10-Minute Sequence to Ease Back Pain

Yoga teacher Andrea Ferretti offers a short 10-minute sequence of yoga poses to help ease tension in your back and find better posture.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Half Knees-to-Chest Pose

Ardha Apanasana

5 rounds, 2 breaths each, 1 minute total

Lie on your back. On an exhalation, draw your right knee toward your chest and hold your right shin with both hands. In this and the following 4 poses, do not press your lower back to the floor; instead, maintain a natural lumbar curve. Slowly inhale to release the right leg back to the floor, then exhale to draw in the left knee; inhale to release. Repeat, alternating right and left, 4 more times.

See alsoWatch: A Sequence to Stretch + Strengthen Outer Thighs and Hips

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose A

Supta Padangusthasana A

5 breaths, 30 seconds, each side

Slide a hand under your lower back to make sure there is a gentle curve. Place a strap around the arch of your right foot. Exhale to straighten your right leg, stacking your ankle over your hip, or bringing your leg up as high as possible and slackening the strap as needed to feel a gentle hamstring stretch. Press through both heels, flexing your feet. Exhale to release and switch sides.

See alsoFlow + Tips to Strengthen Thighs and Hamstrings

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose B

Supta Padangusthasana B

5 breaths, 30 seconds, each side

Return to your right side and take both strap ends in your right hand, extending your left arm along the floor. Exhale to lower your right leg to the right. Try to keep your left hip on the floor and your left kneecap pointing up. You should feel a stretch in your inner right thigh, but no lower-back strain. Inhale to lift your right leg back up; exhale to release it to the floor. Switch sides.

See alsoWhen Hamstrings Hurt

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose C

Supta Padangusthasana C

5 breaths, 30 seconds, each side

Inhale to bring your right leg back to vertical. With the strap around the arch of your foot, bring both ends into your left hand. Place your right thumb into your right hip crease and draw your hip down slightly so that you maintain length and space in the lower back. Exhale to draw your leg left across your body; inhale to bring your leg back to vertical. Release the strap and switch legs.

See also Protect the Hamstrings in Forward Bends

Eye-of-the-Needle Pose


8-10 breaths, 1 minute, each side

Bring both knees in toward your chest, then place your right ankle on your left thigh, just above the knee. Hold your left thigh. If you want to increase the stretch, bring your left thigh forward and press your right knee away from your torso. Be mindful of the natural curve in your lower back and keep your shoulders relaxed. Exhale to release, then switch sides. After finishing on the left, roll to one side and use your hands to come to a seated position.

END HERE with 3 minutes in Savasana

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