yoga for lower back pain

yoga for lower back pain
ask a yogi

you asked

I want to know some moves to help with lower back pain. I am happy to say that Cobra position is no longer a painful problem but I get random bouts of mild lower back pain behind my hips. It is never severe, more annoying than anything else. My PCP offered pain relievers and muscle relaxers and I just don’t think it is bad enough to medicate myself everyday. I want to know what I do wrong (duh…sitting in front of a computer all day and habitually cross my knees under my desk) and how to correct it. - Megan H

a yogi answers

Dear Megan,
I definitely think you should explore alternatives to medicating yourself. First thing is to break the habit of crossing your knees as this will create imbalance and misalignment in your body, particularly in your hips. It is difficult to assess your case without knowing your practice, so I would definitely recommend that you speak to your instructor and ask them to guide you more carefully given the pain you are experiencing. Pay very close attention to your hip alignment when practicing yoga asanas, and avoid arching your back or exploring any back bends in your warriors – try to contain your core and your lower ribs in as much as possible and focus on squaring your hips even if this means you cannot move into the pose as deeply.

Back bends can help improve your strength, but these should also be practiced cautiously with a great deal of attention to alignment so that you are not compensating elsewhere due to misalignment. Good luck!

- Grace, lululemon Queen St. ambassador

what is ask a yogi?

Ask a Yogi is a yoga advice column that is published on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. If you have a yoga question for future yoga panels, please email

read more related posts:


Excellent answer! Also, some yoga poses that are really helpful to build strength in the lower back are Cobra, Locust, full locust, and Bow pose. Equally important is building abdominal strength with Boat pose and other abdominal exercises. I also had mild lower abdominal pain for a long time and after doing these poses/exercises on a regular basis I haven’t had a hint of back pain in years. Namaste!

Comment by Emmy — August 4, 2010 @ 10:55 am

Good post, I’m always on the prowl for good information that can help back pain. Thank you.

Comment by Tulsa Chiropractor — September 4, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

There are multiple causes of back pain, and the key is being able to determine the cause. No single approach will work for back pain because not all back pain is the same. Any generalizations can end up causing a lot more problems than already exist. However, I do like the the message about alignment. Neutral spine position is a spine friendly position!

Comment by Trainer Tim — October 1, 2010 @ 10:21 am

I agree with you Emmy. Besides some yoga poses I also treating the rest of my low back pain by mild massage therapy. I have been doing some exercises to reduce my back pain and the key to heal that is you must insist on carrying out back strengthening exercises each day. And it works!

Comment by Harry N Stewart — November 10, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

Be careful with yoga clients who complain of back pain. I have seen quite a few patients complaining of lower back pain that was exacerbated by their yoga practice (mostly the Gold’s Gym variety). I suggest that you refer these folks to a physical therapist that specializes in back pain. Otherwise, I would like to report that we have been using kundalini yoga breathing exercises in my physical therapy practice for the last couple years. Even something as simple as breathing differently will reduce a persons back pain! So, keep it simple and don’t over-do it with these clients.

Comment by Dr. Howard A. Knudsen — December 12, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

I also recommend a core strengthening program using body weight with your limbs fixated to a bench for back pain. This site shows how roman chair exercises can be helpful for core strengthening and this too is vital for lower back pain rehabilitation. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in this excellent website.

Comment by Dr. Howard A. Knudsen — December 12, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

I’ve been suffering from back pain for the last 6 months. And know I found the answers to my problem. Thanks to my chiropractor for advising Yoga and inversion table workouts. It really helps me a lot and it removes my back pain.

Comment by inversion table reviews — August 30, 2011 @ 6:16 am

I also suffered from back pain but regular stretching exercises has helped me a lot to cure that.

Comment by Ab Machine Reviews — September 14, 2011 @ 5:37 am

Awesome answer! Question… how do you pay attention to your hip alignment effectively? Should you sit in front of a mirror to check yourself or have a coach near by?

Comment by Inversion Table — September 23, 2011 @ 10:13 am

Hey Inversion,

If you have a coach or professional nearby, that’s always your best option. That way they can make sure you have the proper position, so when you’re on your own in the future you feel super comfortable. A mirror is also a great option though, as is placing your hands on your hips to feel whether or not you’re aligned.

GEC Online Community

Comment by GEC Online Community — September 27, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

Very interesting. Most people in this generation even kids are having back pain and they try to spent most of their money to eliminate the pain their experiencing, so I wrote a book about back pain care entitled “This is Why Your Back Hurts”, eliminate your back pain without Drugs, Doctors or Surgery in just 6 Weeks! You may want to check it out. This would probably helps. Thank you

Comment by Dr. Vaughan Dabbs — April 11, 2012 @ 11:22 am

I agree with the answer…
yoga is one of the save program for back pain problem, but of course before that consult with the doctor first.

Comment by lower back pain treatment — November 27, 2013 @ 9:42 am

great article about low back pain. I always search good information that can help for low back pain.

Comment by Yoga Teacher Training Delhi — January 22, 2014 @ 12:19 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment