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Yoga for lower back pain

yoga back pain

Ann Marie Johnston founder of YogaMate and the yoga injury prevention app, Yoga Therapeutics Pro shares 6 yoga poses to help those suffering from lower back pain.

It is estimated that 70-90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is one of the number one reasons people seek out yoga and yoga therapy and many studies have demonstrated the efficacy of therapeutic yoga in addressing lower back pain.

6 Introductory Yoga Poses for Low Back Pain

Knees to Chest

  • Begin lying on your back
  • As you inhale, draw your knees to your chest
  • Place your hands around your shins (or behind your thighs), then relax into the mat
  • Hold for 30 – 60 secs, exhale and release your legs back to the floor

Supine Twist

  • Start in knees to chest
  • Lower your knees to the floor on your right side and take 2-3 breaths in this position
  • Bring your knees back to your chest
  • Lower your knees to the floor on your left side and take 2-3 breaths in this position
yoga back pain


  • Begin in standing, feet hip width apart, weight back toward the heels
  • Inhale and raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other
  • As you exhale, bend your knees and lower your hips, as if you were about to sit down
  • Bring your torso forward while keeping a neutral spine as you move deeper into the squat
  • Relax your shoulders and engage your core, lengthening through the top of your head
  • Keep your neck neutral
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds or as long as comfortable
  • Modification: Place your hands on your hips

Child’s Pose

  • From hands and knees position, lower your hips down to your heels, forehead to the mat
  • Rest your arms alongside your body palms up
  • If you prefer and it is comfortable, you may turn your head to one side
  • Remain in this pose as long as comfortable
  • Modification in chair: Sitting in a chair place feet firmly on the floor. Separate legs, aligning feet with knees. With hands on thighs, palms down, slowly bend forward between legs. Hands can stay on thighs or move to the floor or blocks.

Downward Facing Dog

  • From child’s pose, place your hands on the mat in front of you, fingers spread wide
  • As you exhale, tuck your toes and press evenly into your hands and feet as you lift your hips towards the ceiling
  • Maintaining a long spine, extend your heels towards the floor
  • Check to ensure your hands and feet are hip width apart with even distribution of your weight
  • Relax your neck and let your head hang freely as you gaze between your feet
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds or as long as comfortable
  • To release the pose, exhale and lower your knees to the mat returning to child’s pose
  • Modification: Stand in front of a wall and bend forward at the waist. Stretch your arms out in front of you so that they touch the wall. Keep the top half of your body parallel to the floor.

Half Cobra / Sphinx

  • Begin lying face down on your mat with toes pointed
  • With your chin on the mat, place your hands palm down under your shoulders
  • Spread your fingers wide and roll your shoulder blades down, hugging your elbows to your side
  • Keeping your chin level and your forearms on the mat, inhale as you lift the head and chest from the floor
  • Lift your chest to a comfortable height where your hips and knees remain on the mat. Relax your buttocks and allow your shoulders to release away from your ears.
  • Hold the pose for 30 – 60 seconds or as long as comfortable
  • To release the pose, exhale and gently lower your chest to the mat, resting your arms by your side