Yoga for Relieving Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common complaint that sends many people to yoga classes.
However, a fast-moving group yoga class is not necessarily the best place for yoga for back pain relief! Having some yoga poses for lower back pain in your home yoga toolbox can really make a difference.
Yoga for Lower Back Pain Considerations
The type of yoga for lower back pain that you do will depend on your age, fitness level, yoga experience, and specific back issues.
A lot of people assume that all yoga is safe for everybody, which simply is not the case. You will need to do the right type of yoga for your specific body.
This is why it is a bad idea to compare yourself to the thin and hyperflexible yoga models that you will see in yoga magazines and on Instagram.
If you are recovering from an accident or major injury and/or have a herniated disk or a condition such as scoliosis, you will want to check with your physician first before doing any new exercises.
Also, people with osteoporosis and osteopenia have to be careful when doing extreme spinal movements. In the case of a severe osteoporosis, forced spinal flexion can result in a fracture.
A qualified yoga therapist who specializes in back pain (if you can find one in your area) can help you find the right yoga poses that will be safe for your condition.
If you can’t find a yoga therapist, but you have a back condition or other physical limitations, try setting up a private session with a yoga teacher who specializes in gentle yoga.
Using the Yoga Wheel for Lower Back Pain
Yoga as a therapeutic practice usually works best when we modify our yoga poses with appropriate props and support systems.
One of the most recent innovations in yoga is the yoga wheel, which gets rave reviews for its ability to open up tight shoulders and stretch the front part of the body while releasing stress in the back.
The yoga wheel is a very welcome innovation in yoga.
“It allows practitioners to experience deeper backbends than they might otherwise while being supported.”
One caution with the yoga wheel – a good portion of the photos you will see of people using the yoga wheel are advanced practitioners who already have a lot of flexibility and strength.
For example, you’ll commonly see photos of people doing kapotasana (king pigeon pose) using the yoga wheel. This is an extreme backbend that should not be attempted by yoga novices or anyone with a serious back condition or injury.
Start with something less deep at first with the yoga wheel as support. You can work your way up to kapotasana using the yoga wheel, having a qualified yoga teacher or therapist to guide you.
The yoga wheel can be used safely for a variety of yoga practitioner levels, but don’t just jump on it without taking some time to understand how it works first.
Generally, the yoga wheel is not as restorative as it might seem – when using it for backbends – and gives you more height than it appears at first glance. Therefore, having some extra props handy, such as blocks or blankets, can be helpful.
These can be placed around the yoga wheel to make a backbend a little less intense for newbies.
Of course, that the yoga wheel has a super deep stretch that goes beyond a standard balance ball is makes it so popular!
3 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain Using a Yoga Wheel
The yoga wheel is a great tool to have in your yoga prop collection. Here are some tips on using it therapeutically and safely for lower back pain.
1. Seated Forward Fold
A restorative forward fold can help reduce tension in the low back.
The problem is, if you are not one of those super flexible people who can rest your head between your legs, then how can you relax?
You’ve tried piling up bolsters in front of you, but they are bulky, tend to fall, and even then, may still not be high enough.
The yoga wheel is a great place to rest your head during a seated forward fold.
Less bulky than bolsters, it can also be rolled forward and back for perfect placement.
Make sure you bend your knees before relaxing down.
Note: forward folds can be contraindicated for osteoporosis.
2. Standing Forward Fold
Once again, the yoga wheel comes to the rescue as a place to rest your weary head while in a standing forward fold.
It works so much better than stacking blocks on top of each other. Make sure you keep a gentle bend in the knees.
For some people with back pain, placing a soft block between the stomach and thighs can also increase space in the low back and feel wonderful.
3. Yoga Wheel as Back Massager
As we mentioned above, you don’t want to use the yoga wheel for a full king pigeon pose the first time out.
Instead, you can use the yoga wheel as a rolling back massager. Use blankets or blocks around the wheel if you need to when you first try it out to lessen the depth of the backbend.
Gently sit in front of the yoga wheel and lower your back down. You might try lifting your hips and knees up off the ground. Find that perfect spot and relax….ahhhh!
Yoga Wheel for Relieving Lower Back Pain
We have just scratched the surface on how you can safely use the yoga wheel for low back pain.
At UpCircleSeven, we offer high quality, affordable yoga wheels covered in cork and yoga mat material.