of movement. The more flexible the spine is and the more its range of motion is used every day, the lower the risk of back pain.
What are the benefits of regular home exercise?
Regular exercise is the best way to keep your back healthy and pain-free in the long term. Yoga offers the advantage that we don't need a lot of space or equipment. So you can easily practice at home several times a week. The better you keep your back moving, the faster you will feel the positive results and be able to free yourself from your pain.
The best yoga exercises: train your back with suitable asanas
If you have already had a back injury or a spinal disc injury, you should definitely first talk to a doctor or physiotherapist about which exercises you can do now and with which you still have to be careful.
If you are healthy or only suffer from tension, you are welcome to do the following exercises yourself.
Which yoga exercises are suitable for training the back?
To build back strength, do gentle prone backbends like this
- The grasshopper and its variants are particularly well suited.
- Any position where you use core strength to hold your upper body horizontal will also strengthen your back muscles. This includes all push-up variants
- the cat with its arm and leg raised diagonally and
- the triangle.
What are the best exercises for your back?
- The crocodile: lying rotation to mobilize the spine
- The Locust: Prone Back Muscle Strengthening
- The side support: Strengthening of the shoulder and torso, as well as the deep muscles
- The cat: strengthening and mobilizing the back
The downward-facing dog: spine extension, upper back strengthening and posterior stretch
Yoga for the lower back
Low back pain is particularly common for people who spend many hours of the day sitting. In a passive, hunched sitting position, the muscles in your back are constantly pulled, while the abdominal muscles remain unused and become weak. This imbalance then manifests itself in back pain. Instead of resting and moving even less, a mix of strengthening and stretching is the best remedy here.
What exercises help with acute or chronic lower back pain?
To relieve back pain, you should always start with gentle mobilizing exercises. This can be slight rotations of the upper body while sitting or lying down. Circular movements of the legs and pelvis while lying on your back and standing on all fours also prepare the body well for more intensive exercises.
If that feels good to you, you can then do strengthening exercises for your back muscles (see above). Finally, be sure to give the stressed muscles and fascia the opportunity to let go and relax, for example in the child's pose or in the supine position with the legs raised while the knees sink in the middle towards each other.
How often and for how long do you need to do these exercises for your lower back pain?
The more regularly you practice, the faster you will feel a positive effect. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it either, but ideally you should practice strengthening exercises for your back every two days and focus on gentle mobilization, stretching and relaxation on the other days. Much more important than the what is that you move at all - and as varied as possible.
Which yoga for back pain?
Unfortunately, there is no general answer here. The best thing to do is take your medical findings or symptoms to a trained yoga teacher and have them recommend specific exercises. At this point, however, a few general tips:
- If you're sedentary and tense, practice styles like Vinyasa Flow, Fascia Yoga, and Yin Yoga. The movement releases tension and you will feel more free.
- If you are prone to bad posture and muscular imbalances (e.g. due to scoliosis or one-sided activities), try Hatha, Iyengar and Anusara Yoga. There you train your body awareness and learn to align your body precisely.
- If you have or have had an injury, such as a herniated disc, be extra careful with intense forward and back bends and avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on the spine, such as headstands and shoulderstands.
Can yoga relieve back pain?
If you do the exercises regularly, consciously and mindfully and listen to your body, you will most likely feel a relief from your pain very quickly.
Does yoga help with chronic back pain?
Here, too, the cause is important and it may take longer before you feel an improvement in your symptoms. Nevertheless, yoga is also effective for chronic back pain and can help you regain more mobility and freedom from pain in the long term.
What exercises help with pain?
Be gentle with yourself and practice a mix of mobilizing, strengthening, and stretching poses. Always only go as far as is good for you. The pain should by no means increase as a result of the exercises, on the contrary.
The following exercises can be helpful for tension in the upper back:
- deep three-dimensional breathing (chest, sides, back)
- Eagle arms
- Neck Stretch
- Shoulder circles
- Seated/Standing Side Stretch
The following exercises can be helpful for tension in the lower back:
- Sufi circles
- Swivel Seat
- Child posture
- low lunge with side stretch
- Core exercises
Yoga specifically helps against back pain and not just on a physical level. Back pain often has to do with tense muscles caused by one-sided strain or stress in everyday life. Yoga poses help reduce pain through balancing movement, deep breathing, and mental relaxation.