Try These Yoga Poses to Improve Your Lower Back Flexibility

Stiff back? Try loosening up with these gentle stretches

Contributor: Certified yoga instructor Patti Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, RYT-200

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Having a mobile lower back is key to being able to perform many activities of daily living, including emptying the dishwasher, sitting, standing and picking up things from the floor — to name a few. When we stay in prolonged positions throughout our day, we can cause the muscles in our lower back to tighten up.

Want to keep this part of your body more flexible? Try these poses, holding each pose for two to three breaths. On the one-sided poses, be sure to repeat on the other side!

Note: Poses should be entered into and moved out of slowly to protect muscles and joints. If you are having specific pain that has been ongoing for longer than two weeks or you have a specific injury, it is always best to consult a qualified health care provider, such as a physical therapist, who can develop a plan specific to your needs.

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Child’s Pose

  • Start in a kneeling position.
  • Move your knees to the edge of your mat and bring your big toes to touch. Option:  Keep your knees together if it’s more comfortable.
  • Bring your forehead to the mat and reach arms in front of you. Option:  Move your arms behind you if it’s more comfortable.
  • Pull the tops of your shoulders down away from your ears.


Cobra/Upward Facing Dog

  • Start by lying on your stomach.
  • Bend your elbows and bring your hands alongside your ribs.
  • Keep your buttocks and backs of legs relaxed while you press your hands into the mat, lifting your chest.
  • For a more challenging pose, move into Upward Facing Dog by pressing the tops of your toes into the mat and lifting your thighs.


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Supine Twist

  • Gently draw one knee into your chest with the opposite hand. Keep the opposite leg outstretched.
  • Lower the bent leg across your body to the opposite side, and extend the same-side arm in the other direction.
  • Turn your head in the direction of your outstretched arm.
  • If you have pain in the front of your right hip, move your knee slightly away from your chest.


Double Knees to Chest

  • Lie on your back, legs outstretched.
  • Bring your knees toward your underarms.
  • If you have difficulty reaching the back of your legs, use a yoga strap or towel around the back of your legs.


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