It’s a well-known fact that yoga has plenty of health benefits. One of yoga’s claims to fame is 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 and those with chronic back 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 is 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
If your back has been hurting, don’t worry. You’ll be glad to know that there are tons of yoga poses that can help relieve you of back pain. And today, we’ll explain how you can use yoga blocks to ease into these safely. 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.
The Downward Dog is one of the fundamental poses in yoga. It mainly relies on upper body strength and is great for stretching out the arms, shoulders, abdomen, legs, and hips. This pose is known to help improve spine flexibility and reduce back pain.
Start in a tabletop position or on all fours.
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.
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.
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.
Start by sitting down on the block with your legs straight pointing towards one edge of the mat.
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.
Take a deep breath, and as you inhale, raise your arms up high.
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.
Look towards your shins and try to keep your back as straight as possible. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
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.
Begin on the floor in a tabletop position. Place two blocks shoulder-width distance apart at the top of your mat.
With your big toes touching, spread your knees out wide, towards the sides of the mat. Sit your hips back onto your heels and walk your hands forward to lower your chest down.
Place your hands on the blocks. Let your forehead rest down on the mat and close your eyes. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
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.
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, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
Place your hands behind you and slowly lower yourself onto the block(s). Adjust the blocks to be directly underneath your shoulder blades.
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.
The Supported Bridge Pose is great for your lumbar spine or lower back. 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.
Start by lying on your back with your block off to one side. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, hip-width distance apart. Have your arms resting down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
Inhale to press into your arms and feet and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Grab your block and slide it underneath your sacrum or tailbone, so it is partially on the very top of your glutes. Lower your hips back down to rest on the block.
Straighten your legs out in front of you with your feet out wide so that your heels are in and your toes fall out. Turn your palms to face up. Close your eyes and hold 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 chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdominals. It can also help strengthen the spine, arms, wrists, and thighs.
Start from Downward Dog with both your palms on the blocks. Shift your weight forward into a High Plank Pose.
Start to lower your hips down toward the mat as you lift your chest and gaze to point toward the front of the room.
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.
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.
Start in a tabletop position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
Walk your hands forward, keeping your hips over your knees, and your thighs relatively perpendicular to the mat.
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.
Place a block underneath your forehead or place a block under each palm and bring your forehead to the mat.
Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
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