9 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain

9 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain

Yoga is both a strengthening and stretching practice, making it ideal for those who suffer from pain or injury. “Yoga movements, in combination with breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness activities, are all components of supporting and mitigating” back pain, says Kim Weeks, E-RYT 500 and a certified Iyengar yoga teacher.

Yoga for back pain can help soothe both your lower and upper back, but tuning into your body is also key.

“You can use yoga to listen to your body, learn how to move away from pain, and encourage and feel the right sensations,” says Weeks.

Read on for some simple and easy yoga poses that can help soothe back pain. If your pain is related to an injury or something more than everyday tightness or post-workout soreness, consult your health-care provider before starting any sort of exercise routine.

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How Yoga Can Help With Back Pain

Yoga can be a very effective tool for easing back pain. By practicing yoga for back pain, you can stretch and strengthen the muscles that help you bend, twist, and stabilize your back and core throughout the day.

However, proper form is key to prevent injury. Weeks suggests finding a teacher who has experience with yoga for back pain and can offer modifications as needed.

And “listen to your own body,” she says. “If something hurts or does not feel right, simply don’t do it. Ask for modifications that help guide you on your path to greater strength and ability.”

1. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Lizard Pose is one to take slowly, as it is also a hip opener. This pose works the inner thighs, as well as the psoas, a muscle located in the lower region of the spine that extends through the pelvis to the femur.

  • Step your left foot forward several feet in front of the right foot. Bend the left knee until it lines up perfectly with the ankle.
  • Drop the right knee to the ground. Keep the toes curled under on that foot to stretch the calf muscle.
  • Walk the left foot out to the side. Place both elbows on top of blocks on the inside edge of the left foot. Keep hips lined up parallel to each other. To get deeper into the right psoas, lift your right knee into a high lunge.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths, then switch sides.

 

2. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Baddha Konasana bound angle butterfly pose Yoga52 Odette Hughes

Seated poses help stretch and strengthen, while helping you relax. Bound Angle Pose opens and stretches the inner thighs and groin, while also elongating your lower back.

  • Bring the soles of your feet together, pulling the heels close to your groin, bending the knees, and butterfly the legs open.
  • Keeping your spine straight, lead with your chest, pull your shoulders back, and fold toward your feet.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths.
  • Tip: If you notice your knees are too high to relax, place a blanket right under your sit bones to prop the hips up. You can also take your feet farther from your pelvis.

 

3. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

cow face pose gomukasana - odette hughes - yoga52

Cow Face Pose is another seated pose. This one stretches your glutes and your spine with a gentle forward fold.

  • Start in tabletop position: Get on all fours, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
  • Cross your right knee over your left knee, and sit your hips back on to the floor, evenly distributing your weight on both butt bones. The sides of your feet should be on the floor, equidistant to either side of your pelvis.
  • Reach your left arm out to the side and internally rotate it so your palm faces behind you, then bend your left elbow and work your left hand up your back without pulling your left shoulder down lower than the right. Your left fingers should point up toward your neck, palm still facing behind you.
  • Extend your right arm toward the ceiling, and keep your biceps close to your ear as you bend your right elbow and reach down your back toward your left hand. Clasp them if possible.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths, then gently reverse the pose, and switch sides.

 

4. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

pigeon pose yoga52 kapotasana odette hughes

Pigeon Pose is challenging, but it is a fantastic hip opener. It also stretches your psoas, shins, and glutes. Work slowly into this pose, and use modifications or props if necessary.

  • Start in downward facing dog. Lift your right leg and step it forward between your hands.
  • Drop your left knee down and untuck the toes.
  • Slide your right foot over toward your left pelvic bone, placing the outside edge of your right leg on the floor. Tuck the right toes in (flexing the foot).
  • Line up your hips parallel to each other, continually pressing your left hip toward the floor. If this position is too difficult, place a blanket under your bottom. To intensify the stretch, move your right foot away from the left side of your body and drop to the elbows or chest. To make this pose less intense, move your right foot closer to your right leg and stay on your hands instead of folding.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths, then switch sides.

 

5. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

This fun pose provides support as you rest your body against the floor and relax. Happy Baby pose focuses on the inner thighs, groin, and spine.

  • Lie flat on your back, grab hold of both feet with each hand, bend the knees, and pull them toward your armpits.
  • Once in the proper position, rock side to side, keeping your head on the floor.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths.

 

6. Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)

Fire Log Pose provides a deep hip stretch and good stretch for the glutes as well. It’s a pose that also stretches and strengthens the groin, calves, thighs, and abdominal muscles.

  • Begin in a regular crossed-legged seated position on the mat with your right foot in front.
  • Bring your right foot on top of your left knee. Keep your feet flexed with toes spread wide.
  • This position might be enough for some people; if you want a deeper stretch, slide your bottom foot so that it moves under the right knee. You are aiming to have your shins aligned.
  • To deepen the stretch, lean your torso forward and walk your hands in front of your knees. Aim to lengthen your spine rather than round it forward.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths, then switch sides.

 

7. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

goddess pose

This standing pose challenges the legs, as it’s basically a static squat. Goddess Pose helps stretch your groin, inner thighs, and hips.

  • Start at the top of your mat in mountain pose (stand tall with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart, hands at your sides, and turn your palms forward).
  • Step your left leg back three-to-four feet and pivot on your heels toward the center of your mat until you face the long edge of your mat. Parallel your feet.
  • Turn your toes outward 45 degrees, and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Track your knees over your second toe, and avoid your knees caving inward or bowing outward.
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and down, lift your chest, and tuck your tailbone.
  • Extend your arms straight overhead and turn your palms toward one another (like you want to give yourself a high-five).
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths.

 

8. Half Lord of The Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is a great hip and lower-back stretch that will also stretch your glutes, spine, chest, shoulders, and neck.

  • Sit on the floor and extend both legs out in front of you.
  • Keep the left leg straight and bend and pull the right leg in. Line the right heel up approximately 2 inches away from the back of the right leg and 2 inches away from the left thigh.
  • Sit up very tall, avoiding sinking into the lower back. Wrap the left arm around the right leg, creating a spinal twist.
  • Move the left shoulder forward as you move the right shoulder back, and attempt to line up the shoulders. Take your gaze over the right shoulder.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths, then switch sides.

 

9. Garland Pose (Malasana)

Garland Pose increases fluidity in the hips and stretches the ankles, knees, and lower back. It also strengthens the core muscles.

  • Starting from a standing position with feet hips width apart, turn your heels so they line up with your hips; turn your toes outward.
  • Bend the knees until you reach a squatted position. Place a blanket under your heels if need be. You can also stack two blocks to sit on to work up to the full integrity of the pose.
  • Hold for 8–10 breaths.
Sarah Stevenson

About

Sarah Stevenson , a.k.a., The Tini Yogini, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops.

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