Among the various pain areas in the body, many people experience trouble with their back. With our lifestyle that includes sitting for long spells and reduced movement, pain & stiffness are almost inevitable.
With age and stress, the troubles of the back are only likely to increase, which is why preventive and early care is critical in containing and remedying this condition. Yoga is among the safest, most proven ways to help maintain and restore spinal health.
When you improve flexibility and mobility in your back, you will instantly notice a better posture, circulation, and easing of pain. Movement is easier and wider, the muscles feel less tense and more pliant, and the risk of injuries is significantly lower.
A range of treatment options are available and suggested today. However, yoga remains the simplest and most effective course in increasing spine mobility and strength. We bring you the best in yoga for spine mobility.
Top 10 Yoga Poses for Spine Mobility
Most yoga poses work on multiple parts of the body. However, certain asanas focus on working the back and building on its mobility. Here are some that you can try:
Much like its name, this is an intense asana that takes some time and practice to master.
- Stand straight, bring one foot forward, and move the other behind
- Ensure the rest of your body, especially the hips, face directly forward
- Now, with your hands on your hips, bend forward with your chin tucked closely into your chest
- The body must bend only at the torso until your hands drop onto the floor and your face touches your knees
- Hold this pose for at least twenty seconds before you return to the original position
- Alternate legs and repeat the exercise on the opposite side
Benefits: This exercise is a great stretch for your spine and hips. It helps restore balance and posture.
This is commonly known as the cat/cow pose and is a simple, relaxing asana that beginners can easily perform.
- Get onto your mat on all fours, with your wrists and knees aligned vertically
- Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, drop your head and arch your back up towards the ceiling
- Now, as you inhale, get your head back up and arch your back in the opposite direction till it arches downwards completely
- Continue this movement slowly for 2 to 3 minutes
Benefits: This is a relaxing exercise that gives your back a great stretch and loosens it out to offer greater mobility instantly. When performed correctly, this yoga asana can also correct your posture.
#3 Janu Sirsasana
The head-to-knee exercise is another pose suitable for all levels of practice.
- Sit on your mat with one leg folded
- The heel should touch your groin
- Extend the other leg out to the side
- With your arms raised over your head, exhale and lower yourself, bending at the hip
- Bend until you can grab your foot with your hands
- Hold the position for 10 counts, inhale, and slowly come back to the starting position
- Switch to the opposite side and repeat
Benefits: This exercise relieves stiffness and stress, promotes blood circulation in the abdominal region, and increases spinal mobility.
#4 Adho Mukha Svanasana
A great exercise that will help ease your stiff back.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart, and slowly bend at the waist till your palms are on the floor, reaching straight out as far as you can
- Keeping your legs straight and your arms, chest, and back still, hold the position of a mountain peak or a downward dog for a few counts
- Ensure your head is comfortable between your arms
- You should be able to look right through your legs
Benefits: Through the stretch caused to your hamstring and calves, you will find the back also loosen up and feel more mobile.
The bow pose is one of moderate difficulty that can be easily managed with a little practice.
- Lie on your mat, face down
- Keeping your arms close to your body, bend the knees, and try to grab your ankles with your hands
- While doing so, try to lift the chest and shoulders off the ground to the point where it feels stretched but comfortable
- Keep the head straight, and face forward as you take long, relaxed breaths
- Hold the position for 10 counts and gently release it
Benefits: Apart from strengthening several parts of the legs, this pose also helps in building mobility and flexibility of the back and spine.
This low lunge is a simple yet effective pose that is ideal for beginners.
- Stand straight and bend forward till one knee is bent, and the other leg is stretched straight behind you
- Fold your hands and lift them high over your head
- Now straighten your back, neck, and arms, feeling the stretch as you gently push at the hip
- Hold for 10 counts, release, and repeat with the alternate leg
Benefits: Among the yoga for spine mobility asanas, this is most effective in lengthening and freeing the spine, opening it up for greater mobility.
#7 Upavistha Konasana
A fairly simple asana that can be mastered with some practice, the seated forward bend is hugely relaxing.
- Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs stretched straight out in front of you
- Now open your legs out, stretching them as far as they allow
- Stretch your arms out above your head, and bending at the hips, lower your torso till your hands are stretched on the floor in front of you
- Now let your hands crawl till they touch your feet
- Hold this position for ten counts
Benefits: This is a great asana to stretch the lower back and extend the spine.
#8 Salamba Bhujangasana
The sphinx pose is an easy asana that can be performed by beginners and experts equally.
- Lie on your mat stomach-down, keeping your body straight
- As you slowly lift your chest and arms off the floor, prop your upper body using your elbows positioned under the shoulders
- Sink your legs and hips into the floor, ensuring that you are comfortable and not over-stretched
- Hold the position for ten counts and lower slowly
Benefits: This pose supports the natural curvature of the spine well, releasing any tension that has built up in the region.
#9 Setu Bandhasana
The bridge pose increases the flow of the blood in the brain and soothes it by improving the blood circulation.
- Lie down flat, parallel to the ground
- Try bending your legs at the knees
- Touch your heels with your hands and lift the buttocks and upper portion of your body
- To maintain the position, interlace your fingers and lift the buttocks higher
- Do not exert pressure on your chin, neck, or shoulders
Benefits: This pose strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings.
Shoulder stand pose can be categorized under intermediate level yoga poses.
- Place a soft towel or a cushion under your neck and shoulders for support
- Align your shoulders with the cushion’s edge and rest your head on the yoga mat
- Keep your body entirely straight and stick your arms at the side of your body with palms facing towards the floor
- While inhaling, slowly lift your legs
- Exhale and position your legs parallel to the wall, supporting your back with both the palms of your hands
- Your toes should point towards the ceiling
- Balance your feet in the air and support your hips with your palms and fingers
- Tuck your chin into your chest while keeping your neck in a single position
- Slowly exhale to release the pose
Benefits: This yoga asana can benefit people suffering from back pain as it helps in strengthening the spine.
Yoga for spine mobility is almost universal in its applicability and benefit. However, as with all yoga exercises, it is important to ease yourself in. Do not push the body beyond its threshold and increase the frequency and intensity of your workout with time. Stop the moment your body is giving up, experiencing discomfort or pain. If you have any problems with respiration, cardiac function, injury to the back, or blood pressure, consult a certified yoga practitioner or your family doctor before you begin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A. Reduction in spinal mobility can be due to age, injury, stress or tension, lack of movement, lifestyle choices, or poor posture.
A. Simple asanas for spine mobility can help stretch the spine, loosen it, reduce tension, lengthen the spine, prevent or ease stiffness, and help regain posture and balance.
A. Most yoga exercises are safe for everyone. However, caution is critical. If you have any existing health ailments, consult an instructor or doctor before you begin. If you feel any signs of discomfort or pain at any point, stop your exercise immediately.