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5 Yoga asanas that are great for your back

Ease tense muscles and stiff shoulders with these tried-and-tested poses that will build your core and strengthen your spine.

adho-mukh-svanasana

1. Adho Mukh Svanasana
Also known as the Downward Dog Pose, this asana has multiple benefits. It tones arms and legs and boosts blood circulation to the upper part of your body. This asana is also very helpful for the back as it strengthens and lengthens your spine, relieving any backache.
Steps
Start off on all fours, like a dog. Your palms should be flat on the ground. Open your elbows and relax your upper back. Exhale and slowly tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground. Gently straighten your legs and try to touch your heels to the ground. Your arms should be stretched and your hips should rise towards the ceiling. Your head should be in line with your arms. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds before coming back to the starting position.
Precautions
Avoid this asana if you suffer from diarrhea, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or high blood pressure. Also don’t do this asana while pregnant.
Photograph: Yanalya – Freepik.com

bhujangasana

2. Bhujangasana
The Cobra Pose helps in strengthening the entire back and makes your upper and middle back supple. It also aids in opening up your shoulders, neck and chest. The asana is also great for improving blood circulation.
Steps
Lie flat on your stomach with your head resting on the ground. Keep your legs are close to one another with your feet with the heels slightly touching each other. Your palms should be flat on the ground under your shoulders. Now, inhale deeply and, using the support of your arms, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen. Remember that your navel should touch the floor. Pull your torso back and off the floor. The weight should be evenly distributed on both arms. Straighten your arms and arch your back as much as possible. Tilt your head back and gaze upwards. Hold on the pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Exhale and gently bring your abdomen, chest, and head back on the floor.
Precautions
Refrain from this asana if you are pregnant, suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or have injured ribs or wrists. Also avoid this asana if you have hernia.
Photograph: Yanalya – Freepik.com

trikonasana

3. Trikonasana
Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose is great for improving flexibility of the spine, relieving backache, correcting bad posture, massaging pelvic muscles, and strengthening legs, knees, and ankles.
Steps
Stand with your feet wide apart. Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and your left foot slightly in. Your feet should be firmly pressed to the ground so that the body weight is evenly distributed on both feet. Now, inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend your body towards the right, with your hip facing forward. Now raise your left hand towards the ceiling and your right hand towards ground. Rest your right hand on the ground near your ankle. Try to get your arms in a straight line. Your head should be facing the ceiling, gazing at your left palm. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then inhale and come back to the starting position. Repeat the asana on your left side now.
Precautions
Avid doing this pose if you have high or low blood pressure. People suffering from migraine, diarrhea, back or neck injury should abstain from doing this asana.
Photograph: Yanalya – Freepik.com

ustrasana

4. Ustrasana
This pose, also known as the Camel Pose, is especially beneficial for the back. It strengthens the back muscles and helps alleviate pain in the lower back. It’s also good for increased flexibility and correcting bad posture.
Steps
Start by kneeling on the mat. Make sure your knees and shoulders are in the same line. Keep your hands on your hips. Inhale deeply and draw your tailbone in. Now, bend backwards and straighten your arms. Rest your palms on your ankles. Open up your chest and feel the stretch. Keep your neck in a neutral position; it should not be strained. Hold the pose for a few seconds and then gently come back to the start position.
Precautions
Avoid this pose if you have high or low blood pressure, or suffer from insomnia or migraines.
Photograph: Lululemon Athletica/Wikimedia Commons

halasana

5. Halasana
Popularly known as the Plow Pose, Halasana calms the brain, stretches the shoulders, reduces stress, and most importantly makes your back more flexible, thus keeping backache and stiffness at bay. However, this is a slightly difficult asana so it’s best done after a few weeks of continuous yoga practice and with an instructor around.
Steps
Lie flat on your back with your arms beside you; your palms should face downwards. Inhale and then raise your feet off the floor with the help of your abdominal muscles. Raise your legs vertically at a 90-degree angle. Now, slowly raise both your hips and back off the ground. Remember to put your hands on your hips and use them as support. Slowly, stretch your legs over your head; try to touch your toes on the floor behind you.  Your back should perpendicular to the ground at this stage. If you’re comfortable, remove your hand support and place them on the ground with the fingers interlocked. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Exhale, and then gently bring your legs down.
Precautions
Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure, any injury involving the neck or if you’re suffering from diarrhea. Refrain from doing this asana if you are pregnant or menstruating.
Photograph: Yanalya – Freepik.com

Photograph (lead image): Jcomp – Freepik.com

Categories:   Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

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