pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


Thanks for this information! I appreciate the importance of preparing for forward bends, of having poses for same, and poses to substitute for students who may not be ready for the full pose.


Thank you for this article. It gives me hope that I can continue yoga after my back heals up. I have been a beginner at yoga for the past year and I love it, but recently suffered a back injury. I"ve known that I have a bulging disc for awhile now but nobody ever told me to not do any forward bending. I wish I had known that before. Thanks for sharing this!


I have just been diagnosed with severe lumbar disc degeneration complete with osteophytes ! I've been told by my physiotherapist- no more forward bending for me and most yoga practices include lots of that. I know that yoga didn't cause my problems but they are certainly aggravated by it ! I'm going to miss it so much !
Thank you for this article - it helped me make my decision to discontinue classes after 10 years . Perhaps I can find therapeutic yoga classes - but I'm sure there will always be forward bending.


Thanks for the article. I do ashtanga yoga and have been having lower back pain recently (my hamstrings are v tight)... would you advise lessening my ashtanga practice until I've done more to stretch my hamstrings? Thanks!!


I agree with other comments as this article is very helpful, especially for new teachers.


Dear Julia,
Thankyou so much for such an important advice. I had third degree lumbar sprain followed by lumbar disc bulge and pain. Pain was controlled by physiotherapist. But when I joined yoga for beginners class for fitness but in 4 classes only my lower back pain returned, the tight hamstrings lead to nerve pain on left leg and I started limping and pain on stretch of rt arm happened. I was not 100% sure that yoga aggravated it but your article has cleared my doubts. Now I am going to stop those yoga sessions and I hv to do any lower body stretches will do what u have recommends.


Wow, this is such great advice which so many people are not aware of -- I certainly was oblivious until I had a herniated disc from too much forward bending. I am more into lifting and taekwondo, but there is so much wisdom in yoga. I have been using a number of poses which, I think, have helped (some I did not even know were yoga) like "superman" (locust pose in yoga), also cobra pose, upward dog and more recently reclining hero pose and upward bow. Also do lots of back extensions at the gym.


Thank you, I am a Yoga teacher and tore hamstrings 6 yrs ago and still not well. I just started getting information on how to heal them....much appreciated...

George M

Very helpful article! But I would like to add a warning that even the suggested stretches may be too advanced for people with a flat back condition. I have kyphosis, a flat lower back and tight hamstrings and was starting to get lower back pain which I think was exaggerated from these lying leg raises (I had already stopped doing forward bends). Although much safer than seated forward bends they can still be problematic, especially if you think it was a safer position to have a longer, deeper stretch. A flat lower back still won't have the natural inward curve in a lying position. After straining my back recently and I couldn't pinpoint when I did it, I gently tested out the lying stretch to see if it is what caused it. I found out that yes, it was a strain to the position, and therefore the likely cause. I also noticed it was pain-free with a towel underneath to support the natural curve in the lower back. I could raise the leg nearly to 90 degree without the towel, but only 45 degress with the towel. So it seems that the lying stretch was still putting too much strain on the lower back. I am not suggesting to try it with a towel, just that even these lying leg raises can be harmful to people with a back condition as bad as mine (and should see a doctor):


Thank you so much for this! Now I understand why my simple AM Yoga routine that seemed so innocent is in fact, dangerous. I have lower back pain, undiagnosed but do have known herniations between C5/C6 and C6/C7. I also have a lot of pain from C-section scar tissue that may be a factor. The video I've been doing has a sequence of sitting forward back bends done with legs crossed. I can bring my legs up to about 10 o'clock and definitely have tight hamstrings. I'll try this routine to get them stretched out more. Thank you!

Return to article page

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions