yoga for back pain beginners

Yoga For Back Pain Beginners: 9 Gentle Poses And Tips To Relieve Discomfort

Back pain is a widespread issue affecting people everywhere. Look around and you’ll likely find someone who has experienced or is currently dealing with back pain. If you’re one of them, various sources have probably advised you, be it your physician, a friendly neighbor, a concerned family member or even a coworker to consider practicing yoga asanas for back pain relief. Yoga exercises are often considered a practical solution to reduce this common discomfort. In this article, our focus revolves around beginners seeking relief from back pain through the practice of yoga for back pain beginners.

So, why is yoga for upper back pain gaining so much attention in the area of treatment? Yoga, an ancient practice for mind and body healing, has garnered interest for being a non pharmacological, easy to practice and cost effective therapy. Over the last few decades, this appeal has drawn in new practitioners seeking relief. Yoga poses or asanas, specifically designed as low impact physiotherapy exercises for back pain, enhance strength, flexibility and balance in the back. When performed correctly, these poses help prevent back pain and relieve you if you’re already experiencing discomfort.

Now, before we delve into nine beginner friendly yoga poses for back pain relief, let’s prepare by considering a few essential items.


Why Do I Have Lower Back Pain All the Time?


Lower back pain has various causes. Let’s talk about whether yoga is suitable for addressing these issues.

Injured Muscles or Ligaments

  • If you suspect activity or heavy lifting caused your pain, it might be a muscle or ligament injury.
  • Yoga, especially gentle poses can aid healing by strengthening supportive muscles.

Disc, Joint or Nerve Issues

  • Consult a doctor before attempting yoga for problems like disc or joint issues.
  • Certain poses may worsen symptoms, so awareness is essential.

Body Imbalance from Desk Work

  • Sitting for a long time at a desk may lead to back pain due to poor posture and lack of movement.
  • Take breaks, stand and walk to relieve pressure. A short yoga routine can add beneficial movement and restore balance.

Yoga for back pain beginners can be helpful but it’s essential to adapt based on your specific condition. Always consult a professional for constant or severe issues.


How Yoga Helps Relieve Back Pain


Numerous studies consistently demonstrate that yoga, similar to traditional exercises and prescribed physical therapy, is effective in relieving lower back pain. If regular stretching before or after workouts hasn’t eased your chronic lower back pain, you might wonder what sets yoga apart.

The benefits of practicing yoga for your spine are manifold and it’s particularly effective in relieving lower back pain for three key reasons.

Focus on Proper Alignment

  • Yoga prioritizes getting your foundational alignment right, overreaching for an intense stretch.
  • Correct alignment of bones and joints often leads to a more effective and active stretch.

Enhanced Body Awareness

  • Unlike a post workout stretch, yoga encourages you to focus on your body’s movements.
  • This heightened awareness extends beyond the mat, helping correct posture, release tension and align the body in everyday activities.

Balanced Yoga Routines

  • Yoga aims to restore balance, addressing potential pain sources beyond the obvious.
  • Targeting areas like IT bands, hips, psoas muscles, paraspinals and abdominal muscles, yoga prevents overcompensation in the lower back and alleviates discomfort.

The thoughtful approach of yoga for back pain beginners, emphasizing alignment, body awareness and overall balance, sets it apart from conventional stretching routines.


Yoga For Back Pain Beginners: 9 Gentle Poses


We’ll explore these nine beginner yoga poses in this post:

  1. Downward Facing Dog
  2. Standing Forward Fold
  3. Cat/Cow Pose
  4. Plank Pose
  5. Extended Puppy Pose
  6. Child’s Pose
  7. Spinal Twist
  8. Pigeon Pose
  9. Happy Baby

Here’s a valuable tip from yoga teachers especially for beginners with back pain. Instead of pushing yourself too hard, allow your body to ease into the poses gradually. Overstretching might lead to injuries elsewhere or worsen your back discomfort. Remember to breathe, stay relaxed and respect your body’s current state. Let gravity take its course, doing most of the work for you.


Downward Facing Dog


yoga for back pain beginners


Even if you’re new to yoga, chances are you know this pose well and with good reason. It’s a complete body stretch that works wonders for your entire body, especially the lower back.

How to Do Downward Facing Dog

Begin in a tabletop position then take a few steps forward with your hands. Push into your hands and raise your hips up and back. Softly press your heels down keeping your knees slightly bent. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 full breath cycles. During your exhales, lift your tailbone a bit higher. This is a beginner friendly yoga move especially beneficial for those easing into yoga for back pain relief.

Helpful Tips

  • Press down firmly into each palm paying extra attention to your thumb and forefinger.
  • Spin your shoulder blades outward and upward to avoid slumping into your shoulders.
  • Let your head hang freely releasing any tension in your neck.
  • If your lower back feels rounded, go deeper by bending your knees.
  • Prioritize lifting your hips up and back rather than focusing on pressing your heels down. It’s perfectly fine if your heels don’t touch the floor.

These simple tips benefit yoga beginners in managing back pain, ensuring a comfortable practice of Downward Facing Dog.


Standing Forward Fold


yoga for back pain beginners


If you sit at a desk or on the couch for extended periods, try incorporating a break every 30 minutes to ease into this pose. You will feel refreshed and your lower back will appreciate the care. It’s a simple habit especially for yoga beginners dealing with back pain.

How to Do Standing Forward Fold

Stand with your feet hip width apart. Take a deep breath in then exhale and bend at your hips. Keep your back straight and move your hips back as you fold. Relax your upper body toward the floor and hold onto opposite elbows, allowing your neck to relax. Keep your knees slightly bent. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 total rounds of breath. This gentle yoga move is especially beneficial for beginners seeking relief from back pain.

Helpful Tips

  • Inhale to lift your tailbone, creating a gentle upward movement.
  • Exhale and allow your upper body to relax toward the floor, promoting a soothing release.
  • If your side is lifted or your back feels rounded, deepen the bend in your knees to let your belly rest on your thighs.
  • When ready to stand, ascend slowly, lifting one vertebra at a time.

This easy to follow routine is especially beneficial for beginners exploring yoga for back pain relief.


Cat/Cow Pose


yoga for back pain beginners


Absolutely true, it’s not just one pose but two. Yet, the delightful combination of flexion and extension works wonders for your spine. Transitioning between Cat and Cow benefits spinal mobility, leaving you with a sense of balance. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to discover your spine’s neutral position, contributing to better posture, a significant bonus for beginners seeking support for their lower back in yoga.

How to Do Cat/Cow Pose

Begin in a tabletop position, aligning shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.

Transition to Cat

  • Exhale, lifting your spine towards the ceiling.
  • Round shoulder blades, hug your belly in and let your head relax.
  • Feel the stretch in your upper spine.
  • Hold for three full breath rounds.

Move into Cow

  • Inhale, lifting your chest and tailbone.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together and gaze forward or slightly upward.
  • Hold for three full breath rounds.

Flow through Cat/Cow

  • Inhale to Cow, exhale to Cat.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Helpful Tips

  • Allow your breath to guide the movement, prioritizing breath over movement.
  • Emphasize a slow and careful pace during the practice.
  • Maintain a balanced distribution of weight between your hands and knees.


Plank Pose


yoga for back pain beginners


Your lower back and core are closely linked. If you’re experiencing lower spine discomfort, it might stem from an imbalance. Your spine could be compensating for your core. Strengthening your core emerges as a key solution to reduce pressure on your lower back, safeguarding it from potential injuries. Hold each pose for 5-10 complete rounds of breath.

How to Do Plank Pose

Begin in a tabletop stance then shift your feet backward to align your body parallel to the floor. Engage your core by drawing your belly in and up. Keep your gaze directed downward or slightly forward to maintain length in the back of your neck.

Helpful Tips

  • If you sense your booty lifting, gently shift your pelvis forward.
  • To prevent collapsing into your shoulders, round out your shoulder blades.
  • Enhance core engagement by pressing your heels slightly back.


Extended Puppy Pose


yoga for back pain beginners


This incredible pose is an excellent way to lengthen the spine especially for beginners exploring yoga for back pain relief. A valuable tip for protecting your lower back is to place a yoga block between your thighs and calves or opt for a rolled blanket. As you conclude, remember to leave the pose slowly for a gentle experience.

How to Do Extended Puppy Pose

Begin in a tabletop stance then gently walk your hands forward a few inches. Inhale and lift your hips up and back, aligning them over your knees as you exhale. Keep your arms engaged and relax your neck, allowing your forehead to rest on the floor, a blanket or a yoga block. Hold this comforting position for 5 to 10 total rounds of breath. 

Helpful Tips

Push your hands into the ground and evenly draw your hips back to elongate and stretch your spine in both directions.


Child’s Pose


yoga for back pain beginners


Child’s pose offers both relaxation and an active spinal stretch making it an ideal practice for beginners in yoga for back pain relief. Consider incorporating this calming pose into your nightly routine before bed to ease your mind and prepare your lower back for a comfortable rest. It also serves as a wonderful conclusion to your daily yoga practice.

How to Do Child’s Pose

Begin in a tabletop position and then gently ease your hips back towards your heels. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor. Hold this soothing posture for 5 to 10 complete rounds of breath. 

Helpful Tips

  • Exhale and use your palms to direct your tailbone down to strengthen your lower back actively.
  • For added comfort open your knees, allowing your belly to rest more comfortably on the floor.
  • If your forehead doesn’t comfortably reach the floor, consider placing a blanket or yoga block underneath for support.


Spinal Twist


yoga for back pain beginners


Gentle twists from your mid back can activate muscles around your lumbar spine, enhancing core and low back stability. This is particularly beneficial for beginners in yoga for back pain relief. Remember to focus on twisting from your mid back and belly instead of your lower back and hips. By maintaining stability in your lower body, you’ll experience increased blood flow and hydration to your lower back and discs, contributing to relief from lower back pain.

How to Do Spinal Twist

Sit on the floor with legs extended and your back straight for this beginner friendly yoga for back pain relief. Bend your left knee, placing your foot either inside or outside your right thigh. The latter for a deeper stretch. Lower your left knee to the floor behind you at the base of your spine. Extend your right elbow to the outside of your left thigh. Engage your core, lengthen your spine and twist gently. Take five breaths then switch sides for a well rounded practice.

Helpful Tips

  • If reaching your elbow to the outside of your knee feels uncomfortable, opt for wrapping your arm around your knee.
  • Consider gently pulling on your thigh to deepen the twist.
  • Throughout the pose focus on lengthening your spine toward the ceiling.
  • Maintain an even balance between your left and right sit bones on the floor.


Pigeon Pose


yoga for back pain beginners


Recall the connection between tight hips and low back pain. For beginners seeking relief in yoga for back pain, incorporating the gentle passive variation of the pigeon pose into your daily routine is crucial. This stretch targets the hips, glutes and psoas, playing a vital role in the puzzle for a happier lower back.

How to Do Pigeon Pose

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet at hips width distance. A beginner friendly yoga for back pain posture. Extend your right leg up, placing the ankle on the top of your left thigh. Flex your right foot, allowing the right knee to fall forward until you feel a gentle hip stretch. For added depth reach around for the back of your left thigh, pulling both knees toward your chest while keeping the lower back grounded. Hold for 5 to 10 breath rounds then switch sides to complete this beneficial routine for back pain relief.

Helpful Tips

  • If your hips feel uneven adjust by sending your grounded foot slightly further away from your body.
  • Ensure your head and neck remain relaxed on the floor.


Happy Baby


yoga for back pain beginners


Happy Baby is a fantastic stretch especially for beginners in yoga for back pain relief. This pose allows you to connect with your sacrum and release tension in your lower back, truly living up to its name! Experiencing a grounded Happy Baby can leave your lower back feeling relaxed and thoroughly stretched.

How to Do Happy Baby

For beginners seeking relief in yoga for back pain begin by lying flat on your back. Hug your knees towards your chest then grasp the outside edges of your feet. Flex your feet and press up through your heels while pulling down on your feet gently. Ensure your lower back stays pressed down into the ground. Hold this comforting pose for 5 to 10 rounds of breath, providing a soothing experience for your back.

Helpful Tips

  • Focus on your lower back, feeling the neutral sacrum pressing into the ground.
  • Maintain an active engagement in the pose, balancing the press and pull between your heel and hand.
  • Follow this pose with 5 to 10 minutes of Savasana for relaxation. Lie on your back, align your heels with your hips, let your toes fall out, close your eyes and unwind.




In conclusion, incorporating yoga for back pain beginners into your routine can gently and effectively relieve discomfort. These nine poses and accompanying tips provide a foundation for beginners to explore, promoting relaxation and flexibility. Individuals can gradually strengthen and comfort their lower back by prioritizing proper alignment, breathing and mindful movement. Remember, consistency is key when starting any new practice and with time yoga can become a valuable tool in the journey toward a healthier and more comfortable back. Embrace these beginner friendly poses, listen to your body and enjoy the transformative benefits that yoga for back pain beginners can bring.




1. Is yoga suitable for beginners with back pain?

Absolutely! Yoga for back pain beginners focuses on gentle poses and helpful tips to provide relief and comfort.

2. How can yoga help with lower back discomfort?

Yoga for back pain beginners emphasizes proper alignment, stretching and strengthening, promoting flexibility and relaxation in the lower back.

3. Are the poses too challenging for beginners?

Not at all. The poses provided are beginner friendly, encouraging a gradual and comfortable approach to relieve back discomfort.

4. How often should beginners practice these yoga poses?

Consistency is key. Practicing these poses regularly even for a few minutes each day can contribute to long term relief for beginners dealing with back pain.


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