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Yoga Postures that Relieve Lower Back Tension

All these Yoga postures help you release your lower-back tension, aided by support from either a prop or the floor. The magic is in the execution of these ancient postures to suit your body, as you simply breathe and allow yourself to surrender to the moment and release your stress.

Knees-to-chest posture

The knees-to-chest posture relieves tension in the lumbar spine and calms your nervous system.

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  1. Lie on your back, and bend your knees in toward your chest.

  2. Hold your shins just below your knees.

  3. As you exhale, bring your knees toward your chest a comfortable distance.

  4. Close your eyes, relax, and simply breathe through your nose; stay in the posture 1 to 3 minutes.

    If you have any knee problems, hold the backs of your thighs instead. If your head tilts back, place a folded blanket or small pillow under your head.

  5. To come out of this posture (and any of the lying, or supine, postures), roll to one side like a log and push up from there; don’t start the upward motion by lifting your neck forward.

Bent-leg feet-on-a-chair pose

In addition to addressing back pain, the bent-leg feet-on-a-chair pose relaxes the entire nervous system and improves circulation throughout your whole body.

  1. Sit on the floor in a simple cross-legged position, facing a sturdy chair, and lean back on your forearms.

  2. Slide your buttocks along the floor toward the chair until they’re a comfortable distance from the front edge of the chair seat.

  3. While exhaling, lift your feet off the floor and place your heels and calves on the chair seat.

  4. Lie back on the floor, with your arms near your sides and your palms up.

  5. Close your eyes, relax, and simply breathe through your nose; stay in the pose for 3 to 10 minutes.

    If your head tilts back, place a folded blanket or small pillow under your head.

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Supported corpse variation

People bend forward too much. This supported corpse variation reverses that process and allows you to slowly and safely restore the natural curves in both the lower and upper back and the neck.

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  1. Sit on the floor and place a bolster or two under your knees so that they’re comfortably bent; your heels can lightly touch the floor or be suspended a few inches — it’s all about how it feels in your lower back.

  2. Position another bolster vertically on the floor behind your hips, and place a rolled blanket on the bolster.

  3. Lie back on top of the vertical bolster, and let your hips come down to the floor. Position the rolled blanket under your head, and move your arms out to a comfortable distance, with your palms up.

  4. Close your eyes, relax, and simply breathe through your nose. Allow your chest to open and your neck to release; stay in the posture for 3 to 5 minutes.

    If the vertical bolster creates an uncomfortable arch, replace it with two folded blankets.

Don’t practice this pose if you experience pain in your lower or upper back, or if you’ve been diagnosed with disc disease.

Supported cobra

If you feel pain when you round your back, the supported cobra can help you heal and take the pain away. It also helps restore the natural curve in your lower back, known as the lumbar curve.

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  1. Place a bolster on the floor, and lie face down (prone) so that the bolster is positioned underneath you from the bottom of your chest to the top of your head.

  2. Stretch your legs back, spread comfortably apart, with the tops of your feet on the floor.

  3. Fold your arms comfortably underneath you, with your palms down, under the side of your head.

  4. Relax, with your eyes closed; breathe through your nose and stay in the posture for 2 to 5 minutes.

Don’t practice this pose if you experience pain in your lower or upper back, or if you’ve been diagnosed with disc disease.

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