Yoga Poses to Prevent Low Back Pain

Yoga Poses to Prevent Low Back Pain
To avoid low back pain, the demands of running require a strong core, good spinal mobility, and open hips and sacral joints. Adding these yoga postures into your running cool-down or including them in your active recovery workouts will build the strength and flexibility that is needed to maintain and efficient running form and avoid low back pain.


Purpose: To engage deep spinal stabilizers, including the transverse abdominus and obliques. How: Perform plank either on your forearms or palms. When lifting your body, practice scooping the navel in to the spine and concentrate on keeping your hips low so that your abdominal muscles are engaged. Work on holding for up to one minute. Prevent low back pain with yoga


Purpose: To support the natural curve of the low back, engage the abdominal muscles, and alleviate rounding (kyphosis) of the upper back How: Lying on your stomach, bring your elbows underneath your shoulders. While engaging your abdominal muscles to lengthen the low back, gently press into your forearms and focus on bringing your chest forward and shoulders back. Stay for three to five breaths. Prevent low back pain with yoga

Camel (with blocks and wall)

Purpose: To open the psoas and sacrum while extending the entire spine and lengthening the pectoral muscles. How: Standing on your knees while facing a wall, place knees at hip distance and place a block on the outside of each shin. Beginning with the heels of your hands on the top of your hips, fingertips pointing down to support the low back, press your hips forward and tailbone down as you lift through the chest and middle back. You can remain in this position, pressing hips forward toward the wall in front of you or bring each hand down to a block while continuing to press the hips forward and lift the chest up. Stay for five to seven breaths. Prevent low back pain with yoga


Purpose: To increase spinal mobility and lengthen the low back by fully rounding the spine and engaging the abdominals. How: Begin by kneeling with your hips on your heels. Reach your hands over the top of your feet and grip your feet firmly. Next, tuck your chin into your throat and round forward placing the crown of your head lightly on the floor and your forehead onto your knees. With the majority of your weight remaining in your feet and shins, begin to lift your hips as though you are somersaulting forward. You can choose to then walk each knee forward, reestablishing contact of the forehead and knees, while keeping the majority of your bodyweight in the feet and shins. Stay for five to seven breaths. Prevent low back pain with yoga

Seated Forward Fold

Purpose: To reestablish the natural curves of the spine while lengthening hamstrings. How: Seated with legs together and straight, slightly move sit bones towards the back of the room by tilting the top of your hips forward. With a strong belly and lifted chest, reach hands towards calves or big toes (you can use a strap around the feet if you find this to be a struggle). Keep your eyes forward towards your big toes and work to lengthen the low back and straighten the legs. Prevent low back pain with yoga

Seated Spinal Twist

Purpose: To open the hips and increase mobility of the upper spine while supporting stability of the sacrum. How: Placing your left leg on the floor, bring the left heel to the outside of the right hip, while the left knee remains on the floor. Cross the right leg over your left, bringing the right ankle in contact with the left knee. Bring your right arm behind your body pressing your hand into the floor to lengthen the spine while you twist your ribcage towards your right thigh. Raise your left hand up and bring it over the right knee, placing elbow against the knee. Focus on keeping both sit bones on the floor and lengthening the low back while twisting from your middle back. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the other side. As an option, you may keep the bottom leg straight and clasp the knee of the top leg with the opposite hand. Prevent low back pain with yoga
This entire yoga routine can be completed in 20 minutes as a cool down to your run several times each week. As you become more familiar with the postures, you can choose to include only those that benefit the needs of your body, such as tight hips, hamstrings, or a rounded spine. They can also be combined with any of the yoga postures described in the first two portions of this article: Recover From Low Back Pain and Stop Low Back Pain For Runners.
  About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.