While yoga shouldn’t be seen a replacement for talking with your doctor, research shows that is can be an effective treatment for back pain (source). But contrary to what many people think, the benefits of yoga for your back are not just about stretching out stiff muscles, it can also help to strengthen and stabilise your muscles and joints to keep your back healthy. Yoga can also help with psychological aspects of pain: allowing the body and mind to relax, releasing old holding patterns in the muscles, and creating new neural pathways to help with healing.
So we’ve included a mix of yoga for back pain classes here featuring a variety of teachers, yoga styles and class lengths, hopefully you’ll find something that will make your back feel like bliss.
Esther’s class offers some tips for back pain sufferers to keep in mind when practicing yoga and during daily life. You’ll learn about ‘bracing and spacing,’ along with some gentle and safe movements to strengthen the core to make bracing easier. Plus some ‘nerve flossing’ – also called nerve gliding or neural gliding – a gentle exercise that stretches irritated nerves. This can improve their range of motion and reduce pain.
Esther Ekhart / 30 mins / Hatha, Therapeutic
Do you have a sore upper back and painful muscle knots in between the shoulder blades? Then this Yin yoga class is for you. You’ll begin by tuning in and watching the natural breath, and becoming aware of habits and tendencies. We follow this with movements and Yin poses that specifically target the upper back and shoulders. This is a great session if you sit behind a computer a lot or have tension in your upper body and want to wind down after a long day.
José de Groot / 35 mins / Yin Yoga, Therapeutics
The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone between the left and right pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are where the sacrum meets the bones of the pelvis. If the sacrum becomes de-stabilised, pain can radiate in the SI joints and towards the lower back and groin. This series of gentle exercises is designed to help you find more balance and create stability in the pelvis and sacrum. It will also help relieve pain and strengthen your body.
Sandra Carson / 44 minutes / Therapeutics
If you only do one Somatic exercise, do this one; it’s a must for lower back pain. It may also help if you have sacroiliac joint pain or instability.
Lisa Petersen / 10 mins / Somatics
This fascinating session from Helen brings in the psychological and emotional benefits of yoga. You will learn how deep breathing awareness into our lower abdominal region can release old holding patterns and lactic acid from subconscious contraction deep in our membranes, muscles or tissues. This creates new neural pathways for activating our own body’s healing system. You can do this class with a partner or alone.
Helen Noakes / 30 minutes / Somatics
Our backs are meant to be strong and supple, offering us support and protection throughout our lives. When our backs are weak we crumple under the weight of responsibilities and obstacles. And yet, to strengthen our backs we need nothing fancy: this class uses simple elements in a creative way, accessible to everybody.
Anat Geiger / 41 mins / Slow flow
A gentle, slow practice to help relieve a sore or stiff back. You’ll take time to rest, relax the muscles so they can lengthen, and remind you that you are safe and sound, and that support is always there for you. This practice can be used for general ‘maintenance’ too.
Lyn Core / 35 mins / Hatha, Therapeutic
As we said earlier, back pain doesn’t always come from ‘stiff’ muscles. In some cases it’s the opposite. If you are over-flexible in your lower back you might experience lower back pain due to lordosis or overarching in the lower back. In this class, you’ll learn through feeling and movement what your spine needs in order to be healthy and supported. Sandra will lead you through some basic but effective abdominal core movements, along with exercises to strengthen your gluteal muscles, so your pelvis is stabilized and your spine happy!
Sandra Carson / 37 mins / Therapeutics
The sciatic nerve and piriformis muscle are two of the biggest culprits in sciatic nerve issues and pain. In this class Jennilee gives a short anatomy tutorial followed by a tennis-ball massage and short yoga practice to support ease and freedom in this area of the body.
Read Jennilee’s article on yoga and sciatica for more info about the muscles involved and how yoga can help.
Jennilee Toner / 50 mins / Hatha, Talks
In this restorative practice the focus is on creating mild spinal movements to help release tension along the spine, and to create a state of deep relaxation and calm. It’s a lovely class to practice in the evening or before bed whether you have back pain or just want to unwind.. Grab a bolster or cushions and some blankets ready for this class.
Johanna Lundqvist / 36 mins / Restorative yoga
Bonus! Pilates for Back Pain program with Ruth Larkin
No, it’s not yoga…but it works! Ruth’s program of 6 Pilates classes has been tried and tested by those of us behind the scenes at EkhartYoga. It’s available to all EkhartYoga members.
Download these to watch offline with our app!
For more classes like this, head to the classes page and select ‘back health’ in the specific use filter – or type ‘back pain’ into the search box.
This list of classes is great for EkhartYoga members who use our offline viewing app. So if you’re going away or don’t have great internet access in your home, you’ll have these videos easily to hand. Add these 10 videos to your Favourites before logging on to your app so you can easily download the classes to your mobile phone or tablet.
Article updated 12th August 2021 with new classes