A constant, aching pain your back can ruin your day before it even has a chance to begin. And while it can be tempting to simply mask the feeling with some Advil, there are natural remedies, like yoga, that can help soothe the root of the soreness, rather than put a temporary band-aid on it. However, if you don't have time for a full-on flow, there is one yoga pose for back pain that will get the job done whenever your spine is in need of some major TLC.
Now, it's important to note that, if you've been dealing with chronic back pain for a while now, it's important that you talk to your doctor to see what your treatment options are, and what might work best for you. But, if you've already been-there-done-that, and you have no idea what will make you feel better, at this point, yoga might just be the solution you've been hoping for.
According to research published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, if you find yourself constantly dealing with an achy back, yoga can help to significantly reduce the need for pain medication. The study showed that, of three different groups of people who were suffering from back pain (70 percent of whom were taking meds for it), and were trying various treatments for it, the group who participated in yoga reduced their need for painkillers by a whopping 50 percent.
Now, as a yoga teacher myself, I recommend restorative beginner classes for anyone and everyone experiencing persistent back pain (with the go-ahead from your doctor, of course).
However, if you don't always have time to make it to class, practicing child's pose — or balasana, in Sanskrit — for a few minutes at home will help relieve that lingering upper- and lower-back soreness.
While there are certainly many poses known to relieve back aches and help you return to a pain-free state of being, balasana is the universal pose that can help with a wide range of back tension, without causing further irritation to more intense cases of back discomfort.
Finding your way into a lengthy and restorative child's pose will help your entire body and mind relax, while simultaneously providing a luscious stretch to both your back and your hips.
Since back pain is often caused by poor posture (hello, desk jobs and smartphones), the release that balasana brings to the muscles in the front of your body will help remedy this issue, according to Yoga Outlet. Any lingering tension in the shoulders and neck will slowly melt away as you breathe deeply in this asana, allowing your body to melt slowly into the earth beneath you.
Child's pose is a safe haven where you can decompress and allow the posture to passively stretch the muscles in your back, relieving your sacrum and any pain you might be experiencing there.
Your breath is an important tool here, too, so remember to close your eyes and activate those deep belly breaths — or your "Ujjayi" breathing.
Remember, if you need to, you can make your child's pose even more restorative, by including props to support your head and torso.
While the setup for this version of balasana does require a bit more effort on your part, I promise, it's totally worth it, my friends. As you rest in this luxuriously comfortable position, again, tune into your prana, which is your breath, or life force.
On each inhale, allow your shoulder blades to rise, expand, and spread away from one other, filling each and every crevice of your body with sweet air. On your long exhales, envision your shoulder blades being released, while gently melting toward the earth and becoming one with the cushion beneath you.
Hope you feel better soon, my fellow yogis!