The Warm Up & A Note Of Caution
Before we dive right into targeting your lower back, it's important to take a little bit to warm up first. It's never a good idea to target a sensitive area of our bodies right away WITHOUT warming up first.
In the video below you'll not only find all of the 5 recommended poses you see here, but also a good warm up that helps to release neighboring muscle groups so your body can better accept the more 'targeted' poses for your lower back.
Warm Up THEN Target Your Lower Back Pain
This video provides a basic warm up AND provides an easy-to-follow set of poses that may help with your lower back
Full Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Although this may be the number one pose to help with herniated disc issues, I actually don't recommend doing it first. It probably has the most benefits, but it can also be a challenging posture if your lower back is already tired/sore.
This posture is probably best done toward the end of a yoga flow when you are the most warmed up and ready for it. Gentle back bends like this one are wonderful for helping to alleviate the pain caused by slipped disc issues. Please take note of the following resources:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Down dog is a classic posture in many yoga sequences. Often times we spend too much time stretching out our legs in this posture.
I recommend leaving our legs out of this pose for now and focus on creating length in our backs to get a nice stretch throughout the entirety of our spine.
To focus on finding the stretch in your back in this pose - first come high on the balls of your feet (lift your heels), then bend your knees slightly.
Once you've done this, gently lift your tail bone - as if you are seeking to bring it towards the ceiling.
Keep your hands strong on the mat, this is your anchor. As you lift your tailbone you should feel the elongation in your spine that helps to stretch your back.
Cobra/Sphinx Pose (Bhujangasana)
This is yet another back bend that may help to alleviate tension in your lower back due to a herniated disc.
In the corresponding video I recommend only coming into Sphinx Pose - which is just a less amplified version of the posture picture here.
Whether you choose to do the less intense version (Sphinx) or the full posture will depend on how you feel that day. As always - listen to your body and never force things, especially if you are working through an injury.
Avoid "Flexion" Yoga Poses
If you haven't noticed, gentle back bending type postures are what we are going for. Often times there are poses that may aggravate your disc issue even further.
It may be best to tread lightly or avoid poses like "Rabbit", "Forward Fold" and/or "Forehead-To-Knee".
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
Bridge pose is not only a gentle back bend that may help with issues in your lower back, but it also tends to have neurological benefits as well.
This gentle inversion is great for helping to produce a sense of relaxation and calm.
A note of safety... Be sure not to look side to side while in the posture. It's best to keep your eye gaze straight up.
We don't need to tax those vertebrae in our cervical spine more than necessary.
Warrior One (Virabhadrasana)
Warrior One helps to promote that gentle curvature in our lower back. Marathons of sitting at our desks all day tend to arch our back in the opposite direction as we, over time, forget about keeping good posture at our desks.
As seen above, be sure to keep your hips square with the front. Gently engaging your inner thighs should help keep your hips where they need to be.
I've recently written a post regarding some of the best yoga wheels on the market.
While yoga wheels are typically for people who are more experienced in yoga, it may also help some people who are suffering from a herniated disc as well.
Tread lightly, but it may be worth a look!
All the best, and feel free to leave a comment below!