Pain in the lower back or hips is usually brought about by injury, overuse of your lower back and hips, or a medical condition. Depending on the cause, the pain may occur on one side or both.
What is difficult and most challenging with hip and lower back pain is that they are often ignored or overlooked because it’s common or ‘normal’ to experience pain in these areas during certain activities.
There are many factors which can cause lower back and hip pain, though the most common are due to strains and sprains brought about by common daily activities, chores, and accidents such as lifting heavy objects, twisting your body too quickly or in the wrong way.
Other possible causes of lower back and hip injury include, Paget’s disease, arthritis, tight hip flexors, or a herniated disk, and this is just to name a few.
Whatever the cause of the pain you experience on your hip and lower back it is safe to assume that it prevents you from enjoying your day to day activities.
Yoga for lower back and hip pain
As mentioned before, having pain on your lower back and hips can become troublesome and difficult for you to do things the way you used to.
However, if you are experiencing mild and dull pain on both of these areas which you know is only brought about by a mild sprain then there are some exercises that you can do to ease and remove the pain such as yoga.
But this only depends on the cause of your pain, while yoga and exercises are good, it doesn’t mean that they can solve every pain, nor and should they be recognized as treatment for every ache that you experience with your body.
Determine first what is the cause of your pain, if it is just a mild strain, sprain, or something simple and common then yoga can be used to treat it, however, if it is a more serious cause, going to the doctor is always the best option.
Here are some yoga poses that you can do to reduce or treat lower back and hip pain:
1. The Downward Facing Dog Pose
The Adho Mukha Svanasana or more popularly known as the downward facing dog is one of the most-well known yoga poses. The pose resembles the way dogs stretch their bodies, thus the name downward facing dog.
One of the few reasons why this pose is often done during yoga sessions is due to its versatility. This pose can be used as strength training, resting, and transitional pose.
This yoga pose has a number of benefits, but in general, this pose can rejuvenate and de-stress your body. This pose can improve and stretch the length of your back all the way to your legs.
One of the few reasons why this pose is a favorite of many is because it is easy to do and is less strenuous than other poses.
As a bonus, this pose can give all the benefits of inverted poses with less the challenge, such as, reduced headaches, fatigue, and even improved brain performance
How to do this pose:
- Start this pose with your hands and knees on the floor. Your palms should be faced downward on your mat and your shoulders should be directly on top of wrists while your knees are aligned under your hips.
- Relax and stretch your back by stretching your shoulders.
- Firmly plant your palms to your mat with your fingers stretched, make sure your body’s weight is evenly distributed on both hands.
- Take a few breaths, and when you exhale, unfold and raise your knees, the same goes with your pelvis, raise it towards the ceiling. As you raise your lower body, start to push your hips behind you, giving your back a full stretch. Remember do not lock or stiffen your knees when you do this.
- Your body should create a triangle shape.
- Press hard against the floor as you extend your stretch towards the ceiling. Letting you stretch your spine. Then simultaneously push equally both your heels and palms.
- Strengthen your outer arms’s muscle and press your index fingers against the floor. Draw the blades of your shoulders toward the tailbone as you expand your collarbones. This should give de-stress your back.
- Began decompressing your spine by drawing your chest closer to your thighs will maintain to push against the mat.
- Rotate your thighs to face inward while maintaining your stretch. As you do this, plant your heels deep into the floor.
- Line your ears to your upper arms. Relax your head and set your gaze on your navel or between your thighs.
- Hold this position for a number of breaths.
- Release this pose when you exhale and return to your original pose.
2. Cat and Cow Pose
Another yoga pose that is familiar with users and is often used when dealing with back pain is the cat and cow pose or also referred to as marjaryasana and bitilasana.
These poses are commonly combined together because when done together, they promote stretching. When the back is properly stretched it can help correct the alignment of the spine and remove tensions from it.
This pose also brings flexibility to your spine, neck, and torso. When this pose is done regularly, it not only helps de-stress your back, neck, and shoulders but it also helps your abdominal organs by strengthening and stimulating them, such as the adrenal glands and kidneys.
Your chest also benefits from this pose as it can help you practice better, slower, and deeper breathing.
How to do this pose:
- Lie down on your mat with your body facing the floor. Face your palms towards your yoga mat. Your wrists should be right under your shoulders, making contact while your knees width-apart are under your hips.
- Place your head at the center with your head in a neutral pose and place your gaze downward.
- Start with the cow pose or Bitilasana: As you inhale, arch your back by dropping your tummy toward the floor. Raise your chest and chest with your gaze going up the ceiling.
- Stretch your collar allowing your shoulder blades to move away from your ears.
- Move to the cat pose or Marjaryasana: On an exhale, to the opposite of the cow pose by creating a rainbow shape with your back through moving your tummy toward your spine. This pose should make you look the way a cat stretches its back.
- When you do the cat pose, do not force your chin to make contact with your chest.
- On another inhale return to the cow pose then to the cat pose on an exhale.
- Repeat the poses for several time
- Rest by sitting on your heels with your body seated upright.
3. The Child’s Pose
When you looked up yoga or at some point had an interest in trying it. You might’ve come across this pose. This is because, the child’s pose or balasana is a common yoga pose used and taught to beginner yoga practitioners.
This pose is mostly used in a resting position when transitioning between challenging or difficult poses.
This pose can help you stretch your hips, ankles, and thighs while decreasing your fatigue and stress. This works as your front body is relaxed while the muscles on your back are being gently and passively stretches.
This pose also has positive effects on the brain, it can calm and soothe your brain, so if you’ve found yourself in a stressful state, you can resort to this pose for a therapeutic effect.
How to do this pose:
- Start his pose with your hands and knees. Take deep and long breaths and concentrate until you find yourself in a calmer state, you’ll know this when you start having clearer thoughts.
- Spread your knees while keeping both of your toes in touch with one another. If you have tight hips, you can keep your thighs and knees together.
- Sit straight and while keeping your spine in the correct alignment.
- Keep up your breathing and on an exhale, bend forward, placing your upper body or torso between your thighs, your chest should either be on top of your thighs or between them.
- Rest your forehead on the floor.
- Relax your arms and keep them stretched with the palms faced down. Slightly press back to maintain connection with your heels and buttocks. Stretch your body starting from your hips to your armpits and all the way to your fingertips. You can also do this the other way around by placing your arms backwards instead, palms faced up, placed right next to your thighs.
- Broaden your upper back while relaxing the lower one. Release all the tension found in your neck, shoulders, and arms.
- Close your eyes as you perform this pose.
- Stay in this pose for a minute or more.
- To release this pose. Make use of your hands to assist your torso to return to the upright sitting position your buttocks seated on your heels.
4. Reclined Supine Twist
If you are really bothered by the pain on your hips and lower back then consider doing the reclined supine twist or also called supta matsyendrasana.
This pose feels good on your hips and when executed, it is great and effective in getting rid of pain. To help you get a better picture, imagine yourself as a sponge that is being twisted in order to get rid of any soap and water or in your case pain and stress.
This pose also offers a number of benefits. To your lower back and hips, it stretches the muscles in those areas including the glutes while giving a massage effect to your hips and back. Your spine also benefits from this pose as it helps your spinal disks to re-hydrate while promoting realignment and lengthening of your spine.
Your organs and blood flow also get benefits from this pose. Supine twists help massage and strengthen your abdominal organs which can help you get a smaller waist and promote detoxification.
Though this pose does more than help you physically, this pose can also be beneficial to your mental health. Some consider this pose to be therapeutic and gentle which can help reduce stress.
How to do this pose:
- Begin this pose by lying on your mat and your knees bent. You can make use of a head rest such as a blanket or pillow to help support your neck. Your arms should rest on both sides.
- Take a few breaths and when you’re ready, on an exhale, move both your knees towards your chest and wrap your hands around them.
- Stretch your left leg while maintaining your right knee on your chest. Your right arms should be on the floor in line with your shoulder, palms faced down.
- Twist your hips slightly to your right and move your left hand outside your right knee.
- On another exhale, twist your hips to the left side, dropping your right knee on that side, maintain your left hand’s hold on your right knee.
- Turn your head to your right with your gaze on your on the fingertips of your right hand. Press your shoulder blades on the floor.
- Drop your right knee closer to the floor, if you can, allos your toes to touch the floor and rest your foot there.
- Stay and hold this pose for several breaths. On an inhale, go back to the center with both of your knees pulled to your chest again.
- Do the same procedure on the other side and repeat on both sides three to six times.
- When you finish this pose, return to the center with you hugging your knees towards your chest for a number of breaths, then slowly, on an exhale, extend both your legs on your mat.
One of the reasons for your hip pain could be due to a tight hip. Both indulging in activities and being dormant can give you tight hips. Running and other cardio activities can cause your outer hip to tighten while staying dormant such as sitting for hours can stiffen and cause your frontal hip flexors to stiffen.
Fortunately, however, the pigeon pose (one-sided/ one-legged) is considered to be a highly effective hip-opener which can help your hips to perform better by providing them with flexibility and your hip joints a wider range of movement.
The other term for this pose is quite long, it is eka pada rajakapotasana.
The pigeon pose does more than help your hips, it also helps your abdomen, thighs, and even your groin by stretching those areas. The stretches of this pose are often felt well in areas such as the hip muscles, gluteus maximus, and upper-leg, to name a few.
This pose can also help your chest and shoulders release tension while helping your abdominal organs to perform better by stimulating them. For the restorative version of this pose, it can also promote, relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
How to do this pose:
- Start this pose by executing the downward facing dog pose or the table pose.
- Move your right knee and place it between your hands, your right ankle should be close to your left wrist. Stretch your left leg backwards so that both your foot and knee cap is resting on top of the floor.
- Through your fingertips, lift and stretch your torso forward. This move will lengthen the front of your upper body, while doing this, move your tailbone backwards to your heels, this will stretch your body even further.
- Prepare to square your hips and your chest towards the front of your mat.
- Draw down through the shin of your front leg, and balance your weight on both your left and right hips.
- Bend your front foot while pressing down the all the toes of your back foot. Keep your gaze down.
- Hold this pose for one minute.
- To rest from this pose, return to the downward facing dog. Repeat the process on the other side until you accomplish the right number of poses to execute.
6. Seated Forward Fold Pose
This yoga pose mainly helps to calm and relieve you from stress. This pose is done towards the end when your body is still warm or has warmed up. This pose can help prepare your body for difficult and challenging yoga poses.
This yoga pose helps stretch multiple parts of your body such as your hamstrings, spine, shoulders, and pelvis. Though, stretching and relieving your body from tension are not the only benefits that you can get from this yoga pose.
This pose can also help you balance and stimulate multiple organs such as your kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, and even your uterus and ovaries.
In fact, some users and yoga practitioners believe that this yoga pose can become a cure for a multitude of diseases due to its other numerous benefits such as, improved sleeping habits, reduced fatigue, anxiety, and stress, high blood pressure, sinusitis, infertility, menopause, menstrual pain, and improved digestion and appetite.
How to do this pose:
- On a yoga mat or firm blanket, sit down with your legs stretched in front. Reach towards your heels. If you are a beginner or you cannot reach your heels without bending your knees, keep them folded as you will gradually increase your flexibility through practice.
- As you inhale, move both your arms outward to the side and stretch them overhead, allowing your spine to lengthen and stretch.
- On an exhale, bend forward through your hip joint (not on the waist). Lengthen your front body and rest it on your thighs not your nose making contact with your knees.
- Hold on your ankles, feet, or shins, depending on which one you can reach with comfort and ease. You could also make use of a towel or yoga straps wrapped at the soles of your feet while holding it firmly.
- Straighten your back, make sure it is not hunched. Keep both your belly and chest placed on top of your thighs.
- Take deep breaths and with each inhale, lengthen your front torso while on exhales, fold yourself a slightly deeper.
- Hold this pose for a minute or so. To release from this pose, move your tailbone to the floor as you lift your torso during an inhale.
7. Sphinx pose
If you find this pose to sound familiar it’s because it got its name from the Egyptian mythological creatures called Sphinx. This pose helps both your front torso and back. This pose opens your chest and lungs that can help release tension from your back.
However, this pose is not only beneficial for your chest and back but for your wrists as well. This is because the sphinx pose helps to bend stretch your wrists which can help reduce pressure.
If you are a regular yoga practitioner, then you would see that the benefits of this pose is similar to that of the cobra pose.
This pose is ideal for both beginners and advanced users because it provides a gentle back stretch and it’s easy to do. This pose can help stretch and stimulate abdominal muscles, firm your butt, and strengthen and stretch your spine, the same goes for both your chest and shoulders.
The sphinx pose can also help you mentally as other than invigorating the body, it can be therapeutic and calm your nervous system.
How to do this pose:
- Start this pose by lying down on the floor faced-down, your chin should be on the mat. Your legs should be straight at a hip-width distance. Place your arms on your sides. Relax your body and untuck your toes to prevent your spine from crunching.
- Move your arms upward to rest under your elbows, your palms should face the floor with your fingers pointing forward.
- Breathe several times and on an inhale, press your hands against the floor. Roll the outside of your thighs towards the floor to help you lengthen even further your lower back.
- Keep your elbows bent on both sides. Drag the blades of your shoulders to your back and push your chest forward while stretching your tailbone backward to your heels.
- Move your chin upward with your gaze in between your brows.
- Hold this pose for ten breaths. To release this pose, in an exhale, lower your upper body on the floor. Slowly move your arms side, the same goes with your head, turn it to the side and rest.
8. Standing forward bend
Unlike the other yoga poses found on this list, the standing forward bend is something that is not done on the floor. With this said, you can expect this pose to be more challenging as balance and strength are highly needed for this pose.
As mentioned earlier, balance and strength are needed for this yoga pose, so you can expect both of those traits to improve when regularly practicing yoga poses.
In addition to this, your lower back will be stretched along with your spine while your legs will increase in flexibility. Your other muscles can increase flexibility and strength as well like your shoulders and arms.
How to do this pose:
- Stand and place both hands on the side of your hips. Take a few breaths and when you exhale, bend from your hip joints. As you bend lower, remember to keep lengthening your torso.
- If you can, keep your knees straight. Move your palms or fingers towards the floor and reach either the side or front of your feet. If you cannot do this yet, either hold the back of your ankles or cross your palms and hold on to your elbows instead.
- Plant your heels firmly on the floor as you raise your buttocks towards the ceiling. Turn in your upper thighs a little bit inward.
- As you inhale, lift and stretch your chest just a little bit and with every exhale release your upper body further to the forward bend. Through this movement, your body will move together with your breathing. Allow your head to hang from your neck, which can help deepen the feeling between your shoulder blades.
- This pose can be done as a resting pose between standing asanas or poses. Hold this pose for thirty seconds to a minute or so.
- To release from this pose, return your hands to your hips and press your tailbone down before coming up during an inhale.
9. Upward facing dog
This pose is a back-bender that can help lengthen and stretch your arms, torso, and spine. However, this pose can also strengthen your wrist, chest, and upper body. In addition to this, this pose can be an effective therapy for those who have asthma, it can stimulate and improve the performance of abdominal glands while firming your buttocks and thighs.
It can have positive effects on your mental health as well by rejuvenating your body and relieving mild depression and fatigue.
How to do this pose:
- Start by lying on the floor faced down and legs stretched behind you. Your legs should be inches apart and your toes untucked.
- Your hands should be on the floor right beside your lower ribs. The direction of your fingers should point towards the top of your yoga mat.
- Inhale and press firmly against the floor or yoga mat. Stretch your arms and lift both your upper body and legs from the floor. You can start with the plank pose as well if this feels more comfortable to you.
- Apply the same pressure with your feet, push them against the floor to maintain distance from your thighs and the floor.
- Keep pressing your elbows along your body. Move your shoulders away from your ears and move your chest towards the ceiling.
- Keep drawing your shoulders back and your chest forward. Keep in mind not to crunch your neck. If you are flexible, raise your gaze towards the ceiling. If you are still not able to do this, just place your head at a neutral and centered place, with your gaze forward.
- Keep your thighs and arms firm. Your thighs should move slightly inward while your arms should be turned slightly so that your elbow creases are pointed forward.
- Straighten and stretch your arms as much as you can. Do not force your arms to stretch too much to avoid strains or injuries.
- Towards your upper back, press your shoulder blades actively. Maintain your elbows hugged to the side of your body. Stretch your collarbones and lift your chest. The tops of your shoulders should be away from your ears. You should feel the lengthening of your spine evenly.
- Maintain this pose for thirty seconds. If you’re planning to release this pose, on an exhale, lower your upper body and return your forehead to the mat. Turn your head and gaze to the right, allowing you to rest.
10. Extended triangle pose
The triangle pose or also called utthita trikonasana is another yoga pose in this list that is done while standing. This pose helps to tone your legs, improve stability, and reduce stress.
This pose provides a deep stretch to various parts of the body such as your hips, hamstrings, and even your groin. In addition to this, this pose stretches out both your chest and shoulders and it can relieve you of slow digestion and pain on your lower back.
Other benefits of this include reduced anxiety, infertility, osteoporosis, and flat feet.
How to do this pose:
- Begin this pose by standing on your mat, the distance between your feet should be at hip-distance. Your arms should be placed at the sides of your body. Concentrate on your breathing and keep your mind clear.
- Increase the gap between your feet to four or feet. Your heels should be aligned with one another.
- Turn and adjust your right foot to 90 degrees, your toes should be pointing towards the top of your yoga mat. Your right knee and right ankle should be aligned.
- Turn your left foot slightly inward with your back toes at a 45-degree angle.
- Lift through the arches of your feet while digging back through your ankles.
- Lift your arms until it is shoulder-height aligned. Your arms should be directly over your thighs, palms faced-down. Move hip (left) back so your pelvis and tailbone will tilt to the area in the back of your left foot. Bend your right hip. Maintain the alignment of your shoulder, ear, and knee. Switch your left palm facing forwards with the fingertips pointing towards the ceiling.
- Place your right hand on either your ankle or outer shin. If you can, connect your fingertips or palm on the floor, outside your right shin. Another option is to make use of a yoga block and rest your hand there. Make sure your arms are aligned.
- Your gaze should be to your right thumb.
- Drawdown the back foot through the outer edge. Equally, through the sides of your waist, extend. Stretch your tailbone to the back heel. Maintain the alignment of your left arm and shoulders.
- Stay in this pose for one minute. When releasing, inhale and lift your upper body while pushing against the heel of your left foot. Lower both arms and switch or reverse the position of your feet. Repeat the same procedure on the other side.