Lower Back Pain? Try These 3 Simple Yoga Poses

A person practicing Restorative Child's Pose in a sequence for lower back pain

Article At A Glance

Curious about unlocking the secrets to relieve an achy lower back? This article explores how yoga poses can alleviate lower back pain by emphasizing mindful practice and releasing restrictions in the thoracolumbar sheath. And as an added bonus, a video resource with specific poses for stretching the lower back is included here!

Lower back pain can be everything from an ongoing nuisance to a debilitating life crisis. Everyone who feels lower back pain needs both pain alleviation and learning how to move without retriggering the problem. So how can yoga poses help alleviate lower back pain? And how can you help yourself with yoga poses for lower back pain?

Yoga poses can help relieve lower back pain. But they can also do nothing or even hurt you. How you approach and actually do the yoga poses makes all the difference. Let me tell you!

The Thoracolumbar Sheath and Lower Back Pain

There are connective tissue sheaths in your lower back. These sheaths, especially the thoracolumbar sheath, connect your upper body to your butt and legs. It also connects your lower back to your abdominal or “core” muscles. So if you want to relieve lower back pain, it helps to eliminate any restriction, gripping, or crimping in this sheath. And, of course, if you don’t ease out the restrictions, then the yoga poses you do to help your lower back won’t be as effective. Yoga poses for lower back pain are like a path that connects the part with the whole.

How to Release Lower Back Pain

Try this simple experiment:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Notice how much space there is between your lower back and the floor.
  2. Now, do just a few pelvic tilts. As you inhale, allow your pelvic rim to move forward, creating a bit more of an arch in your lumbar. As you exhale, allow your pelvic rim to draw back so that your lower back flattens a bit.
  3. Do these gently and without strain. With each movement, try to be as smooth and fluid as possible. Go for a slide, glide in your movement, and do your best not to tighten and grip.
  4. If you are unsure how to do them, watch my video on sciatica and lower back pain and learn!

After you do a few pelvic tilts, notice if there is less space between your lower back and the floor. If so, you have released some of your thoracolumbar sheaths. Now try Child’s Pose (Balasana) or Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana). If you are unfamiliar, these poses involve a rounded back and will stretch your lower back. The stretch should be easier and more pleasant after you release the sheath!

Reprinted with permission from Donna Brooks & originalbodywisdom.com
donna brooks

After four decades of experience helping my clients unwind limiting movement patterns and heal body-mind disconnection, I have put together simple but profound embodiment exercises that help everything from pain to Parkinson’s Disease and pelvic floor issues to the trauma of grief and loss. I have a broad toolbox that relieves stress in the nervous system so you move with more ease and integration while also gaining perspective, insight, and courage.

I have also taught yoga, meditation, and relaxation for chronic pain through the Valley Medical Group and assisted Iyengar teacher Karin Stephen in her programs for people with HIV-AIDS.  I teach popular walking and pelvic floor clinics and create somatic yoga programs for YogaUOnline.

But my biggest lesson has been the death of my 36-year-old son. He died at a peak point of his career. This could have destroyed me. Certainly, it is devastating but instead of collapsing, I am understanding my own work more deeply. I have been so fortunate that I have tools that let me feel the goodness of being alive and in that goodness, my pain, horror, frustration, and panic can arise without overwhelming my system.

I am a certified Yoga Therapist and a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator. I hold a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook. I have been teaching yoga since 1981 and somatics since 1993. I am trained in Iyengar yoga, I have studied with somatic movement/ embodiment pioneers including Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Emilie Conrad.

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