10 Yoga Back Stretches From An Expert That’ll Alleviate Any WFH Pain

Because leaning over a desk isn’t good for anyone.

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Raise your hand if you are currently dealing with some form of back pain. While you wish you could have a totally ergonomic work-from-home setup, you may not have the space or budget to buy all the products you need. Luckily, there are some yoga back stretches that’ll help with any back or shoulder pain you may be experiencing.

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Elite Daily spoke with Olivia Otten, an Open breathwork and yoga teacher, who shared some of the best yoga exercises for back pain. These poses may help after sitting at your desk all day or being huddled over your laptop, sifting through emails. If you’re ready to feel better, click through to see the best back yoga poses to try.

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Standing Forward Fold

Otten shares that Uttanasana “opens up the entire back line of your body.” All you need to do is “stand with your feet hip width distance apart or even a little wider” and bend your torso over. Allow your body to hang there with your arms heavy and your shoulders relaxed. Otten also says you can bend your knees so that your torso rests slightly on your thighs, and “shake your head yes and no to relax your neck.”

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Seated Butterfly Forward Fold

On the floor, the Baddha Konasana can give you a “full spinal stretch” that Otten says can open “up into the lower back through a deep hip stretch.” Just bring your feet together and “practice folding your torso forward, reaching your arms to the floor slightly out in front of you.” Be sure to relax your neck and shoulders and breathe into the stretch.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Seated Torso Circles

While still on the ground, you can perform these Sufi Grinds to open “up into the entire spinal column, especially the lower back.” Just cross your legs and “place one hand palm down on each knee.” As you sit up tall, relax your shoulders and begin “to rotate your torso in a circular motion.” Otten says to “change direction after a few breaths.”

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is one of the easiest yoga stretches, and Otten says it can also be a gentle stretch for the entire back as it “opens up muscles in the hips and takes the pressure off the lower back.” All you need to do is fold over your thighs as you sit on your shins and stretch your arms out in front of you.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Supported Bridge Pose

The Setu Bandha Sarvangasana “takes the pressure off your spine, creates space between the vertebrae, and releases the lower back.” To get into this pose, bend your knees while laying on your back, and “press into your feet” while lifting your hips up and squeezing your glutes. Otten suggests you “take a few moments to move around a little until you find a position/sweet spot that feels good and supportive for you.”

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Seated Side Bends

The Parsva Sukhasana “stretches the spine,” according to Otten, and can improve “spinal mobility.” All you need to do is “inhale as you reach both arms up above you” in a seated position, and “find a side stretch” as you exhale with “one hand down to the floor alongside your hip.” Perform this on both sides “after a few breaths.”

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Cat And Cow

The cat and cow, or Chakravakasana, will open up your entire spine while also massaging it. According to Otten, you’ll want to get on all fours with “your hands underneath your shoulders, fingers spread wide.” As you inhale, “lower your belly” and “lift your chin and tailbone up.” When you exhale, you’ll “round your spine” while bringing your chin and tailbone in.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Standing Spinal Rolls

The Uttanasana to Tadasana will open up and gently massage your spine, which Otten shares will also use “gravity to aid the full spinal decompression.” From your standing forward fold, which you’ve already mastered, you’ll “slowly start to curl your torso all the way to stand up, keeping your head and arms heavy and your neck and shoulders relaxed.” Make sure to bring your head up last. When you’re ready, roll back down and repeat as many times as needed.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Extended Legs Seated Forward Fold

Back down on your mat, you’ll want to do the Paschimottanasana, which “opens the entire spinal column.” Just inhale, sitting up tall, with your legs in front of you, and as you exhale, slowly fold your torso over your thighs. While you can stretch your arms out, this “is less about touching your toes and more about allowing yourself to soften forward” with your arms heavy.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

Supine Twists

To finish off your yoga back stretches, try the Supta Matsyendrasana to open up your spine and increase “flexibility and range of motion.” While laying down and hugging your knees, extend the right leg long onto the mat out in front of you. Otten says to “keep hugging the left knee in as you inhale” before drawing “the left knee over to your right” as you exhale while keeping your left arm extended out. Be sure to do this on both sides.

Courtesy of Olivia Otten

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