Yoga for Lower Back Pain: 12 Healing Poses to Soothe and Strengthen Your Spine

Yoga for Lower Back Pain: 12 Healing Poses to Soothe and Strengthen Your Spine

In today’s modern world, back pain is a growing epidemic.

So much so that around 80% of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

The biggest culprit of this extremely common and debilitating health problem is our modern sedentary lifestyle.

We sit, we sit, and we sit some more.

At work, when we eat, when we unwind at the end of the day – we sit.

With all this sitting comes a strained neck, poor posture, and reduced blood flow.

As a result, we’re left with a weak back and abdominal muscles.

Constant sitting is also the main cause of tight and short hip flexors, which is another common contributor to low back pain.

Related: Yoga for Sitting All Day: 12 Yoga Poses to Undo the Damage From Your Desk Job

Really, prolonged sitting is a health hazard.

When a chiropractor isn’t an option, you can give your spine the gentle stretch it needs with these yoga poses for lower back pain relief.

Yoga for Lower Back Pain: 12 Healing Poses

Take some time out of your day to practice these healing yoga poses.

You can repeat this yoga flow for lower back pain as many times as you want and as often as needed.

Just make sure you’re actively taking care of your spine!

1. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Begin in a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you.

Bend your knees and bring your left foot under your right leg, up towards your butt. Your left leg should be resting on the ground.

Gently pull your right leg over the left, placing your right foot on the ground as close to your left hip as possible.

Lengthening the spine, place your right hand on the ground behind your back. Cross your left arm over your right leg and turn your upper body to face behind you.

With each inhale, draw your belly towards your spine. On each exhale, twist deeper into the pose.

Hold this pose for 30 seconds, repeat on the other side, then return to a neutral seated position.


  • Stretches and energizes the spine
  • Opens the neck, shoulders, and hips
  • Increases flexibility in hips and spine
  • Improves digestion

2. Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)

Move into a laying position on your back with your arms and legs extended.

Exhaling, bring both of your knees to your chest and wrap your hands around them.

Keep your back flat on the mat and lengthen your spine by drawing your tailbone and sacrum down.

Release your shoulder blades down towards your hips and broaden across the collar bones.

You can either stay still or rock gently from side to side to give your spine a little massage.

Stay in Apanasana for 1 minute.


  • Stretches and stabilizes the pelvis and low back
  • Reduces lower back pain

3. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

With your knees still at your chest, extend your arms out at your sides, forming a ‘T’ shape with your torso.

With your palms planted on the ground, exhale and slowly rotate your legs to the right side of your mat.

Bring awareness to your left shoulder, focusing on keeping it as close to the mat as possible.

Hold this for 30 seconds, engage your core as you slowly come back to center, then repeat on the other side.


  • Stretches the back muscles
  • Realigns and lengthens the spine
  • Relieves stress

4. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

From the Supine Spinal Twist, come back to center with your knees at your chest.

Keeping your thighs on your chest, extend the lower half of your legs up in the air and flex your feet so your soles are perpendicular to the floor.

Inhaling, grab the outsides of your feet with your hands. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them towards your armpits.

Now position your ankles so they’re directly above your knees with your shins perpendicular to the floor. Flex through your heels for a deeper stretch.

Gently push your feet up towards the ceiling while your hands create resistance by pulling them down.

Stay in Happy Baby pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release your legs back down to the floor.


  • Gently stretches the spine and inner groins
  • Calms the brain
  • Relieves stress and fatigue

5. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Place a folded blanket near a wall and situate yourself, sitting, next to it.

Lay down on your back with your butt against the wall and the back of your legs resting up against the wall. Your body should form an ‘L’ shape.

Adjust the blanket so it’s resting under the arch of your back. Make sure to leave a small gap between the blanket and the wall so your hip sockets have space to settle in.

If it’s uncomfortable to place your legs straight up the wall, you can bend your knees slightly for relief.

Place your arms at your sides, on your chest, or wherever feels best.

Stay in Viparita Karani for 1 minute.


  • Stretches the legs, front torso, and back of neck
  • Relieves back pain
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress and anxiety

6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

From Viparita Karani, slowly stand up and bring yourself to Tadasana.

Step your feet out wide and send your fingertips out at your sides. Reposition so your ankles are below your wrists.

Pressing down through your feet, bring your hands to your hips.

Draw your shoulder blades together, engage your core, and slowly lean your torso forward while maintaining a straight back.

Continue bending forward until you can place your palms on the floor, directly under your shoulders. If you don’t quite get the hands to the ground, you could use a block to help.

Soften your knees and keep awareness in your spine and neck alignment.

Stay in your Forward Fold for 1 minute.


  • Relieves back pain
  • Stretches and strengthens the legs and spine
  • Calms the mind

7. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From Forward Fold with your hands on the floor in front of you, gently jump your feet back.

Your hips should be up in the air with your body making an upside down V shape.

To reduce discomfort on your wrists, shift the weight back by leaning into your heals.

Sending the weight to your feet will force your legs and arms to become straight, which is what you want for that total body stretch.

You can alternate lifting your heels off the ground for a deeper stretch in your calves and hamstrings.

Stay in Downward Dog for 30 seconds to 1 minute.


  • Energizes the whole body
  • Relieves upper and lower back pain
  • Stretches the shoulders, hands, legs, and arches of the feet
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress and anxiety

8. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)

Lower yourself to the floor so you’re lying on your stomach with your legs hip-width apart and the tops of your feet resting on the floor.

Rotate your thighs inward by rolling your outer thighs toward the floor.

Position your elbows directly below your shoulders with your forearms resting on the mat parallel to each other.

Inhaling, press your forearms into the mat and slowly lift your head and chest off the floor. Press your pubic bone into the mat.

Drop your shoulder blades down, draw your chest forward, and lengthen your tailbone toward your heels.

Stay in Sphinx Pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then slowly lower back down to the mat.


  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Helps relieve stress

9. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana + Bitilasana)

Move into tabletop position with your hands and wrists directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips.

Tuck your toes so the tops of your feet are touching the mat.

Inhaling, drop your stomach towards the mat. Slowly lift your neck and chin so you are gazing towards the ceiling, being careful not to strain your neck.

Exhaling, pull your belly button towards your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Look towards the ground without bringing your chin to your chest.

Repeat Cat-Cow for 30 seconds to 1 minute then return to a neutral spine.


  • Improves spine flexibility
  • Stretches the neck and back torso
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress and anxiety

10. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)

With a neutral spine in tabletop position, inhale and extend your right arm out and then up towards the ceiling.

Exhaling, bring your right arm down and under your left arm so that your right shoulder and ear are touching the floor.

Your left arm should be bent so that your elbow is directly over your left wrist.

For a deeper stretch, gently push with your left arm to rotate your chest towards the ceiling.

Hold this pose for 30 seconds. On the last exhale, push into your left palm while drawing your right arm back out and up.

Gently place your right hand back on the mat, and repeat with the other side.


  • Stretches and opens the shoulders, chest, arms, back, and neck
  • Stretches hips, thighs, and lower back
  • Releases tension in spine

11. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

From tabletop position, move your big toes together so they’re touching and spread your knees to the outside of your mat.

Send your hips backwards until your butt is resting on your feet while reach your fingertips forward so your arms are extended in front of you.

Rest your forehead gently on the ground and focus on taking deep breaths. Again, if you need extra support, you could place a block under the forehead or under the elbows.

Stay in Child’s Pose for 1 minute then come up into Hero Pose.


  • Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Stretches and soothes back muscles
  • Reduces stress and fatigue

12. Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

Begin on your knees with your butt resting on your feet and your torso perpendicular to the ground (Hero Pose).

Carefully reaching your arms back, grab onto the soles of your feet.

Tuck your chin in towards your chest while rounding your body forward and hinging at your hips.

You should find yourself in a position with your head close to the floor and your forehead touching your knees.

To get more depth, slightly lift your hips up and allow the crown of your head to rest gently on the floor.

Hold this pose for 1 minute and slowly release back up to Hero Pose.


  • Lengthens the spine
  • Stretches the neck, spine, arms, and shoulders

Stop Sitting, Start Stretching

Every night, whether it’s while you’re watching TV or before you hop into bed, stretch your body.

Movement is key when it comes to preventing chronic back pain, or any pain for that matter.

These yoga poses for lower back pain will give your spine the much needed stretch and soothing movement it needs to keep you in good health.

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