Yoga Poses to Strengthen Back Muslces
It is very common to have back pain as a result of weakened back muscles. Most pain can be alleviated by strengthening, stretching, and aligning the muscles of the back. While all yoga poses can result in increased muscle tone in your back, focusing on some of the poses listed below can help achieve faster results when it comes to a strong back.
Cat Pose, especially done in conjuction with Upward-Facing Dog Pose, can help strengthen your back muscles. In Cat Pose, while kneeling on hands and knees, you take your back from a perfectly flat position to an arched (think of a black Halloween cat) position. This is a good beginner strength exercise.
For an even greater muscular effect, alternate Cat Pose with Upward-Facing Dog Pose. In Upward-Facing Dog, you lower your back into a bend-essentially the opposite shape arc as you made in cat pose, as the arms remain straight. Slowly, with controlled breathing, bring your back into Cat, then Upward Dog, then back to Cat. Go from one to the other slowly and with control, and concentrate on your breathing for maximal results.
Cobra Pose is an excellent back strengthener. Lying on your stomach with your legs flat on the floor and your arms bent with your hands palm down on the floor under your shoulders, slowly push your upper body off the floor with your arms. Beginners should take this pose slowly, not pushing too far into the pose and not holding it for too long. Keep your elbows curved and close to your sides, and make the bend in your lower back small. Whether you are a beginner or not, follow Cobra Pose with child’s pose to relax the muscles and undo the tension of the pose.
Sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you, place a folded blanket underneath your knees so they are slightly bent. The amount that your knees need to be bent is different for each person; experiment with the folded blanket until you find the height that provides for a comfortable stretch.
After placing the blanket under your knees, place another blanket over your lap or over your knees (or use a pillow for this if you cannot bend very far forward). Once you have your props in place, slowly bend forward without curving your back. If curving your back is inevitable, try placing a chair over your legs (with the legs resting on either side of your own legs) with the seat of the chair over your knees. Reach out to the chair and bend forwards, resting your hands on the seat of the chair. This gentle stretch can calm the muscles in your back.
This pose is a restorative pose. You can do this throughout practice anytime you need a bit of a rest. When doing yoga poses to strengthen back muscles, this pose is a good one to start with, end with, and to do in between poses if you are doing several poses one after another. Start in a kneeling position with the knees spread farther apart than the hips, the bend forward to place your arms on the ground in front of you. This pose gently stretches back muscles. You can also rest your forehead on the floor with your arms alongside the body.