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Yogasanas For The Aching Back

Spine in our body is like the trunk of a tree. The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are further divided into five sections, namely the cervical region (the neck area) which contains 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7), the thoracic region (the chest area) which contains 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12), the lumber region (the abdominal area) consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5), the sacrum region (the pelvic area) consists of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5), and the coccyx region (the tail bone area) consists of 4 vertebrae. These are separated by discs, which allow the spine to bend. This structure of vertebrae and discs is supported along its length by muscles and ligaments. The spine threads through the centre of each vertebra, carrying nerves from the brain to the rest of the body.


Ardha Bhujangasana


Poor posture, lack of exercise, tension, stress, migraine, neck or back problems, overweight, standing or bending down forward for long periods, sitting in a chair that doesn't provide enough back support, handling loads that are simply too heavy, a trip or a fall or due to degeneration.


To take good care of the back, use a chair with a correct backrest and sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest, sleep on a firm mattress, adopt correct postures whether you are sitting, standing or walking, take regular exercise, use relaxation techniques & try to reduce your stress levels through Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. There are lots of yoga asanas for the back problem, of which I have selected five which can easily be performed by every individual.


Lie face down on the abdomen on the mat with legs apart about 2 to 2 ½ feet, toes out to the sides, heels are in, facing towards each other.

Cross your arms, place your right hand on the left shoulder, left hand on the right shoulder, head and face tilted one side.

Take your mind towards the breath. Breathe in as slow as possible; breathe out as slow as possible.

With each inhalation, expand the abdomen & touch it to the ground & with each exhalation relax the abdomen. Do for 3-5 breaths.

It is useful in relieving the waist pain, neck pain, spondylosis, and the pain due to displacement of the spinal disc.


  • Lie face down on the abdomen on the mat with legs straight, feet together, toes facing outside and forehead on the floor.
  • Place your hands directly under the chest; your thumbs should touch the nipples. Relax the whole body.
  • Inhale, slowly lift your head up, chest up, and then hold there for sometime with normal breathing. After that, if you feel like, roll back your spine further back, otherwise slowly come back while exhaling to the starting position.
  • See that the arms remain half bent at the elbows. Do 5-10 times depending upon the body condition. In between whenever you want, you can take rest in Makarasana & start again the same asana.

One gets pressure on the end of spinal column by this exercise thus giving relief from the back pain.

  • Lie face down on the abdomen on the mat with legs straight, feet together, toes facing outside and forehead on the floor.
  • Put both the arms behind your back. Hold the left wrist with the right hand, make fist of the left hand with thumb inside.
  • Take a deep breath. In the front body portion, raise the head, shoulder and chest and from the waist below, raise thighs without bending the legs from the knees. The shape of the body will resemble a boat.
  • Hold it according to your back condition. When done, exhale and slowly come back.
  • Do 5-10 times depending upon the body capacity. In between whenever you want, you can take rest in Makarasana & start again the same asana.

Weight of the body will be borne by the waist, so the blood will also move towards the waist; thus relieving pain in waist area appreciably.

  • Sit in Vajrasana & from Vajrasana stand up on your knees. Keep the knees and feet slightly apart, toes pointing back & resting on the floor.
  • Place your hands on your back. Inhale, arch back & place your palms one by one on to the soles of your feet or just grasp the left ankle with the left hand and right ankle with the right hand.
  • Depending on your back condition, bend the head and neck backwards as much as you can without discomfort.
  • Push the waist area slightly forward if you can & breathe normally.
  • When done, exhale and slowly return to the starting position.
  • In the initial stages, take support of somebody to hold you. This asana will be a little difficult initially but once you get used to it , you will feel very good.
  • Do 3-5 times depending upon the body capacity. After that do Makarasana.

Ushtrasana has proved a panacea and a boon for all the pains in the waist, hump and for cervical spondylosis.

  • Lie face down on the abdomen on the mat with legs straight, feet together and toes facing outside.
  • Bend the knees from behind, extend the arms backwards & hold the ankles.
  • Place the forehead on the floor.
  • Inhale; raise your body from both sides as high as possible by keeping the knees & feet apart as much as the distance between the shoulders.
  • Bend the head backward as much as you can with ease.
  • Hold it as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Exhale & come back in the starting position & relax in Makarasana. Do 3-5 times.

It is a wonderful posture for those suffering from rheumatism, pains of knee &elbow joints, frozen shoulder and backache. In this asana, we get benefits of Bhujangasana & Shalbhasana Postures.

If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asans by yourselves, do not push yourself. It will be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each Asana and will make sure that you are doing the exercise correctly.

Courtesy: Dr Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti


  1. After years of chronic illness, pain and fatigue, yoga has really been my personal path to healing. In addition to the chronic fatigue and constant pain, I had sciatica, SI problems, herniated discs – you name it. I had no idea what my first yoga class would lead to! It took full on dedication to the process and 10 years to grow a decent immune system. At 48, I feel healthier and more energized than I did at 38, 28 or 18 years old.

    I have studied yoga for over 20 years, teaching and becoming a yoga therapist along the way. I have been working on a project for the last 8 years with The National Institute of Health who funded a study looking at yoga therapy for the treatment of lower back pain. We collaborated with the Group Health Center for Health Studies, and the results were so exciting that the Annals of Internal Medicine picked it up. It is great news to have yoga recognized in the medical world as an effective way to heal back pain!(www.piyogatherapy.com)

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