If you have lower back pain, avoid these 8 yoga poses

Lower back pain can be a real nuisance, right?

Sometimes it feels like it’s holding you back from living your best life.

And you might think that yoga could be the answer.

But here’s the catch – not all yoga poses are your friends when you’ve got a creaky back.

Some can actually make things worse.

So, before you roll out your mat, I’m going to share with you 8 yoga poses that you should skip if your lower back is giving you grief.

1) Forward bending poses

It’s a common sight in yoga classes everywhere – people bent over, reaching for their toes.

Forward bending poses are a staple in many yoga routines.

But if you’re dealing with lower back pain, these poses might not be your best bet.


Well, when you bend forward, it puts a lot of strain on your lower back.

And if you’re already dealing with pain there, it can make things worse.

So, as much as you might want to reach those toes, it’s better to play it safe.

Skip the forward bends and opt for poses that are kinder to your lower back.

2) Deep twists

I remember a time when I used to love all those deep twisting poses.

The feeling of wringing out tension from my body was so satisfying.

But then I started experiencing lower back pain.

I consulted with my doctor, and she advised me to avoid those deep twists.

It turns out, these poses can put excessive pressure on the discs in your lower back.

So, despite my love for them, I had to let go of those deep twisting poses.

And guess what?

My lower back thanked me for it.

Take it from me, if you’re dealing with lower back pain, it’s best to steer clear of deep twists and focus on more gentle movements instead.

Your back will thank you too!

3) Camel pose

Camel pose, also known as Ustrasana, is an intense back-bending pose that offers a deep stretch for the front of the body.

It’s also a heart opener, which can be quite energizing.

However, it’s not always the best choice for those of us with lower back pain.

The reason behind this lies in our anatomy.

When we bend backward in such an extreme way, it compresses the lumbar spine.

And if you already have a sensitive lower back, that compression can lead to more pain and potential injury.

So while Camel pose might look impressive, it’s not worth risking your back health.

There are plenty of other heart-opening poses that don’t put your lower back at risk.

4) Bow pose

Bow pose, or Dhanurasana, is another back-bending pose that can be a bit too intense for those of us with lower back issues.

In this pose, you’re lying on your stomach and grabbing your ankles to lift your body into the shape of a bow.

It’s a great stretch for the front of your body and can strengthen your back muscles.

However, the strain it places on the lower back can make existing pain worse.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution when dealing with back pain.

So while Bow pose may be fabulous for some, if you’re nursing a tender lower back, it’s one to avoid.

5) Full wheel pose

Full wheel pose, also known as Upward Bow or Urdhva Dhanurasana, is a powerful pose that can make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

It opens up your heart, stretches your entire front body, and strengthens your spine.

But here’s where the heart part comes in.

As much as we love the feeling of freedom and strength this pose can give us, it’s not always the best choice for everyone.

For those of us with lower back pain, Full Wheel can cause more harm than good.

It requires a significant amount of flexibility and strength in the lower back, which can be problematic if you’re already dealing with pain there.

6) Plow pose

Plow pose, or Halasana, was one of the first yoga poses I truly struggled with.

It involves lying on your back, lifting your legs over your head, and touching your toes to the floor behind you.

It’s a powerful inversion that can bring a lot of benefits.

But it can also be extremely challenging for someone with a sensitive lower back like mine.

I remember the frustration of not being able to do it without pain.

I remember thinking that maybe yoga wasn’t for me after all.

But then I realized that yoga isn’t about doing every pose perfectly.

It’s about listening to your body and respecting its limits.

So I let go of Plow pose, and my yoga practice became a lot more enjoyable – and pain-free.

7) Cobra pose

Cobra pose, or Bhujangasana, is a common pose that’s often included in Sun Salutation sequences.

It’s a back bend that’s supposed to open up your chest and counteract the effects of sitting hunched over all day.

But it’s not always a good idea for those suffering from lower back pain.

In Cobra pose, the pressure put on your lower back can exacerbate existing issues.

If not done correctly, it can lead to strain and even injury.

8) Pigeon pose

Pigeon pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is a hip opener that many yogis swear by.

It stretches the thighs, groin, psoas, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and neck.

But there’s a catch – it can be incredibly hard on the lower back.

When practiced incorrectly or without proper support, Pigeon pose can put undue stress on your lumbar spine.

And if you’re already dealing with lower back pain, this can lead to more discomfort or even injury.

So when it comes to protecting your lower back, avoiding Pigeon pose is a good rule of thumb.

Always prioritize your health and well-being over achieving a specific pose.

Your body will thank you for it.

Listening to your body

The world of yoga is vast and versatile, offering a pose for every mood, every need, and every body.

But just because a pose exists, doesn’t mean it’s right for you – especially when you’re dealing with lower back pain.

Our bodies have a unique way of communicating with us.

Pain is not just a sensation – it’s a message.

It’s your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right.

In the context of yoga, this could mean that certain poses are doing more harm than good.

It could mean that it’s time to revisit your form, align your movements better, or simply avoid some poses altogether.

What’s essential is that we learn to listen to these messages without judgment or resistance.

Because in doing so, we create a space for healing, growth, and ultimately, a safer and more beneficial yoga practice.

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

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