squat legs up the wall yin yoga pose ease back pain

Yin Yoga to Ease Back Pain

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Yin yoga is a wonderful practice for releasing deep held tension in the body and mind, which is why yin yoga helps ease back pain so well, because back pain is closely linked to emotional tension also.

Yin Yoga and how it helps ease back pain

In the slow held poses we are encouraged to soften the muscles as much as possible so we can access the deeper connective tissues such as ligaments and fascia. Paired with the mindfulness meditation aspect of it that helps to calm the mind it can aid the healing process immensely.

Back pain and emotional tension – the relationship

Back pain often originates from emotional tension before the actual injury occurs; whether it’s from running on adrenalin in a non-stop busy life, financial worries, guilt,  feeling a lack of emotional support or something else. What ever tension we experience in the mind gets experienced in the body. Once an actual injury occurs the surrounding area can go into spasm to protect the weak point and the on-going pain and tension in the body can lead us to feeling even more emotional.

What is so helpful then is to relax the body and mind as much as possible. To quieten the mind to help return to that place of trust and calm with in. To ease the nervous system toward the parasympathetic state, which gives us the ability to rest and digest.

Daily Yoga Nidra practice helps ease back pain

Firstly, I recommend a daily Yoga Nidra practice when the body is in spasm and pain. Lie down with legs over bolster, a flat block or pillow under your head and a blanket. Put on a pre recorded Yoga Nidra that you can follow and relax. It is a deeply healing practice on many levels. You can find Yoga Nidra on Spotify, Itunes, You Tube and the various online yoga websites. I recommend Rod Stryker and Uma Dinsmore-Tuli

Don’t hold yin forward bends with back pain

Depending on how your back is and where the injury is please be careful with holding forward bends for a long time in Yin. What I recommend instead is doing the supine (lying on your back) poses and alternatives up the wall so that the spine is stable and protected whilst you release the hip and leg muscles, which often pull on the lower back and trigger imbalance in the first place. Twists are also a wonderful release if they feel helpful for your back. Above all take it very cautiously and listen to your bodies feedback.

A routine I find helpful when my lower back has been painful:

Coherent Breathing as much as you can the whole way through: this is breathing in for 6 and out for 6 with a soft Ujjayi. This is the most healing breath pattern, it has been scientifically shown to reset the whole body for 24 hours when you do it for 20 minutes.

Constructive Rest Pose. 5 minutes

constructive rest ease back pain yin yoga pose lie on back bent knees

Knee to chest pose (hugging in one knee). 1 minute

knee to chest pose yin yoga ease back pain

Foot to Sky pose (hamstring stretch). 1 minute

person lying on back foot to sky yin yoga pose ease back pain

Eye of the needle. 3 minutes

person lying on floor one foot resting on other knee and pulling legs to chest

Supine Shoelace. 3 minutes

person lying on back legs crossed pulled into chest yin yoga pose ease back pain

Relax, notice how it feels on the right side compared to the left. Then other side.

Wide knee child’s pose over a bolster 5 minutes

child pose person in feotal position on floor torso over bolster head turned to one side

Sphinx pose – if this feels ok for your back, avoid if it feels too much for your lower back. 3 minutes

Rest afterwards, changing turn of the head to get an even neck stretch. You may prefer to lie back over a bolster, vertically along spine supporting the head,  to experience a more supported back bend for a bit longer if sphinx doesn’t feel helpful.

sphinx yoga pose lie on floor sit up on forearms yin yoga pose ease back pain

Legs up the wall pose, bend your knees if your hamstrings are too tight. 10 minutes

legs up the wall yin yoga pose ease back pain
Squat with legs up the wall. 3 minutes

squat legs up the wall yin yoga pose ease back pain

Supine Twist. 3 minutes

person twisting legs to the right head to left supine twistyin yoga ease back pain

Yoga Nidra with legs over a bolster. 15-25 minutes – try Rod Stryker and Uma Dinsmore-Tuli

forward fold over bolster yin yoga pose ease back pain

Other recommendations to ease back pain

Above all I recommend Yoga Nidra, Magnesium/Epsom Salt Baths and slowing down, being kind to yourself and easing any pressure off so you can really relax. Remember the pain will pass, you will heal in your own time. Nothing lasts forever. Acceptance of how we are in each moment as when we resist something, like hurting our backs, it continues to cause us tension. Acceptance allows a softening and space to be able to heal.

If you would like to learn more about Louise find out more here. She also teaches on our UK Retreats and our Yoga Holidays abroad –

For 2019:

Santorini 29th June – 6th July 

French Alps hiking and yoga holidays 31st August – 7th and 7th – 14th August 2019. 

Post Author

Louise Windsor

Louise is passionate about helping people just be themselves, to know they are enough, and to create a life they love. She teaches mindful Flow and Yin Yoga and believes life is hard enough with out having to force your way through a yoga class. Her emphasis is on cultivating mindfulness, connection with yourself and release.

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