Yoga Block for Back Pain? (Stretches for Upper & Lower Back)

Yoga Block for Back Pain? (Stretches for Upper & Lower Back)

Published On: December 8th, 2021
yoga block for back pain

It’s a well-known fact that yoga has plenty of health benefits.

One of yoga’s claims to fame:

Its ability to relieve chronic back pain. In fact, tons of people choose to start their yoga journey in hopes of reducing their back pain.

If you’re one of these people, you’ll soon find out that:

  • A lot of yoga poses aren’t as simple as they seem. This is especially true for people with limited mobility & pain.
  • But don’t quit on yoga just yet! It takes time, patience, and constant practice to fully reap the benefits of yoga.
  • To help you ease into the yoga practice, props such as yoga blocks will definitely come in handy.

In this blog post, we’ll help you incorporate yoga blocks into your practice – especially to relieve back pain.

We’ll talk about what a yoga block is, how it’s used, and even included a list of some of our favorite yoga stretches and poses for lower & upper back pain relief at the end.

What Is A Yoga Block?

A yoga block is a brick-like object made from wood, foam, or other soft but dense materials.

It’s a very simple, study device meant to take the weight of your body without breaking, slipping, or sliding. Yoga blocks are used to assist yogis during their yoga practice. Both newbies and advanced yogis can use these. In fact, you may even use more than one block while you practice certain poses.

If you’re attempting to tackle a new yoga pose, a yoga block can build your flexibility and stamina to help ease you into the pose you’re trying to achieve. It’s also a great accessory for people with limited mobility or for those who need extra support.

How Do You Use A Yoga Block?

Yoga blocks are incredibly versatile and can be used in many different ways. It can help you build the flexibility and strength you need to deepen your poses by providing additional support. It can also help increase your overall mobility and range of motion.

You can use it as a platform for your legs, hands, belly, shoulders, and so much more. But our main focus for today is how to use a yoga block for your back.

7 Yoga Block Stretches & Poses To Relieve Lower & Upper Back Pain

Some of these poses require two yoga blocks, while others require just one. We’ll explain how to do each pose step-by-step. We’ll also explain why these poses are beneficial for your back.

Downward Dog

The Downward Dog is one of the fundamental poses in yoga. It mainly relies on torso strength and is great for stretching out the arms, core and legs. This pose is known to help improve spine flexibility and reduce back pain.

  1. Start on all fours, knees under hips and arms under shoulders.
  2. Place one block under each of your hands. You can choose to place your hands on the wide side or the thin side of the block. Make sure that your hands are firmly placed on the blocks to avoid slipping or falling. Really dig your palms and lay your fingers flat on the block.
  3. Tuck your toes in and as you exhale push your hips up in the air. Your body should be forming an inverted V-position. Make sure that your back is straight. You can keep a slight bend in the knees or straighten your legs and place your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.

Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend is a simple yet effective yoga pose for freeing up tensions in the hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, and arms. Using a block with this pose can help enhance the natural curve of the spine and stop you from hunching your upper back, which is a common mistake practiced in this pose.

  1. Start by sitting down on the block with your legs straight pointing towards one edge of the mat.
  2. You can have a slight bend in your knees or you can keep them straight. Just make sure to keep your legs active by flexing your feet upwards. Doing so will protect your knees from any injuries.
  3. Take a deep breath, and as you inhale, raise your arms up high.
  4. As you exhale, slowly bend forward and try to grab onto your big toes or grab your wrist and hook your hands onto the flat of your foot.
  5. Look towards your shins and try to keep your back as straight as possible. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.

Child’s Pose

If a pose like Seated Forward Bend is too challenging for you, Child’s Pose is a much gentler alternative. It can still provide a good stretch in the back without overdoing the stretch, making it great for people with lower mobility.

  1. Start in a 4-point stance, with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Place two blocks shoulder-width distance apart at the top of your mat.
  3. Lower hips back to heels, spreading knees wide and walking hands forward.
  4. Rest forehead on mat between blocks, close eyes, and hold for 8-10 breaths.

Fish Pose

The Fish Pose is great for releasing tension in the cervical spine and upper back muscles. It also works great as a chest opener. Make sure to take deep breaths while you hold this pose so you can get an even deeper stretch in your upper back and chest.

  1. To begin, place one or two blocks going longwise in the center of the mat. It should be positioned in such a way that it lines up in between your shoulder blades and head. Sit in front of the blocks and position your feet on the floor.
  2. Place your hands behind you and slowly lower yourself onto the block(s). Adjust the blocks to be directly underneath your shoulder blades.
  3. Tilt your head back and allow the crown of your head to rest gently on the ground or the second yoga block. Let your arms rest down along your sides with the palms face up and hold the pose for 8 breaths.

Bridge Pose

The Supported Bridge Pose is great for your lumbar spine or lower back — often paired with chiropractic care. It also helps to build hip, hamstring, and core strength that is needed to control our pelvic tilt. Controlling our pelvic tilt encourages a balanced position of the pelvis which can reduce lower back pain.

  1. Lie down flat, with a yoga block next to you. Spread your feet equal to your hips. and pull them into your body (bending your knees up).
  2. Keep your arms next to your body, with palms facing down.
  3. breathe in and lift your hips toward the ceiling, pressing into your feet and arms.
  4. Slide the block under your lower back, just below your tailbone, for support.
  5. Relax your legs and arms, and hold the pose for 8 breaths.

Upward Facing Dog

The Upward Facing Dog is another fundamental yoga pose that also works as a great chest opener. This pose is one of our favorites because it feels extremely good when it stretches out the entire torso, along with abdominals. It can also help strengthen your core, wrists and legs.

  1. Start from Downward Dog with both your palms on the blocks. Shift your weight forward into a High Plank Pose.
  2. Start to lower your hips down toward the mat as you lift your chest and gaze to point toward the front of the room.
  3. If possible, untuck your toes and come to the tops of your feet. Press your hands down firmly onto the blocks and broaden your chest and collar bones. Draw your shoulders back and away from your ears.
  4. Lengthen your tailbone down toward your heels to ease pressure out of the lower back. Roll upward slightly through your inner thighs to create space in your low back and lift your legs off the mat.

Extended Puppy Pose

There are two ways to use a yoga block in an Extended Puppy Pose. You can either use one block and place it underneath your forehead, or you can use a second block and place one block under each palm (as you would in Downward Dog). Using a block for this pose will help you reduce strain and tension in the neck and also create a deeper stretch along the side of your body, back, shoulders, and chest.

  1. Enter into a crawl position (with knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders).
  2. Progress forward with your hands, keeping your hips over your knees, and your thighs relatively perpendicular to the mat.
  3. Only walk your hands as far as you can without shifting your hips in front of your knees. Lower your chest toward the mat and create space in your upper back.
  4. Place a block underneath your forehead or place a block under each palm and bring your forehead to the mat.
  5. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.

Find All Your Yoga Essentials At Pureful Yoga

For some of the best quality and eco-friendly yoga essentials – look no further than Pureful Yoga!

We have everything you need to make the most out of your yoga practice, including cork yoga mats, alignment yoga mats, cork yoga mat bags, and of course, cork yoga blocks. All of our yoga essentials are made from sustainably sourced cork taken from the bark of the cork oak tree.

We chose cork as our main material because not only are they 100% organic, but they’re also incredibly durable and anti-slip—the two most important qualities you need in your yoga blocks and mats. It even has natural anti-microbial properties that kill germs, microbes, and fungi—what more could you ask for?

Grab your yoga essentials from Pureful Yoga and start your yoga journey today!