Release knotted muscles in your back and alleviate back pain with these yoga poses and sequences.
The postures in this sequence are designed to strengthen your back and reduce a backache caused by stiffness in the spinal muscles and poor posture. When doing these postures, flow into each asana gently under the supervision of your yoga teacher. It’s important to develop an awareness of your posture. With regular practice, expect your back to get stronger and for any aches or pains to slowly disappear…
- Bharadvajasana (twist with hands on the wall)
Sit close to a wall. Fold your legs away with the left ankle resting in the arch of the right foot. Keep knees together and ensure pelvis is straight. Keeping the buttocks down, inhale, lengthen to sit tall and exhale twist and place both hands on the wall, chest open and shoulders down.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog)
a) Go onto all fours with knees under hips and hands under shoulders.
b) Press inner palms firmly on the mat, arms straight.
c) Lift up through shoulders to tailbone
d) Inhale, lift knees and hips up, move the torso towards the thighs.
d) Keep legs a little bent, further extend the torso towards the thighs.
e) Straighten the legs and take the heels towards the floor.
- Trikonasana (Triangle)
a) Stand in Tadasana, then step about 3 feet apart.
b) Rotate right leg from the hip-joint and turn the leg 90 degrees, front knee in line with front foot.
c) Lift kneecaps and thigh muscles.
d) With weight on the outer edge of the back foot and ball of the front foot, tilt the hips as you exhale and extend towards the front foot. Take hold of the front shin or use a block for your bottom hand, fingers pointing forward. Aim to extend both sides of the torso evenly.
e) With both legs activated, rotate the torso so that the chest is turning up towards the ceiling.
f) Raise the back arm up in line with the bottom arm, rotate the chest more.
g) Inhale, place weight on the back heel and come up. Repeat on the other side.
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward dog)
a) Lie on your abdomen and place your forehead on the mat. Place blocks by the sides of your ribcage.
b) Curl your toes under and place your hands on the block with your fingers pointing forward.
c) Extend tailbone away from the waist.
d) Press with your hands on the blocks, inhale and push up into upward facing dog pose.
e) Thighs and knees are off the floor, extend the heels away from the waist to help straighten the back of the legs.
f) Lift up through your shoulders and take the sternum forward and up, look up to come out, bent your elbows, lower your torso to the floor and go back on the abdomen.
- Pavanmuktasana (Embryo Pose)
a) Place a bolster in front of you, in the middle of the mat, so that it touches your inner knees.
b) Rest your torso over the bolster and place your hands on either side of the front of the bolster.
c) Turn your head to face the right and stay for as long as needed. Turn your head the other way after 30 seconds.
d) Inhale, press up and come out of the pose.
- Fathara parivartanasa (hip twist)
a) Lie on your back with legs bent.
b) Inhale, take your knees towards your chest and then over to the right, placing the knees and feet on the floor.
c) Inhale and raise the knees back up and place your feet back on the floor. centre the torso.
- Virasana (forward bend)
a) Place your hands on the mat in front of you in line with the shoulder tops. Spread the fingers evenly, middle finger pointing forward.
b) Slide your hands forward until your torso is fully extended while buttocks remain on the heels.
c) Place the inner palms firmly on the mat and lift the elbows up.
d) Place a blanket on your heels for your buttocks to rest on if they cannot stay on the heels, and put support under your forehead to help take the buttocks down more.
- Viparita Karani (with legs up the wall)
a) Place the bolster about 15cm away from the wall.
b) Come onto your side, support yourself with the right elbow and let both buttocks touch the wall.
c) Slide the right arm under the left arm and roll onto your back keeping contact with buttocks to the wall. the bolster is now under your lower back and the buttocks are dropping into the space between the wall and bolster.
d) Ensure that the torso is aligned with your legs.
e) Arms can be either at the side of the torso, rotating the upper arms from the inside out and palms facing up to the ceiling, arms bent to 90 degrees.
f) It is good to stay in this pose for at least five minutes. If your back is sensitive, let the lower legs resting on a seat of a chair, feet hip distance apart.
- Savasana (corpse pose)
Lie down comfortably, slowly relaxing all muscles and joints from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Allow your breath to become relaxed as you let go and drift deeper into a peaceful state.
Always check with your medical Doctor before starting any type of therapy for your back.
* Special thanks to Elmien Pickering for demonstrating Iyengar poses.
Compilation and art direction by Kish.