Whether PMS symptoms have you aching like crazy, or you work at a desk job that forces you to sit with a stiff upper body most of the day, suffering from lower back pain is the worst. TBH, it might seem like you've tried everything: heating pads, a massage from bae, and even resorting to popping ibuprofen by the handful whenever the pain strikes. And yet, that stubborn ache just won't budge. However, yoga for lower back pain might just be the answer to your pain-relieving prayers.
According to a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga really can be a simple, yet highly effective cure for your lower back woes. In the research, three groups of people with chronic lower back pain were assigned different ways to relieve their aches. The results showed that those who attended yoga classes drastically reduced their need for medication by the end of the study.
And, as a yoga teacher, I can tell you with confidence that the combination of lengthening, stretching, and strengthening your spine in certain yoga poses provides the perfect trifecta to banish any type of lower back pain you may be dealing with. Specifically, flowing through these five poses will give you the relief you've been searching for. You can thank me later.
1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
I don't think I've ever instructed chair pose in one of my yoga classes without hearing audible groans from my students in response. #SorryNotSorry guys, but this pose is a serious booty-burner.
While this pose is commonly known for strengthening the glute muscles, it also does the same for the spine, providing it with the ultimate form of support and preventing future aches and pains.
It's important to always remember that when you stretch an area, it's imperative to strengthen it, as well. Inhale and sit back into your imaginary chair, then exhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling, envisioning all of your aches melting away.
2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
After working your muscles in chair pose, standing forward bend will feel like actual heaven.
Make sure you come into this pose with a nice, flat back, because any rounding of the spine might actually add to your lower back problems instead of relieving them.
If your hamstrings aren't ready for a full forward fold, try bending your knees and resting your upper body on your thighs. This will feel incredibly restorative and rejuvenating for your lower back.
However, if your hamstrings are already flexible and ready for more, try doing this pose against a wall. Let the support of the wall press against the length of your back as you drop your body as far as feels good for you. The compression will feel like an amazing release you didn't even know you needed.
3. Garland Pose (Malasana)
This deep, squatting pose stretches and lengthens the lower back, along with the ankles and groin.
Keep in mind, garland pose might feel intense at first, and don't worry if your heels don't reach the ground right away. You can get a folded blanket and rest your heels on that if you need support.
If you're still not about this pose, you can try sitting on the front edge of a chair, with your thighs forming a right angle to your torso. Then, lean your torso forward between your thighs.
Whichever variation of this pose you do, be sure to maintain even breathing and really savor all of the incredible benefits it's providing to your aches and pains.
4. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Seated spinal twist is incredible for relieving menstrual discomfort in particular. It might not be the best for lower back pain that feels more like an injury, though, so evaluate the source of your soreness to make sure you're giving your body the best type of relief.
If you know for sure your aches are the result of PMS, ardha matsyendrasana is where it's at.
Inhale, and straighten your spine, growing yourself taller. Exhale, and twist a bit deeper.
Peace out, PMS.
5. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Finally, a little core work is how you'll close your practice. Firing up those abdominal muscles will help stabilize your lower back and prevent long-term aches and pains.
Remember to keep an open chest and long spine in this strengthening pose. This way, you'll reap the most benefits for back relief.
Now say ahhhh. How's your back feeling?