5 Poses to Slay Back Pain

Have you ever experienced back pain?
...You probably just answered with “no shit”, right? If you have a spine then you’ve probably had some kind of back pain at some time or another. It’s frighteningly common.

There are countless reasons why people get back pain.
It could be from spending a metric fuck ton of time slumped over your desk or you phone. Perhaps your desk chair is a little bit too low so you have to use T-Rex arms while you’re typing all day. These kinds of awkward repeated actions can become an injury. Or maybe you just lifted something wrong! 

Whatever the cause, we've got your back. (See what I did there?!)
Here are a couple awesome poses to help you slay your back pain. If you like them, check out our our Rage Yoga Online Videos

1- Cat/Cow

Why it’s awesome:
Not only does it give you an excuse to make ridiculous animal noises.. but this combination is also great for warming up the back muscles and waking up the spine. It stimulates the entire spine to help keep it healthy and mobile which is an important key factor for overall health and mobility. 

What to watch out for + Variations: 
If you have any back problems then proceed with caution. Only go as far as is comfortable!
If you have troubles with you wrists then you can modify this pose by dropping down on to your elbows instead of being on your hands.
You can also explore this pose more deeply by getting dynamic with your body. Take your spine side to side or get fancy and try some circles!

Do the thing:
ome up on to all fours with knees under the hips and wrists under shoulders. Move to Cow by lowering your abdomen and shifting your gaze upwards on the inhale. Move to Cat by arching your back (like a pissed of kitty cat) and taking your gaze towards your belly button. Flow back and forth between these poses as many times as you like. Inhale to Cow. Exhale to Cat. 

2-Upward Facing Dog

Why it’s awesome:
This pose is fantastic for counteracting the slump that we tend to adopt when we spend a lot of time on our electronic devices and/or at our desk. This pose is also known for relieving lower back or sciatic pain, and also for opening up the chest.

What to watch out for + Variations: 
Be careful if you have a back injury. To prevent compressing those lower vertebrae, engage your abdominal muscles ever so slightly.
If your wrists are sensitive and can’t handle much weight, try changing the angle of the pose so that more of your weight comes into the legs.
Make sure your shoulders aren't crawling up into the ears! This is a common misalignment in this pose. Keep the chest open with shoulders down the back. 

Do the thing:
Begin laying on your stomach, resting your head on the floor with hands planted at your sides. Inhale, lift your hip ever so slightly, engaging the core. Exhale, peel your torso off of the ground from the waist up. As you straighten your arms be sure not to hyperextend your elbows! Keep the chest open and shoulders down the back, gaze forward and lifted. You can deepen the pose from here by pressing into the tops of your feet to lift the knees off of the mat.

3-Child's Pose

Why it’s awesome:
This is a very calming and soothing pose. Because your heart is slightly higher than your head, Child’s Pose is a mild inversion. Inversions are a great reset for the nervous system and can give you more clarity and energy. They are also awesome for relieving back pain!

What to watch out for + Variations:
Be careful if you have low blood pressure or eye issues! You can modify this pose to make it more gentle by adding a pillow under your head and/or chest.
You can also explore different arm and leg positions. Some people like to take their hands down by their feet with their palms up. Others prefer to do this pose with their knees together instead of wide.

Do the thing:
Begin by kneeling on the floor with your big toes touching and let your knees go wide. Inhale, bring your bottom close by your heels. On the exhale, start walking your hands forward until your upper body comes to a resting position. Deepen this pose by planting down through the tailbone and extending long through the arms. Experiment with different arm and/or knee positions as you like. 

4- Reclined Twists

Why it’s awesome:
Twists can help improve circulation and are awesome for neck pain, sciatica and back pain. So… they’re pretty much the cat's pyjamas (whatever that means). 

What to watch out for + Variations:
If you have back issues then you may want to modify this pose by putting something under you knees. You could do this with a yoga block or a blanket or whatever you have on hand. This will soften the intensity of the twist.

Do the thing:
Begin by laying on your back with your arms open wide in a T shape. Next, bend your legs like you’re sitting in an invisible chair with your calves parallel to the ground. Let both knees slowly fall over to one side. You can depend the twist in the mid and lower back by taking your opposite hand to the top knee, using the weight to pull the knee deeper into the twist. You can also shift your gaze away from the knees to deepen the twist in the upper back. 

5-Wind Relief Pose

Why it’s awesome:
This is another very calming pose which is said to relieve insomnia, fatigue, menstrual pain, anxiety and minor backache. 

What to watch out for + Variations:
If your knees are problematic then try grabbing on to the back on your thighs instead.
You can also try adding a bit of motion to it by rocking back and forth.
Another variation is to only hold on to one knee and keeping the other leg extended long on the ground. This is especially good for lower back pain and sciatica! 

Do the thing:
Start off laying on your back. Bring both knees in towards the body. Bring hands just below the knees (or on the back of the thighs) and give them a great big hug! Try to keep your back flat on the ground, planting down through the tailbone and flattening out the shoulders. Continue to take deep belly breaths so that you can feel the stomach pressing into the legs. This breathing acts as a gentle massage.

So... in conclusion! 

Back pain is a fact of life for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to be!
Remember to keep an eye on how your daily activities affect your pain levels and make adjustments as you see fit. Also be sure to stash these poses away in your brain box for when you need some sweet sweet relief! 


PS If you're ready to dive deeper into your practice then here are some cool things to check out!
--->Rage Yoga Online Videos (videos to help you build a badass at-home yoga practice)
--->Yoga Body Naturals (sells great yoga products from DVDs, to props, to supplements!)
--->5 Poses for Happy Hamstrings (hamstrings and low back pain are often related)