18 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain

This article is reviewed by experts.

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Back pain affects most adults at some point and for many it can become a persistent problem that is debilitating. Yet, it’s something that we don’t treat as seriously as we should, simply because it’s such a common problem. Unfortunately, back pain can be progressive, worsening over time if not addressed early. An important way to safeguard against back pain, whether affecting the lower or upper back, is by staying active and taking up exercises that strengthen the muscles of the core and back, reducing pressure on the spine. The use of yoga for back pain relief or prevention is extremely effective and widely recognized 1. However, it’s important that you choose the right poses to get the best results.

The Best Yoga Poses For Back Pain

Here are 18 yoga poses for back pain that can help relieve or lower the risk of back problems 2. If you have a clinically diagnosed back problem or have suffered a spinal injury, make it a point to talk to your doctor and physiotherapist before attempting any of these poses. Most of these poses are suitable for individuals with any level of expertise, whether beginners or advanced yoga students, unless indicated otherwise.

1. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: This is one of the most commonly used yoga poses for back pain, as it improves spine flexibility, massages and stretches the spine 3

Modification: Slowly move between arching and rounding the back while breathing deeply. 

Targeted muscles: Spinal flexors, spinal extensors, abdominal muscles.

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana):

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches the lower back and relaxes the spine, while also opening up the hips and thighs. 

Modification: Use a cushion under the forehead and a bolster under the torso for support. 

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches the spine, hamstrings, and calves, while strengthening the shoulders and arms. 

Modification: Bend the knees slightly to reduce strain on the lower back.

Suitability: Beginners with modifications or advanced.

4. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Strengthens the back muscles and opens the chest, improving spine flexibility 3

Modification: Keep the elbows bent and the lower body on the mat for a gentle variation. 

5. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Gently opens the chest, lengthens the spine, and reduces lower back discomfort. 

Modification: Place a pillow or cushion under the forearms for support. 

6. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Strengthens the back, glutes, and hamstrings, while also stretching the chest 3

Modification: Place a block under the sacrum for a supported variation. 

7. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the back, legs, and side body, promoting spine alignment 4

Modification: Use a block for support if reaching the floor is challenging. 

8. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips while lengthening the back muscles. 

Modification: Use props like bolsters or blankets for added comfort. 

9. Supine Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves tension, and promotes relaxation. 

Modification: Hug one knee at a time, keeping the other leg extended. 

10. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Opens the hips and stretches the hip flexors and lower back. 

Modification: Use props under the hips or in front of the extended leg for support. 

11. Mountain Pose (Tadasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Helps alleviate back pain by promoting proper alignment, strengthening the core, and improving posture, which reduces strain on the back muscles and spine 3

Modification: To make it easier, stand with your back against a wall to ensure proper alignment, and focus on engaging your core muscles while maintaining a relaxed breath. 

12. Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and lower back while promoting relaxation. 

Modification: Use a strap to hold the lifted leg if reaching the foot is challenging. 

13. Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Opens the chest and relieves tension in the upper back and shoulders. 

Modification: Use a bolster or folded blanket under the upper back for support. 

14. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Strengthens the back muscles, opens the chest, and improves posture. 

Modification: Keep the thighs and hips on the mat for a gentler version. 

15. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and lower back, calms the nervous system. 

Modification: Bend the knees slightly if hamstrings are tight. 

Suitability: Modified for beginners.

16. Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Promotes blood circulation, relieves tension, and reduces lower back strain. 

Modification: Place a cushion or folded blanket under the hips for comfort. 

17. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Twists the spine, stretches the back muscles, and increases spinal mobility 3

Modification: Sit on a cushion or block if sitting upright is challenging. 

Suitability: Modified for beginners.

18. Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): 

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Benefits: Opens the hips and stretches the inner thighs while releasing tension in the back. 

Modification: Use cushions or bolsters under the knees and torso for support. 

How To Enjoy Yoga Safely When You Have A Back Problem

Follow those basic precautions to enjoy the benefits of yoga for back pain without exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.

  • Consult A Doctor: Seek medical advice before starting yoga, especially if you have chronic back issues.
  • Instructor Guidance: Practice under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor who understands your condition.
  • Gentle Approach: Opt for gentle yoga styles like Hatha, Iyengar, or restorative yoga, which emphasize proper alignment and modifications 4.
  • Modify Poses: Modify poses to suit your limitations. Use props like blocks, cushions, or straps to support your practice.
  • Avoid Overstretching: Avoid deep stretches that cause discomfort or pain. Focus on gentle stretches to improve flexibility gradually.
  • Strengthen Core: Strengthening core muscles can provide better support to the back and improve stability.
  • Warm-Up: Always start with a gentle warm-up to prepare the muscles for movement.
  • Listen To Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals and stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort.
  • Breath Awareness: Incorporate breath awareness to enhance relaxation and minimize strain.
  • Consistency: Consistency in practicing gentle and modified poses can offer long-term benefits without risking injury.

Remember that individual bodies and conditions vary, so it’s essential to practice these poses mindfully and consult a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional if you have specific concerns or injuries. For example, if you need to take up yoga for back pain in pregnancy, prenatal yoga classes are your best bet. Similarly, if you’re recovering from an accident, a rehabilitative yoga program would help. 

The versatility of yoga is what makes it so effective for everyone – chair yoga and restorative yoga for back pain for seniors can even feature simplified yoga poses that may be practiced in a chair or by someone with disabilities. What’s most important is that you work with a qualified expert because without proper guidance you can do your back more harm instead of benefitting from yoga. 


Are there poses to avoid if I have back pain?

Avoid deep backbends or poses that cause discomfort. Twists should be done with caution.

How often should I practice yoga for back pain?

Consistent practice, even a few times a week, can yield benefits. Listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

Is yoga safe for herniated discs?

Some poses can be helpful, but seek guidance from a knowledgeable instructor and your doctor.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for general information and not meant to substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor for appropriate medical consultation.


  1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/yoga-eases-moderate-severe-chronic-low-back-pain
  2. https://media.defense.gov/2019/Oct/22/2002198456/-1/-1/0/ULTIMATE%20GUIDE%20TO%20YOGA%20FOR%20HEALING.PDF
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpain.2022.1060685/full
  4. https://thejns.org/spine/view/journals/j-neurosurg-spine/36/3/article-p517.xml

Livayur Ayurvedic Team

The LivAyur Team includes more than 10 Ayurveda specialists, with more than 20 years of experience. They have a deep understanding of Ayurveda and are committed to sharing their expertise through our blogs, videos, live sessions, and consultations. Our experts also stay updated & monitor on the latest developments in health and wellness.


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