Whether you’ve suffered from back pain for years or are trying to strengthen your back to prevent pain from inflicting your daily routine, these four yoga poses for back pain relief will help keep your back healthy and strong. 

This yoga for back pain sequence is for the occasional back pain sufferer and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases or symptoms. If you experience constant back pain, please consult a medical professional. 

4 yoga poses for back pain relief: 

Cat/Cow Pose

Cat and cow pose are awesome for building flexibility in your spine. This is a great way to begin your practice, or an easy pose to do just about anywhere. 

Start in a tabletop position on all fours. Stack your hips over your knees and place your shoulders over your wrists. Drop your belly and lift your gaze for cow pose. Make a “U” with your spine. For cat, drop your gaze and round your back. Imagine making an upside down “U” with your spine. Move through this series three times before returning to a tabletop position.  

Standing Forward Bend

This posture, often called “ragdoll”, helps to alleviate back pain by stretching your hamstrings and releasing your shoulders. From cat/cow pose, move into downward facing dog by tucking your toes and lifting your hips up and back. Step your feet behind your wrists so that they are hips-width distance. Hinge from your hips and place your fingers in opposite elbow crooks. Be sure to evenly distribute your body weight, so you do not place too much pressure on your heels or the balls of your feet. Allow your head and neck to hang heavy. Remain in standing forward bend for three to five breaths before rolling up one vertabrae at a time to a standing position. 

Cobra Pose

This posture builds strength in your back without placing a ton of pressure on your back. Begin lying on your belly. Place your palms right under your shoulders. Zip your legs together into one long tail and press the tops of your feet into your mat. Inhale and lift your head, neck, and shoulders (but keep your gaze down at your mat to prevent crunching your neck), eventually lifting your palms off of your mat as well. Hold for three breaths, then slowly lower back down to the earth. 

Pigeon Pose

You may assume that half pigeon pose is only beneficial for your hips, but tight hips contribute to low back pain in a major way. To get into pigeon, begin in downward facing dog. Inhale and lift your right leg high. Exhale and draw your right knee to your right wrist to make a number “7” with your body. Lay your right shin as parallel to the top edge of your mat as possible. If you are very tight, draw your right foot in more towards your body. Be sure to flex your foot to protect your knee. Gaze back and make sure that your back leg is pointing straight behind you. Inhale and sit up tall. Roll your shoulders back before lowering slowly down to the mat. Come to your forearms and allow your head and neck to relax. Stay here for five breaths. Get more tips on how to do pigeon pose here.

Return to your palms and tuck your back toes to lift back into downward facing dog. Repeat on the other side.