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Yoga Sequences

A Yoga Sequence to Relieve Back Pain After Prolonged Sitting

Time is on your side when working with back pain or disc injuries. Patience, diligence, and gentleness guide the path to safe movement. The back-care series I developed promotes range of motion, body balance, and alleviates discomfort from sitting with poor posture. Try to practice it daily, especially when you have spent prolonged periods sitting or standing.

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Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)

Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
Christopher Dougherty

Marjaryasana (Cat Pose) + Bitilasana (Cow Pose): Repeat all variations to your content.

  • Cat/Cow: Flex and extend the spine by initiating movement from the hips (shown).
  • Side-bend Cat/Cow: Side bend right, then left, squeezing the side waist like a fist.
  • Rotation Cat/Cow: Shift weight to your left hand and lift the right arm laterally, by rotating the rib cage, then repeat on the opposite side. Keep your chin in line with your sternum.

Bitilasana (Cow Pose)

Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
Christopher Dougherty

Cat/Cow: Flex and extend the spine by initiating movement from the hips (shown).

See also Chest-Opening Yoga Poses

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose variation)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose variation)
Christopher Dougherty

Lie on your belly with your legs behind you, prop yourself up on your right forearm, bend your left knee, and use a strap to hook the front of your left ankle. Look at a spot on the floor ahead of you, draw your shoulder blades toward your midline, roll your back and lower ribs in and up, and keep a light tailbone. Hold for 3-4 breaths, then repeat on the other side. Take full Bow, if appropriate for you, and hold for at least 3-6 breaths. Work up to holding for as long as you like.

See also Stop Slouching! Improve Posture in Bow Pose

Bolster/Blanket-supported Side-lying

Bolster/Blanket-supported Side-lying
Christopher Dougherty

Sit perpendicular to a bolster or blanket that’s at your hip. Side bend over the prop(s), gently turning your chest and head toward the ceiling. Support your head and neck with a block, and adjust your top arm as needed. Take at least 12-16 breaths, and work up to 36-48 breaths (about 4 minutes). Switch sides.

Derotational Planks

Derotational Planks
Christopher Dougherty

Come to Forearm Plank, then place one forearm down ahead of the other a few inches. Take 3-10 breaths. Return to traditional Forearm Plank and do the exercise with the other forearm. Rest, then repeat 2 times. To modify, drop your knees during the exercise or when you return to traditional Forearm Plank. (An optional strap above the elbows stabilizes the shoulders.)

See also Ask the Expert: Which Yoga Poses Prevent Lower-Back Pain?

Pelvic Clocks

Pelvic Clocks
Christopher Dougherty

Lie on your back and place your soles ahead of your hips, with your arms comfortably at your sides. Lift you pelvis just enough to clear the mat. Visualize a clock face under your hips, and touch every hour with your buttocks, moving clockwise then counterclockwise. Repeat 4-6 times.

See also Anatomy of the Spine: What You Need to Know About Your Spinal Curves