Yoga poses for the lumbar spine.

Yoga poses for the lumbar spine are very important in today’s world. The reason is because modern life is terribly strenuous on the lower back.

Nowadays we lift wrong, bend wrong, exercise wrong, sit for long periods, and rarely reward ourselves with any spinal maintenance.

If we want to remain active in our later years though, we have to take care of ourselves today. This means practicing good spinal hygiene regularly.

Chiropractic and yoga are perfect partners for achieving this goal.

Why Yoga Poses For the Lumbar Spine Are Better Than Stretching

I’m not a fan of just plain stretching like people do at the gym. Yoga poses are much safer and more effective for releasing spinal tension.

They’re also wonderful for improving mobility.

If everyone would perform some basic yoga poses for the lumbar spine each day, we could reduce suffering in millions of people.

Below are the 5 poses I recommend that my patients practice daily for the lower back.

5 Yoga Poses For The Lumbar Spine To Improve Mobility

Regarding the safety ratings below, poses with the higher ratings are safer and less likely to exacerbate pain. Be more careful as the rating get lower, especially if you have lumbar disc problems or recurring discomfort.

*Always consult a licensed health care professional before beginning any new activity or changing any part of your health regimen.

1. Child’s Pose

Safety Level: 10

Time: 1-3 Minutes

Woman in child's pose

This is my favorite pose for the lower back. It will lengthen your lumbar spine and gently ease lower back tension.

Kneel on the floor or a yoga mat with your feet together and knees hip width apart. Take a deep breath. As you exhale slowly, lean forward and rest your forehead on the ground with your arms extended out in front of you.

As you breathe, let your body relax.

2. Cat/Cow

Safety Level: 10

Time: 1-3 Minutes

The cat/cow is wonderful for gently flexing and extending the spine.

Practicing this movement can help lubricate joints, release spinal stress, and promote better mobility.

Embed from Getty Images

Start on your hands and knees. As you inhale, lift your eyes, chest, and tailbone while lowering your belly button toward the floor in a “u” shaped arch. This is the “cow” pose (above).

Embed from Getty Images

Next, as you exhale, lower your head and arch your back upward as though you’re trying to touch the ceiling with the center of your back. This is the “cat” pose (above).

Gently transition between cat and cow, following the tempo of your breathing.

3. Sphinx

Safety Level: 8

*Hyperextending the lower back can irritate lumbar disc problems, so be very careful when getting into this pose. STOP IF YOU FEEL PAIN.

Time: 1-3 Minutes

Woman Yoga Sphinx Pose

Lie on your stomach with your legs together. Keep your hips and thighs on the floor while propping yourself up on your elbows. Lengthen your spine, stretch upward, and relax your shoulders.

Don’t hyperextend. Raise yourself only far enough to feel a good stretch.

4. Supine Pigeon, a.k.a Figure 4

Safety Level: 8

Time: 1-3 Minutes, Each Leg

Woman in supine pigeon pose

This pose will open the lower back and hips.

Lie on your back. Cross your left foot over your right thigh and then bend your right knee. Hold the back of your right leg and pull gently toward your chest. When you feel a good stretch, hold there.

Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Supine Twist

Safety Level: 5

Twisting the lower back can be harmful to unhealthy lumbar discs and facet joints.

Lumbar rotation made my list of things to avoid when your lower back hurts.

It’s extremely important that you perform this stretch slowly and STOP IF YOU FEEL PAIN. Also, DO NOT force this stretch or attempt to “pop” your spine.

Time: 1-3 Minutes

Yoga supine twist

Lie on your back and bend your knees. Slowly lower both knees to one side. Keep your shoulders and back squarely on the floor.

Don’t force your knees to the floor. Instead, breath slowly and allow gravity to pull them down as your muscles relax.

Repeat on the other side.

A Final Word Regarding Yoga Poses For The Lumbar Spine

Tight spinal muscles are often protective and therefore should not be forced to release either with manual therapies or stretching. Doing so can have the opposite effect and cause muscles to spasm more strongly later.

The purpose of these poses is to increase mobility and flexibility of spinal joints, not necessarily to stretch tight muscles.

The spine needs proper movement to stay healthy, so improving mobility with yoga can allow the protective muscle tightness to release naturally.

To put it simply: Don’t force it. Gentle and regular practice of these poses, even when pain is absent, will go a long way to maintaining spinal health and preventing pain flair-ups.

Our Chiropractor Recommends These 5 Yoga Poses For The Lumbar Spine