3 Yoga poses to relieve back pain in midlife

Especially in midlife, most of us seem to suffer from back pain in some form. Long hours sitting while working or driving, a sedentary lifestyle, and conditions such as arthritis, can all lead to back pain. 

In midlife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.
Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish – Phillippe Diederich

The following yoga poses, practiced regularly, can help alleviate back pain, by strengthening and lengthening the spine. Please keep in mind that asana yoga (the poses) is just one small part of what yoga is all about.

Yoga is a lifestyle, a philosophy, that incorporates physical movement and breathwork in order to prepare the body to sit for long periods of time in meditation.

Of course, you can choose to stick strictly to the physical aspect of yoga, but from personal experience, I can tell you that practicing the eight limbs of yoga has changed my life and equipped me with tools to deal with whatever struggles come my way.

Cobra for back pain

In midlife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.
Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish by Phillippe Diederich (Cobra pose)

Keep your elbows bent, your shoulders away from your ears, and your legs together. The glutes are engaged along with the back muscles. You can modify this pose by resting your forearms on the mat, which would turn it into a Sphynx pose.

If you have greater flexibility, you could extend your arms with your elbows stacked over wrists and shoulders over the elbows, hips elevated from the mat, and turn it into an upward dog.

In each of these cases, once you’re in the pose, breathe in and out of the nose for eight counts, relax with your head resting on your crossed forearms arms making a pillow, and then repeat two more times.

You should not feel pain in this pose.

Warrior II for back pain

In midlife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.
Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish by Phillippe Diederich (Warrior II)

I love all the Warrior poses, because they are extremely grounding (make one feel more connected to the Earth and the present moment), and promote feelings of self-confidence and strength.


Warrior two can be practiced on a chair under the front leg for greater support, or on a mat. Make sure the feet are firmly planted on the ground, the glute muscles are engaged and the core is strong. The core is like a girdle around the trunk, and when it is strong, the back doesn’t have to compensate for weak abdominal muscles. This helps prevent and alleviate back pain.

Just as in the pose above, once you are in Warrior II, shoulders away from the ears and arms extended to the sides, breathe in and out of the nose for a count of eight, rest, and then repeat two more times.

Knee to chest for back pain

In midlIn midlife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.ife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.
Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish by Phillippe Diederich (Knee to chest)

I love this pose, since I have lordosis (an exaggerated curve of the lower back) and bringing one knee to my chest releases the tension in my lower back.

If one is unable to press the lower back to the mat while doing this pose, then it is best to bend the opposite leg and plant the foot on the ground while bringing in the opposite knee to the chest.

How far the knee comes in to the chest is not important. What matters is that the back feels relief.

Hold the pose for eight breaths and switch to the other side. Rest for a few seconds, and then repeat twice on each side.

In midlife and beyond, back pain is extremely prevalent. Here are 4 yoga poses that can help alleviate it.

Bilingual and bicultural Spanish-American editor, writer, speaker, influencer, yoga teacher (RYT500) wife and mom. Founder of Viva Fifty! Published author of 18 books. Her most recent book Your Best Age was released by HarperCollins in September of 2017.

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