Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Are you suffering from back pain?

Yoga can be a great tool to loosen tension and relieve stress. Even if you can only take 15 minutes out of your day to practice a few poses, it will pay off for lessening your back pain.

Remember to focus on slow and deep breathing, moving as you inhale and exhale. Proper alignment of poses is extremely important to a safe and effective practice of yoga. Concentrate on keeping proper alignment and if a position is a little intense for you, do not push yourself too far.

 Child’s Pose

Find this pose at any time during your practice to rest and reconnect.

  • Begin on hands and knees.
  • Place toes together with knees spread shoulder width apart.
  • Lean back with your hips to a seated position.
  • Fold forward from the hips. Rest forehead gently on mat.
  • Arms may be extended or lateral.


The Cat/Cow positions release your back and shoulders helping relieve the stress from your day.

  • Begin on hands and knees.
  • Palms are placed shoulder width apart
  • Place feet and knees hip width apart.
  • Hips should remain directly above knees and shoulders directly above palms.
  • To enter Cat: tuck your tailbone under rounding your back. Pull your belly to your spine and press through your shoulders. Head drops down to focus towards the floor.
  • To enter Cow: lift your tailbone toward the sky dropping shoulders down and back. Drop your belly down in a controlled movement and gently focus forward and up.
  • Remember: movements from Cat to Cow should be slow and controlled.

Downward facing dog

Downward facing dog stretches the spine, strengthens arms, opens shoulders and lengthen the back of the legs.

  • Begin on hands and knees. Curl toes under and press tailbone toward the sky. Hands should be parallel, shoulder width apart, with palms flat and fingers slightly spread.
  • Feet are hip width apart. Roll shoulder blades down and back. Pull belly toward your spine. Keep muscles active for a great tone and sculpt!
  • Focus on lengthening your spine, straightening your legs, and pulling heels toward the floor for the ultimate stretch.


Plank is a great position to strengthen your core, but it also targets your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest. Building strength in your core will help to improve your posture and help to release tension in your shoulders.

  • Begin in “push up position” with hands shoulder width apart and your wrist directly under your shoulders.
  • Feet are hip width apart with pressure on the balls of your feet.
  • You can also drop down to your elbows directly under your shoulders and/or drop down to your knees if the position is a little too intense.
  • Keep your head neutral and focus on pulling your shoulders down and back.
  • Begin at 15 to 30 second intervals and build up to longer times as you can.


Cobra will strengthen your upper back and shoulders leading to better posture and more confidence throughout the day.

  • Begin lying on your stomach, legs extended behind you.
  • Place palms under shoulders. Elbows tucked in at your waist.
  • Keep the tops of your feet on the floor and gently raise your chest up and out.
  • Engage shoulders and back.
  • You can keep your hands on the floor or lift them to fully engage your muscles.

Seated Spine Twist

This move may appear to be complicated but if you take it slow you’ll feel the amazing stretch through your hips and back.

  • From a sitting position, bend your right leg to rest on the floor with your right foot near your left hip.
  • Bring left foot over right knee placing foot flat on the floor.
  • Keep left hand on floor by left hip for support.
  • Place right elbow over the knee, fingertips toward the sky.
  • Eyes focus over left shoulder.
  • Repeat on the other side.

All of these poses, and several others, can be found in the Shannon Miller Yoga To-Go Book.

Please remember to consult your primary care physician before beginning any fitness plan. If you are experiencing back pain, talk with your physician to see if yoga might be right for you and your lifestyle.

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