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Lower back pain can be debilitating and affect daily activities, sleep, and exercise. There are many causes of back pain including strain while lifting, exercise, or chronic overuse of the muscles.

Fortunately, there are many ways to release the tension in your lower back including yoga poses. Yoga poses can be done anywhere and don’t require equipment, so they provide an easy fix for tension. The moves work by both releasing knots and stretching out muscle fibers via relaxing and restorative postures. Check out these top 5 yoga poses for lower back pain:

1. Side Twist

This move focuses on releasing tension in lower back muscles on each side individually. It stretches the lower back muscles on both the left and right in static positions to gradually elongate the tight muscles.

To perform this stretch, lie down on your back.
Place your arms straight out to either side to form a “T” position.
Bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle and lower them down to the left side.
Keep your head facing the right side and your right shoulder should still be touching the ground.
Hold for at least one minute before repeating the same positioning with your knees lowered onto the right side.
Be sure to breathe throughout the entire movement, especially while holding the static stretch.

2. Sphinx

The sphinx pose is focused on generating a better blood flow toward your lower back, which helps with the healing and restoration of the muscles in that area.

To perform this pose, lie down on your stomach.
Prop yourself up on your forearms, making sure that they are aligned straight forward under your shoulders.
Keep a neutral neck as you push up against your palms and the tops of your feet.
Hold this position for about a minute depending on how tight your muscles are feeling.
If it begins to hurt, take a break and only hold it long enough to feel a slight stretch and release.

3. Cat Pose

The cat pose works by rejuvenating and stretching out your entire spine.

To complete this stretch, get on all fours.
Your palms and the tops of your feet should be resting against the floor.
Keep your arms extended and your head and back in a neutral position looking straight at the floor.
Inhale, and then exhale as you round your back up toward the sky.
Your head and neck should drop toward the floor as you round your back.
Inhale again as you come back to the starting position.
Perform as many repetitions as you would like and hold for your desired time allotment.
It’s all about tailoring the stretch to your back, so find the best range to challenge yourself without pain.

4. Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is a common position in yoga that helps lengthen out the back in a comfortable and restorative hold.

Sit with your knees bent underneath you.
Your butt should be just a little bit above your heels.
Stretch your arms forward so that they are out in front of you.
Your head and neck should be in a neutral position with your forehead resting on the ground.
Hold this position for 1-3 minutes.

5. Pigeon Pose

This pose loosens up your hip flexors. Tight hip flexors can cause tension in the lower back, so it’s important to keep them flexible in order to alleviate back pain.

To get into position, bring your left foot forward.
Bend your left knee so that your leg is perpendicular to your right leg.
Both legs should be resting on the ground.
You can push up with your arms extended or bring your arms forward and rest your forehead on the ground.
Hold for about a minute before switching to the other side.