Yoga

Two Quick Yoga Moves to Soothe a Sore Back

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Yoga's a great way to relieve back pain. Not only does it stretch out sore muscles, it also builds the strength of the muscles surrounding your spine, so it's less likely that you'll put your back out in the future. These two poses can be done if you have a few minutes to spare and a small amount of floor space, but they'll go a long way towards making your back feel better.

1. The Cat-Cow Pose: Marjaryasana and Bitilasana

In this pose, you get down on all fours, like a cat - or a cow. Start in neutral position, with your back straight and your neck following the line of the rest of your spine, so you're looking down at the floor in between your hands. Now, inhale, lift your chin and arch your back downwards. This is the Cow part of the pose. Next, exhale, pull your stomach muscles in and arch your back upwards like a cat, while dropping your head toward your chest. Don't forcibly pull your chin to your chest. Repeat this sequence five to ten times. Go slowly.

2. Bharadvajasana I

This twist can help relieve neck and lower back pain, as well as sciatica. Sit on your mat with your legs straight out. Now move your weight onto your right buttock, and swing your left leg on the floor outside your left hip. Your feet should now be lying on the floor next to your left hip, with your left ankle resting on top of the arch of your right foot.

Grab your upper left arm with your right hand, passing your right arm behind your back to do so. Rest your left hand on your knee. Inhale and sit up straight. Turn your head so you're looking to the right - if that feels uncomfortable, leave it where it is, or turn it so you're looking over your left shoulder. Don't strain. Exhale and gently twist your torso to the right, while keeping your back straight. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to a minute, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Repeat on your right side, so you're twisting to the left, for the same amount of time.