Yoga for Backache - General Practice

This is a general practice to help relieve backache.  Please check with your doctor before starting a yoga practice.  Many of these poses can also be used in your morning routine.

Adho Mukha Dandasana - rope wall (1 minute x 2)

I am using a yoga wall.  If you have something to hang from safely this pose is nice to lengthen the spine. 

Seated Bharadvajasana - (30-60 seconds x 2)

Sit on the side of a chair, with feet hip width apart and parallel to each other.  Make sure sit bones are even on the chair seat.  Press into the feet and sit bones and inhale lengthening the spine up. I have placed a block between the knees to keep the thighs parallel.  Exhale and begin to turn from the lower back towards the seat back.  On the next exhalation turn from the mid-back, then turn the shoulders and head to look behind you.  Inhale and exhale, returning to a forward position.  Swing legs around to the other side and repeat.

Utthita Marichyasana - ( 30-60 seconds x 2)

Place chair or stool about a foot from the wall.  Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) facing the chair.  Place the foot closest to the wall on the chair.  Press into both feet.  Keep the standing leg firm and press the thighbone back.  Lengthen the side body evenly and lift the chest.  Inhale and then exhaling turn towards the wall from the lower back.  Bring the hands to the wall to help rotate the spine.  Keep the hips from moving and just keep gently rotating the spine up from the tailbone to the shoulders and head.  Exhale to release and repeat on other leg.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - facing forward - (1 minute/side x 2)

Stand in Tadasana a legs length from the wall.  I am using the straps of a yoga wall to hang onto.  If you have a way to hang on to a strap higher up, it helps to keep the spine long and chest lifting.  Otherwise, use a strap around the foot, as in the pose below.  Keeping the hips square press into both feet.  Roll the outer thighs inward, draw the tailbone in and up the spine and keep the shoulders rolling back and down with the collarbones broadening out towards the outer tips of the shoulders.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - facing forward
Use chair with or without height if bringing foot to wall is difficult

Use same instructions as above, just using a chair/stool/table/counter for height.

Utthita Trikonasana - (30-60 seconds/side x 2)

I am doing Triangle pose at the wall.  This helps support the back body.  I have given some instructions for this pose in my blog in the pose of the month for October 2010.

Ardha Chandrasana (30-60 seconds/side x 2)

These are general instructions. Place length of mat at the wall with a block at the back right side.  Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) facing out about 1/2 foot from the wall.  Step the feet about 4 feet apart.  Turn the left foot in about 30 degrees and the right leg rotates out 90 degrees.  As you bend the front knee, step the back foot in slightly and bring front hand onto the block about a foot in front of your right foot and then simultaneously lift straighten the front leg and lift the back leg up. Roll the top shoulder up, extend the top arm and use the wall for support and alignment.  The top leg is parallel to the floor. Both legs are straight and active.  To come out, bend the front knee and slowly come back down.  Step back to Tadasana and repeat on the other side.

Parivrtta Trikonasana - with chair - (30-60 seconds/side x 2)

Stand in Tadasana.  Step the left foot forward and then adjust the back foot further back so that the feet are about 3 feet apart. The back toes are turned out slightly.  Bring the chair to the left hip. Press into both feet, keep the hips facing forward and roll outer thighs inwards.  Inhale and lengthen the spine.  As you exhale begin to revolve the torso towards the chair.  Place the left hand on the chair back and the right hand on the chair seat.  Use the chair for support and to help lengthen and turn the upper body. Roll the bottom ribs up towards the top ribs and roll the top shoulder back.  Try to keep the back of the head, back and tailbone in line.  Move the right hand down the chair leg if you can without hunching the back.  Press the floor firmly with the feet and inhale to come up.  Repeat on other side.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - with chair - (30-60 seconds x 2)

Place chair securely on a sticky mat or with chair at the wall so it will not slip.  Stand behind the chair and place hands on chair back.  Rest hip bones on chair back and move feet back.  Keep legs firm, with thighs pressing back, outer thighs rolling inward.  As hips release forward, draw the tailbone in and up the spine.  Keep the spine long, arms straight and shoulders rolling back and down with chest open.  Inhale and exhale stepping in carefully towards chair.

Ardha Supta Pavanmuktasana - (30-60 seconds/side x 2)

Lie flat on back.  Bend left knee to chest by softening abdomen and deepen the hip crease.  You can hold the shin or if knee issue hold the back of the thigh.  Press the straight leg to the floor and extend out the heel.  Release the lower back to the floor and keep the shoulders and neck relaxed and chest open.  Repeat on other side.

Supta Padangusthasana I - (1-2 minutes/side x 2)

Lie flat on back. Bend right knee and place strap around right foot.  Hold strap with right or left hand and extend leg up pressing sole of foot towards ceiling.  Lengthen through the back of both legs.  Press both thigh bones back and engage the thigh muscles.  Outer thighs roll in slightly.  Keep the shoulders relaxed, chest open with collarbones drawing out towards the outer tips of the shoulders.  Release strap and press foot back up towards ceiling.  Then exhale and slowly lower leg back to floor keep leg straight.  Repeat on other side.

Supta Pavanmuktasana - (60-90 seconds)

Lie flat on back.  Bend both knees and hug to chest.  Soften abdomen and deepen the hip crease area.  Release the lower back to the floor and keep the face, neck and shoulder area relaxed.

Ardha Matsyendrasana - at wall - (30-60 seconds/side x 2)

Place block about 1/2 foot from wall.  Sit on block with right hip near the wall and legs extended out in Dandasana (Staff Pose).  Bring the the foot to the outside of the right hip and step the right foot over the left leg. Press right foot firmly into the floor.  Inhale, descend the sit bones and lengthen the spine up.  Exhale and begin to turn from the lower back towards the wall.  Bring the hands to the wall to help turn and lengthen the spine. Keep revolving up the spine to look over the right shoulder.  Stay for a few breaths.  Exhale and return to Dandasana.  Repeat on other side.

Parsva Pavanmuktasna - (1-2 minutes/side x 2)

Place two chairs side by side.  Sit on one chair and place a bolster on the other.  Trying to keep the hips facing forward, rotate the torso lying the abdomen down first then the chest and head.  Rest on one cheek and then turn head to other cheek.  Repeat turning to opposite side.

Pavanmuktasana - (5 minutes)

Place two chairs facing each.  Sit on one chair and place one or two bolsters on the opposite chair.  Draw the bolster in as close as you can to your inner thighs.  Inhale, press into the feet, descend the sit bones and lengthen the spine.  As you exhale lower the abdomen first, then the chest and then turn head one direction and rest and then the other direction.  Use the breath to help release and soften the back.  To come out, inhale and press the feet into the floor and the hands onto the thighs.  Come up with a long spine.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana - at wall - (5 minutes)

With legs moving up the wall, buttocks close the the wall and back flat on the floor, extend the arms up overhead.  Draw the lower back to the floor and bring the lower tips of the shoulder blades into the back.  As the arms extend overhead press them firmly into the floor and keep the shoulders moving away from the ears.  Press the legs into the wall and roll the outer thighs in slightly.  Engage the quadriceps/thigh muscles and lengthen through the back of the legs.  To come out roll to the right side and press the floor to come up.

Jathara Parivartanasana - with knees bent - (from side to side several times)

Lie flat on back and draw knees up to chest.  Open arms out to the sides.  Inhale and as exhale drop knees over the the right side.  Allow abdomen to soften as knees move down and try to keep shoulders on floor and chest open.  Keep the throat and eyes soft.  Inhale and bring knees back up and repeat on other side.

Savasana wih chair - (10 minutes)

Lie flat on back a slight distance from chair.  Place flesh of calves on chair seat.  Move the flesh of buttocks away from you to lengthen the lower back. Keep chest open with outer tips of shoulders dropping to floor. Soften the muscles of the face and throat and keeps eyes gently closed looking down to the heart centre.

Pamela Nelson