It is estimated that 80 percent of the adult population has back problems at one point or another. This is largely because of office jobs that require us to sit for much of the day. But if you have a bad back, it doesn’t mean it can’t be helped.
Stretching is important for loosening up tight knots in your back and decompressing your spine. Consistently doing the following yoga stretches will also help increase your flexibility and reduce your back pain.
1. Child’s Pose
This pose will stretch your back along with your hips and thighs. This child’s pose variation has your arm extended and will also stretch your shoulders. Tuck your legs underneath your body as shown in the image. With your forehead resting on the ground, walk your hands out as far as comfortably possible to maximize your stretch.
2. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-facing dog is great after a long day at work as it inverses the bent posture normally associated with sitting all day. Choose this pose to stretch your chest, shoulders and back. Once you have situated yourself in the position above, move your chest towards the ground in a slow and controlled manner until you reach the end of your flexibility range.
3. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
This back-bending pose helps lengthen your spine as well as stretch your chest and ankle. The upward-facing dog pose requires you to support your weight on your hands, arch your back, push your chest outward and pull your shoulders back.
4. Cat Pose
The cat pose is a great for lengthening the spine and neck. Once you establish a stable base by supporting your weight on your knees and hands, arch your spine backwards. Imagine pulling your belly button towards your spine to round your back out as demonstrated in the image. Relax your neck and slightly tuck your chin towards your chest to stretch your neck.
5. Head-to-Knee Pose
Head-to-knee pose allows you to elongate and gain flexibility in your back and legs. Try to place your head on your knee as you extend your arms towards your feet.
6. Seated Twist Pose
In addition to relieving tension in your spine, this pose will open up your chest while stretching your hips and shoulder. Make sure to stretch both sides of your body evenly.
7. Back-bend Pose
This is another back-bending pose that increases flexibility in your shoulders, stretch out your chest and help open your hips. The back-bend pose demands an intermediate level of flexibility, so try warming up with the other yoga stretches before attempting this pose.
8. Plow Pose
This inverted pose will elongate your spine and stretch your shoulders. Keeping the correct posture for this stretching exercise is crucial because it can put uncomfortable pressure on your neck and spine.
9. Knee-to-Chest Pose
The knee-to-chest pose is a great complement to the back-bend and twist stretches mentioned in this article. It will help stretch out your lower back muscles. Simply bring your knees to your chest and use your arms to pull and hold onto them as you lay on your back.
10. Extended Triangle Pose
Incorporating this standing pose into your yoga routine will add tremendous benefits. Not only does this pose help decompress your back and open up your hips, it also reinforce your leg and core muscles as you maintain your balance throughout the pose.
If you are new to yoga and want to get started with these exercises, here are some things you probably want to get:
BalanceForm Yoga Mat ($16.14)
Shandali Yoga Towel ($19.99)
Gaiam Yoga Block ($10.89)
Yoga strap ($9.98)
The yoga mat is extremely useful for supporting your feet and ensuring that you do not slip when moving from one pose to another. The yoga towel is made of materials that allow for better absorption of sweat. The yoga block and yoga strap are for beginning yoga practitioners who aren’t as flexible yet.