Ease back pain with these gentle yoga twists for quick, easy relief.
Twisting yoga poses feel ahh-mazing, and not just that – they have a whole host of benefits including improved spinal mobility, flexibility of the muscles surrounding the spine, and even digestion.
Back pain is caused by a variety of reasons, but these days it’s commonly caused by too much sitting mixed with not enough exercise and by poor posture from looking down at your phone all of the time. With too much sitting comes weakness of the core muscles and tightness in the hip flexors, lower back, chest, and shoulders. Looking at your phone incorrectly can also cause chest and shoulder tightness and a forward head which leads to neck pain. All of these muscle imbalances can quickly begin to cause pain and if not alleviated, can lead to more serious pain and even, eventually, injury.
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When done properly, twisting yoga poses can activate the muscles around your lumbar spine and in the core muscles. This helps to improve blood flow to the region, drawing in fresh, oxygenated blood that can help pain and injury to heal. Also, activating these particular muscles can help to lengthen and relieve tension in those that are tight, and strengthen those that are weak.
Use these yoga twists to release pain-causing muscle tightness and improve the flexibility and mobility of your spine. Perform each twist by inhaling and lengthening your spine, and then exhaling to go into your twist. We recommend practicing them daily to see maximum results, all you need is a yoga mat.
7 Easy Yoga Twists To Release Back Pain
Seated Twists | 8 breaths per side
Twist away tightness in your lower back, upper back, and outer hips with this pose.
- Start in a seat with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Cross your right leg over your left and place your right foot on the floor outside of your left thigh. Sit up tall with your right hand on the floor next to your right hip. Reach your left arm up overhead and take a deep breath in.
- Then, exhale to twist your torso to the right, hooking your left tricep on the outside of your right thigh. Hold for 8 breaths. With each inhale, lengthen your spine, and with each exhale, twist a little deeper. After 8 breaths, switch sides.
Child’s Pose with Prayer Twist | 8 breaths per side
This pose combines a calming hip and lower back-releasing child’s pose with a spine soothing twist.
- Kneel down on your hands and knees. Separate your knees out wide to the edges of your mat and bring your big toes to touch. Then, sit your hips back on your heels and walk your hands to the top of your mat, resting your forehead down and coming into a child’s pose.
- Next, twist your torso to thread your left arm under your right, bringing your left shoulder and temple onto the mat.
- Then, bend your elbows and bring your palms together to a prayer position. Hold for 8 breaths, then twist in the opposite direction.
Thread the Needle | 8 breaths per side
This twist helps to relieve pain and tension in the upper back.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Pick up your left hand and thread your left arm between your right hand and your right thigh, bringing your left shoulder and temple to the floor.
- Press into your right palm to twist your chest open towards the sky and to feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold for 8 breaths, then switch sides.
Chair Twist | 5 breaths per side
This active twisting pose will strengthen your core to help prevent and alleviate upper and lower back pain.
- Begin standing with your feet together.
- Sit your hips back and down to come into a half squat position. Engage your abs and glutes, and make sure to keep your weight back in your heels.
- Take an exhale to sweep your right arm back, twisting your torso to the right. Continue hugging your left hip back so that the hips stay square to the top of your mat and so that you are using your core strength to twist. Hold for 5 breaths, then switch sides.
Low Lunge Twist | 5 breaths per side
This twist helps to release tight hip flexors that cause lower back pain. It also helps to release tightness in the upper back.
- Start in a low lunge position with your right foot between your hands and your left knee back on the floor. Press your hips forward to feel a stretch in your hip flexors and make sure that your right knee is stacked over the ankle.
- Keep your left palm on the floor and inhale your right arm towards the sky to come into a twist.
- Stay for 5 breaths, lengthening your spine on your inhales and twisting deeper on your exhales, then switch sides.
Crescent Twist | 5 breaths per side
Release tight hip flexors and improve your core strength to prevent and alleviate back pain with this active twist.
- Begin in a low lunge with your right foot between your hands and your left leg back behind you. Tuck your back toes under and lift the knee off the ground.
- Engage your abs and lift your torso up as you reach your arms up overhead, coming into a high lunge position. Draw your lower belly up and in and tilt your tailbone down slightly. Keep your gaze on the floor about 5 feet in front of you.
- Take an inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale to sweep your right arm back, bringing your upper body into a twist. Keep your gaze forward until you feel stable in your balance, then you can look back towards your right hand. Hold for 5 breaths, then inhale your arms overhead to come out of your twist. Place your hands down to frame your right foot, then switch sides.
Supine Twist | 8 breaths per side
Twist all of your worries and pain away with this relaxing pose.
- Lie down facing up. Hug your knees into your chest.
- Then, reach your arms out to the sides and bend your elbows to 90-degree angles. Keep your feet off the ground and bring your shins parallel to the floor.
- Take an inhale, then on your exhale, lower your knees slowly to the left to come into your twist. Look straight up or over your right shoulder. To deepen the stretch, place your left palm on your outer right thigh. Close your eyes and relax here for 8 breaths, then switch directions.
(Your Next Workout: 10 Healing Yoga Twists for Stress, Insomnia and Other Common Pains)