Not only does yoga do wonders for mental wellness and physical fitness, it can also be used as a treatment for certain types of chronic pain. The emphasis on increasing mobility, relaxing tensed muscles, and improving strength helps ease pain or even alleviate it altogether.
Learn which yoga poses may be best suited for your particular pain. As always, you should consult your doctor or physio before you try any new exercises.
Yoga poses to relieve back pain
Child’s pose is designed to take the pressure off your lower back by elongating the spine and giving it a gentle stretch.
To perform child’s pose:
- Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees lined up below your hips.
- Rest your buttocks onto your heels, with your torso over your thighs.
- Try to focus on lengthening your spine by stretching your ribs to the top of your head.
- Rest your forehead on the ground with your arms extended out.
Probably the most well-known yoga pose, the downward-facing dog can feel incredibly rejuvenating for the back. As tight hamstrings are a common cause for back pain, this pose focuses on stretching them out.
To perform downward-facing dog:
- Start on your hands and knees, with wrists aligned under shoulders and knees below hips.
- Press into your hands, tuck your toes in, and lift your knees off the floor.
- Slowly straighten your legs, and lower your heels to the ground.
- Align your head with your arms and hold the pose by looking at your navel.
Interested in attending yoga for back pain? Bend & Fly offers an aerial yoga class for back pain relief, designed for anyone needing extra special attention for their spine, upper and lower back.
Yoga poses to relieve back pain
Extended triangle pose
This pose helps to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
To perform extended triangle:
- Start standing with your feet apart (a little further than shoulder-width)
- Turn your right foot 90o facing forwards, with your other foot turned to the left.
- Bring both arms up parallel to the floor with palms facing down.
- Lower your right arm and place on the inside of your right foot.
- Raise your left arm to the ceiling. You can either perform gentle neck rotations by looking up and down, or remain in the pose as is.
Thread the needle
Thread the needle stretches and opens up the shoulders, back, and neck. This helps to release tension in these areas.
To perform thread the needle:
- Start on all fours with knees aligned with your hips, and hands directly under shoulders.
- Slide your right arm along the floor underneath the left arm with the palm facing up.
- Let your right shoulder come to the ground with your right cheek resting on the ground.
Yoga poses to relieve knee pain
Warrior Pose I
When done with the correct alignment, this pose will stabilise the knee and help strengthen the muscles surrounding it.
To perform warrior pose I:
- Step your feet out wide apart but keep them aligned.
- Turn your right foot 90o so toes are facing forwards, and left foot inwards at 45o.
- Turn your pelvis forward and bend your right knee over your right ankle. Keep your left leg in a straight line (or very slightly bent).
- Reach upwards with your arms over your heads and gaze straight ahead.
- Relax into the pose, stretching upwards through the spine.
Crossed ankle forward fold
This pose stretches the muscles in the leg, relieving tension from the IT band and the knees.
To perform crossed ankle forward fold:
- Begin standing.
- Cross your right ankle in front of your left, keeping the pinky toes as close as possible.
- Exhale as you fold forward with a flat back. Rest your hands gently on the ground just above your toes.
- Walk your hands to the right and gently press until you feel the stretch along your left hip, thigh and hamstring.
- Hold for 30 seconds and swap sides.
Interested in using yoga as a form of therapy for your chronic pain? Bend & Fly offers a range of yoga classes run by experienced instructors who can help guide you through movements to soothe your body. Book a class today.