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Yoga For Lower Back Aches & Stiffness
Image Pose Description
yoga pose HeroSit with buttocks on heels. Feet slightly wider than hips with tops of feet flat on floor. Angle big toes slightly toward each other. Release shoulder blades away from ears.
Sanskrit: Vajrasana
Benefits: Stretches thighs, knees, ankles.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/py0vL4mc09w?rel=0
Modifications: A) Baby Hero: Sit on knees and shins. Place feet with soles pointing behind you with toes touching the mat. B) Sit On Heels: Bring feet close to each other. Place them one upon the other with soles pointing backwards. Placing sit bones on heels raises hip higher. This brings pressure on ankles, so do this modification carefully. C) Practice Uddiyana Bandha: Place hands on thighs. Push hands downwards on knees and raise chest and upper abdomen upwards. Take a deep inhale through your nose and exhale quickly and powerfully. Exhale all the way until the end of the breath. This stretches diagram to its most expanded position. At end of your exhale, pull belly in as if you are trying to bring navel to touch your spine. Keep belly like this while taking no further breaths. Release belly. D) Raised Arms: raise arms above shoulders with fingers interlocked and gaze up.
Precautions : Knee or ankle injury.
yoga pose Kneeling Pyramid ArmsSit with buttocks on heels. Feet slightly wider than hips with tops of feet flat on floor. Angle big toes slightly toward each other. Bring arms behind with palms touching
Sanskrit: Vajrasana
Benefits: Stretches thighs, knees, ankles. Open shoulder joints, creating space between shoulder blades.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rV_sGl8fKjE
Modifications: Bolster or block between legs. Hero with hands interlocked behind.
Precautions : Knee or ankle injury.
yoga pose Kneeling Eagle ArmsSit with buttocks on heels. Feet slightly wider than hips with tops of feet flat on floor. Angle big toes slightly toward each other. Bring arms to sides. Right arm over left arm. Elbow onto of elbow. Point left thumb towards you. Move right arm forward, then to the right, and bring palms together. Stretch arms up. Feel shoulders dropping as you lift hands up. Soften where you feel the deepest stretch. Unravel arms and repeat with left arm over right arm.
Sanskrit: Vajrasana
Benefits: Stretches thighs, knees, ankles. Open shoulder joints, creating space between shoulder blades.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rV_sGl8fKjE
Modifications: Bolster or block between legs. Hero with hands interlocked behind.
Precautions : Knee or ankle injury.
yoga pose Cow Head To PelvisSit on all fours. Arms under shoulders. Breath in. On out breath turn head and pelvis left (towards each other). Feel stretch along right side. Repeat on other side.
Sanskrit: Bitilasana
Benefits: Helps back and buttocks. Increases spinal flexibility.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/VRQBAmYeTho
Modifications: Paired with Cat Pose.
Precautions : Neck or wrist injury.
yoga pose Cat CowSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Pull navel into small of back. Inhale while raising head. Exhale, while lowering head and arching spine up like a cat. Repeat.
Sanskrit: Marjaryasana
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/VuqVVXW_N50?rel=0
Modifications: Knee to chest. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose Cat Head To KneeSit with buttocks on heels. Come onto all fours. Wrists under shoulders. Engage core. Bring forehead to right knee. Bring forehead to left knee. Modifications include: Cat pose with leg raised. Cat pose with arm raised. Cat pose with rib cage circles. Cat pose with feet to the side.
Sanskrit: Marjaryasana
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Engage care. Decompress spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/VuqVVXW_N50?rel=0
Modifications: Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose ProstrationSit on knees (Vajrasana). Take hold of lower calves. Bend forward. Place crown of head on floor in front of knees. Raise buttocks until thighs are vertical. Gently press chin against chest. Hold.
Sanskrit: Naman Pranamasana
Benefits: Engage core. Preparation for head and shoulderstands.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/0vZyCHBEWHo
Modifications: Headstand.
Precautions : Neck injury. Lightheaded. HBP. Pregnant.
yoga pose Extended ChildOn all fours. Wrists below shoulders. Knees under hips. Use hands to walk forward and lower chest to floor. Drop buttocks until they reach halfway to feet. Arms straight. Forehead touches floor. Push hips back and stretch spine.
Sanskrit: Utthita Balasana
Benefits: Stretches arms, shoulders, spine, hips.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/eqVMAPM00DM
Modifications: Child. Child with arms behind. Interlock fingers behind back.
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose Sphinx LowLie on belly. Legs together. Buttocks firm. Legs active. Elbows under shoulders. Forearms on floor. Lower ribs touching the mat. Head up.
Alternatives: Crocodile. Locust.
Sanskrit: Bhujangasana
Benefits: Stretches chest, shoulders, abs. Firms buttocks.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/xPDs-zyIsWI
Precautions : Back Injury. Headache.
yoga pose CobraLie face down. Feet together. Toes pointing behind. Hands flat on floor by rib cage. Lift chest. Gaze forward. Modifications include: Cobra with folded blanket under hips. Cobra with one leg raised. Cobra with two legs raised. Cobra with one arm raised in front. Cobra with two arm raised in front. Cobra with one arm raised to side. Cobra with two arms raised to the side. Cobra on elbows. Cobra with both hands behind head. Revolved cobra. Striking cobra (extended child to cobra). Chair cobra (seated backbend). Baby cobra (don’t lift chest all the way up).
Alternatives: Sphinx. Crocodile.
Sanskrit: Bhujangasana
Benefits: Supple spine. Strengthen palms, wrists, toes.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/wSgmClfQBrc?rel=0
Precautions : Pregnancy. CTS. Back injury.
yoga pose Camel Hands On HipsKneel. Rest hands on back of pelvis. Point fingers down. Lean back and feel the chest opening. Gaze up.
Alternatives: Camel pose.
Sanskrit: Ardha Ustrasana
Benefits: Stretches ankles, thighs, groin, abs, chest, throat, psoas.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-xfxwRTobUM?rel=0
Modifications: Palms against soles.
Precautions : High or low blood pressure. Back or neck injury.
yoga pose Baby CamelKneel. Raise buttocks. Keeps slightly separated. Raise arms sideways (shoulder level). Lower right hand to left heel (slight twist) and left hand in front (gaze at raised hand). Chin near sternum. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Camel.
Sanskrit: Ardha Ushtrasana
Benefits: Stretches ankles, thighs, groin, abs, chest, throat, psoas.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/zEQXV3dDmQ8?rel=0
Modifications: Palms against soles.
Precautions : High or low blood pressure. Back or neck injury.
yoga pose Camel Wide LegsKneel with legs out wide. Rest hands on back of pelvis. Point fingers down. Lean back. Chin near sternum. Press palms against heels. Elbow creases face forward. To exit bring one hand at a time to hips. Lift head and torso by pushing hip points down.
Alternatives: Half camel.
Sanskrit: Ustrasana
Benefits: Stretches ankles, thighs, groin, abs, chest, throat, psoas.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-xfxwRTobUM?rel=0
Modifications: Palms against soles.
Precautions : High or low blood pressure. Back or neck injury.
yoga pose Flow End
yoga pose Shoulder ShrugsStand or sit. Keep arms and jaw relaxed. Inhale and flood upper back with breath as if unlocking a dam and its waters have surged forth. Hold breath and raise shoulders straight up toward your ears and send shoulders straight back behind you in a circular motion. Keep back straight and chest upright (don't push chest forward). Exhale and contract upper shoulder blades together and slowly drag them down. Feel shoulder blades becoming loose.
Alternatives: Samashthiti (feet together).
Benefits: Improves posture.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/7CvyjOwVxnI
Modifications: Eyes closed.
yoga pose Mountain NamasteFeet hip width apart. Tuck chin in. Legs slightly bent. Shoulders back and down. Bring palms together over heart chakra in namaste mudra.
Alternatives: Samashthiti (feet together). Arms out to sides.
Sanskrit: Tadasana (namaste)
Benefits: Improves posture. Strengthens legs and arms. Engages core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hvBfA5TKjYQ
Modifications: Choose any hand mudra.
Precautions : Pregnant.
yoga pose Tree (arms & left leg up)Start in Mountain. Weight on right foot. Bend left knee. Clasp left ankle. Press left foot sole against inner thigh. Resist with right leg. Raise arms overhead and bring hands together (Anjali Mudra). Gaze at a fixed point.
Sanskrit: Vrksasana
Benefits: Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, spine, arms. Stretches chest, shoulders.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/wdln9qWYloU?rel=0
Modifications: Back against wall. Close eyes.
Precautions : LBP. HBP.
yoga pose Roll upsStand tall. Feet hip distance. Chin to chest. Head & arms hang loose. Starting at top of spine roll slowly through spine (bend knees if necessary) until hands touch mat. Roll back to standing.
Alternatives: Tabletop. Gorilla.
Sanskrit: Uttanasana
Benefits: Stretch back, hams. Improves posture.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/aw2HM3QZlaQ
Modifications: Bent knees.
Precautions : Back, knee, hamstring injuries.
yoga pose Standing CrescentStand in Mountain. Step feet together with big toes touching. Heels half an inch apart. Sweep arms above head. Press hands together in prayer. Inhale. Exhale while bending to the left. Keep feet rooted and Inner core engaged as you breathe into right side body. Repeat on opposite side.
Alternatives: Standing Side Stretch.
Sanskrit: Indudalasana
Benefits: Stretches sides of torso and spine. Stimulates abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/FWsL4uTuzR0
Modifications: Spin chest toward ceiling and look up.
Precautions : Hip, shoulder, or neck injuries.
yoga pose Warrior IStart in Mountain. Wide stance. Press into outside edge of back foot. Bend forward knee (stop above ankle). Body weight centred. Arms overhead. Inhale to bend into the front knee, lean the torso forwards, float arms overhead. Exhale to straighten front knee and torso, lower arms Switch sides
Alternatives: Warrior II, III
Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana I
Benefits: Stretches chest, shoulders, abs. Strengthens arms.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/4hqmLOpkHrw?rel=0
Modifications: Back heel on folded blanket.
Precautions : HBP. Shoulder injury.
yoga pose Extended TriangleFrom Warrior II straighten front leg (right leg). Reach right arm forward. Drop right hand onto shin or ankle. Left shoulder stacks on top of right. Reach left fingertips upwards. Gaze at fingertips. Slightly bend right knee. Exhale to extend arm over head in line with torso. Inhale to float arm alongside body. Repeat Repeat on left.
Sanskrit: Uttitha Trikonasana
Benefits: Strengthen legs. Stretches groins, hams, hips. Chest opener.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/6xKznn99qd4?rel=0
Modifications: Use a block.
yoga pose Upward SaluteFeet hip width apart. Tuck chin in. Legs slightly bent . Shoulders back and down. Raise arms overhead.
Alternatives: Samashthiti (feet together).
Sanskrit: Urdhva Hastasana
Benefits: Improves posture. Strengthens legs. Engages core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nwiyZSmfpWY?rel=0
Modifications: Hands in prayer behind back. Eyes closed.
Precautions : Pregnant.
yoga pose Halfway Lift IIStand in Mountain. Bring palms to tops of thighs with fingers pointing down. Push hands into thighs. Lengthen from tailbone through crown of head. Upper body parallel to floor.
Alternatives: Tabletop. Gorilla.
Sanskrit: Ardha Uttanasana
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, calves, hips.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ihj4dVBXMPg
Modifications: A) Bend knees if back is stiff. B) Hands on mat. C) Half bound lotus forward bend. D) Hands behind to become super man/women. E) Gorilla (hands under soles of feet).
Precautions : Back injury.
yoga pose ChairStart in Mountain. Raise arms perpendicular to floor. Keep arms parallel, palms facing inward. Bend knees. Firm shoulder blades against back.
Sanskrit: Utkatasana
Benefits: Strengthens ankles, thighs, calves, spine. Stretches chest.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ySafTekJ3Ls
Modifications: Block between thighs. Join palms overhead.
Precautions : Headache. Insomnia. LBP.
yoga pose Upward SaluteFeet hip width apart. Tuck chin in. Legs slightly bent . Shoulders back and down. Raise arms overhead.
Alternatives: Samashthiti (feet together).
Sanskrit: Urdhva Hastasana
Benefits: Improves posture. Strengthens legs. Engages core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nwiyZSmfpWY?rel=0
Modifications: Hands in prayer behind back. Eyes closed.
Precautions : Pregnant.
yoga pose Standing Fold Knees Bent IIStand in Mountain. Knees hip-width apart and very bent. Fold at waist grasping opposite elbows. Let head hang. Hold.
Alternatives: Tabletop. Gorilla.
Sanskrit: Ardha Uttanasana
Benefits: Stretch back, hams. Improves posture.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/VKhodmlFhak
Modifications: Loop fingers around big toes.
yoga pose Roll DownsStand tall. Feet hip distance. Chin to chest. Head & arms hang loose. Starting at top of spine roll slowly through spine (bend knees if necessary) until hands touch mat. Roll back to standing.
Alternatives: Tabletop. Gorilla.
Sanskrit: Uttanasana
Benefits: Stretch back, hams. Improves posture.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/aw2HM3QZlaQ
Modifications: Bent knees.
Precautions : Back, knee, hamstring injuries.
yoga pose Downward Facing Dog Knees BentStart in Mountain. Forward bend. Step feet back one at time. Lift buttocks. Lengthen spine. Bend knees. Tuck chin in. Look at feet. Release jaw.
Alternatives: Down Dog. Dolphin.
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Benefits: Stretches spine, hams, shoulders. Calms nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/GuxnaIcILFQ
Modifications: Use wall. Head on block. Leg up. Arm up. Wide stance.
Precautions : Pregnant. HBP. Headache.
yoga pose PlankBegin on hands and knees. Knees under hips. Hands under shoulders. Roll shoulders back and down. Finger tips point forward. Don't splay elbows. Lift up in your middle as you step one foot straight back and then the other. Keep legs engaged in supporting the plank position. Hold.
Alternatives: Dolphin. One Legged Side Plank.
Sanskrit: Kumbhakasana
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine. Tones abs.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/pSWYGXSNjdE?rel=0
Modifications: Knees on floor. Use wall to place feet for support.
Precautions : Carpal tunnel syndrome
yoga pose SupermanLie on stomach. Feet together. Forehead on floor. Arms in small of back. Head turned to one side. Inhale to bring one arm around up and overhead. Lift the chest and gaze straight ahead and on inhale. Lower and turn the head in the opposite direction, returning the hand to the lower back. Repeat on the other side.
Alternatives: Legs up wall.
Sanskrit: Viparita Shalabhasana
Benefits: Tones back muscles. Stimulate lower back.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/GbXBAc-gkqk
Modifications: 1 leg up. Wide legs. Hands under body, to side or in front.
Precautions : HBP. Hernia. Back injury.
yoga pose CrocodileRelax on stomach. Arms folded on floor above head. Widen legs. Roll feet so heels point in. Squeeze buttocks. Press pelvis into floor. Rest forehead on arms.
Alternatives: Leg or arm lift.
Sanskrit: Makarasana
Benefits: Stretches back, legs, buttocks. Reduce stress. Improve posture.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/MZynS2i3n28?rel=0
Modifications: Place forehead in Yoni Mudra.
Precautions : Pregnancy.
yoga pose Flow End
yoga pose Bridge Arms BehindLie supine. Bend knees. Set feet on floor. Heels close to sitting bones. Press inner feet and arms into floor. Push tailbone up. Lift buttocks. Raise arms overhead and lower them to floor behind head (palms facing up).
Alternatives: Full bridge pose.
Sanskrit: Dwi Pada Pitham (arms behind)
Benefits: Chest, neck, spine stretch. Reduces backache.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/EU2JS2Pm2EY?rel=0
Modifications: Bridge with blanket under shoulders. Bridge with leg up. Clasp hands around ankles. Block below shoulders. Block (or bolster) below lower back. Feet close to wall to prevent slipping.
Precautions : Knee or neck injury.
yoga pose Bridge Leg RaiseLie supine. Bend knees. Set feet on floor. Heels close to sitting bones. Press inner feet and arms into floor. Push tailbone up. Lift buttocks. Raise leg.
Sanskrit: Dwi Pada Pitham
Benefits: Chest, neck, spine stretch. Reduces backache.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/EU2JS2Pm2EY?rel=0
Modifications: Bridge with blanket under shoulders. Block below shoulders. Block (or bolster) below lower back. Feet close to wall to prevent slipping.
Precautions : Knee or neck injury.
yoga pose Bridge Leg UpLie supine. Bend knees. Set feet on floor. Heels close to sitting bones. Press inner feet and arms into floor. Push tailbone up. Lift buttocks. Place hands under hips. Raise left leg. Hold. Lower left leg. Repeat with right leg. Release hands. Lower slowly to mat.
Alternatives: Bridge.
Sanskrit: Dwi Pada Pitham
Benefits: Chest, neck, spine stretch. Reduces backache.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/igoajQo_po4
Modifications: Bridge with blanket under shoulders. Block below shoulders. Block (or bolster) below lower back. Feet close to wall to prevent slipping.
Precautions : Knee or neck injury.
yoga pose Rocking And RollingSlit on edge of mat. Wrap arms around legs. Engage core. Round back. Tuck chin toward belly button. Roll back and forth without touching toes to floor (imagine there are hot coals on the floor).
Alternatives: knee to chest.
Sanskrit: Jhulana Lurhakanasana
Benefits: Stretches inner groin, spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/bUVGbaZHH_I
Precautions : Pregnant. Knee injury.
yoga pose Lying TwistLie on back. Raise right leg up and roll it over to left side (foot touches floor). Spread legs wide. Put left hand on right thigh for leverage. Twist head to right. Switch sides.
Sanskrit: Supta Matsyendrasana I
Benefits: Releases lower back. Opens tight shoulders. Improves digestion. Quiet Mind. Eases sciatic pain.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tl9scRUR95g
yoga pose Supine Twist (strap)Lie on back. Lift right leg. Take right leg across body to the left. Turn head to the right. Hold. Switch sides. Option to practice with a belt for increased stretch
Alternatives: Reclined Hand To Big Toe I or II.
Sanskrit: Supta Padangusthasana
Benefits: Stretches hips, thighs, hams, calves. Relieves sciatica.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rX7Q0Av3o8k
Modifications: Blanket under head. Hold ankle (instead of big toe). Belt.
Precautions : High blood pressure.
yoga pose Flow End
yoga pose CorpseLie on back. Legs and arms apart. Feet to side. Palms up. Release back to floor. Close eyes. Inhale. Let abdomen rise. Exhale. Let abdomen fall. Feel heavy with each exhale.
Sanskrit: Savasana
Benefits: Calming.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YBe1nzunHJ0
Modifications: A) Knees up. B) Blanket under knees and/or head.
yoga pose PalmingSit or stand. Bring palms together. Rub as fast as possible to generate heat. Bring palms to eyes.
Benefits: Soothing for nervous system.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/WECfyWVcRLU