Want to find some short yet sweat-inducing yoga sequences for back pain? This blog post will detail a 15-20 minute sequence of yoga poses that you can use in between work breaks or as a warm-up to a longer practice. Not only will this sequence help stretch and strengthen your back, it will also add in some glute strengthening with a little bit of core.
TLDR; Scroll to the bottom for a 22-minute yoga sequence for back pain with some glute strengthening!
Why Do We Experience Back Pain?
Many of us experience back pain but for various reasons. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t diagnose the causes for yours. I can only share resources and insight on the common factors that include (but aren’t limited to):
-Low core strength
-Tight (weak) hip flexors
-Scar tissue in the connective tissue
Notice how I didn’t mention the back itself. To be real, it’s hard to just isolate one muscle group or body region and say that it’s the prime factor in back pain (and pain in general). You can read an in-depth explanation of “sleepy glutes” and low-back pain here.
The latest science even shows that pain isn’t necessarily from the stimuli. It can be a combination of our emotional state, previous experiences with similar situations, the level of security that our nervous system is protecting us with and competition with our proprioceptors (the neurons that sense where our body is in space). Learn about the primary sensory neurons called “nociceptors” from this research article by Woolf and Ma.
To put it succinctly: Our backs are just part of an entire system of movers in our uniquely-structured bodies. This is why today’s sequence includes the glutes and core. These two areas literally have our backs.
Our backs are just part of an entire system of movers in our uniquely-structured bodies. This is why today’s sequence includes the glutes and core. These two areas literally have our backs.
Yoga for Back Pain: Warm-Up
- Begin by sitting. You can choose Sukhasan/Cross-Legged Seat or Deer Pose with the option to sit on a block or a folded blanket. Take a couple of moments to notice the quality of your breath and the sensation of your back. No judgement. No attempts to fix. Just notice.
2. Next, sweep your arms up towards the ceiling and reach. Notice any sensation under your armpits and in your upper back. Then, draw your shoulder blades towards each other as you bend your elbows and arms into goal post shapes. Repeat 3x.
3. Now, it’s time for side-bending to care for our spine. Rest your right hand on the mat as you reach your left arm overhead. Switch sides. Do this 3x.
Yoga for Back Pain: The Build-Up
4. After this seated warm-up, it’s time to build up more heat. Come into a table-top position with hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Option to add more side-bending for more spinal care. Then, come into bird-dog. Reach your right arm forward and extend your left leg back.
5. From here, bend your left knee as you gaze towards your left foot and grab it with your left hand. Gaze back forward, then kick your foot so much into your left hand for a few moments before you release the grip while your left heel reaches for your left glute. Option to place your left hand down under your left shoulder or reach it forward. Switch sides.
6. Walk your knees back or walk your hands forward and apart so you can slowly lower down for Cobra. For this expression of Cobra, press your pubic bone down while lengthening your spine. Imagine someone was pulling a string from the top of your head away from the bottom of your feet. Broaden your shoulders away from each other and allow your hands to move in response to this broadening.
7. Reach your arms forward and lift as if you’re flying. Then, draw your shoulder blades together again. Repeat 3x.
8. Plant your palms down underneath your shoulders. Come onto your knees, then lift your hips up to downward-facing dog.
Yoga for Back Pain: Peak Poses and Glute Work
If you’ve kept reading up to this point, there’s even more to this yoga sequence for back pain. We’ll get into Eagle Pose but invert it for some more back care and add in glute strengthening. It’ll all tie back into the beginning of this sequence in the video below. Take a look, practice along, and let me know how it goes!
PS. As usual, the two puppy-cats Bowie and Franklin pop in to pandiculate, stretch and be natural yogis.
PS. If this yoga sequence for back pain was beneficial to you, consider treating us out to a Golden Milk Latte (or a Coffee). If you are, you can choose to donate once or monthly. Your treat helps us continue to share yoga anatomy and biomechanics with many of you looking for a well-rounded practice.
WOOLF & MA, NOCICEPTORS: NOXIOUS STIMULUS DETECTORS. NEURON 2007.