5 yoga poses for a healthy back

Build strength and flexibility by practicing these exercises.

Theresa Pulickal, a physical therapist at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers, shares yoga poses to help support back health. For added comfort, try these exercises on a yoga mat and use a yoga block, pillow or a rolled towel for extra support.

Try these five poses once per day for a happier, healthier back.

Always consult with your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

1

Cat-Cow


The cat-cow pose is a gentle backbend to stretch and mobilize your spine.

Try it: Get onto all fours. Make sure your wrists are underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips. Inhale as you stretch forward and let your stomach drop down toward the mat. Exhale as you tuck your chin into your chest, drawing your navel inward and arching your spine. Continue this fluid movement for at least one minute.

2

Low Cobra Pose


The low cobra pose helps to improve circulation and spine flexibility.

Try it: Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Engage the muscles of your lower back, buttocks and thighs. Bring your elbows underneath your shoulders, with your forearms on the floor and your palms facing down. Lift up your upper torso and head. Keep your gaze straight ahead. Repeat this pose 10 times in a fluid movement.

3

Bridge Pose


The bridge pose stretches the chest, neck, spine and hips. It also helps to strengthen the back, buttocks and hamstrings.

Try it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels at your sitz bones (the bottom of your pelvis). Press your feet and arms into the floor as you lift up. If you need a little help, you can use a yoga block or a rolled towel under your lower back. Hold this pose for up to one minute. Release by slowly rolling your spine back down to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Drop your knees in together, relax and breathe deeply in this position.

4

Spinal Twist


The spinal twist gently rotates the spine, stretches your back and improves range of motion.

Try it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet pressed against the floor. Stretch your arms out into a “T” shape. Slowly lower your legs to the side. To make this position more comfortable, place a pillow or yoga block between your knees or under your legs. Keep your neck straight or turn it to either side. Focus on breathing deeply in this position. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

5

Child’s Pose


End your yoga session by relaxing into this pose. Child’s pose lengthens and stretches the spine, while also stretching your hips, thighs and ankles.

Try it: Sit back on your legs with your big toes touching and your knees spread out wide. You can use a bolster (a type of pillow) or blanket under your thighs, torso or forehead for support. Bend forward and walk your hands in front of you. Rest your forehead. Remain in this pose for up to five minutes.

For more healthy lifestyle tips and ways to promote your well-being, check out our free Best Health® wellness program.


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