If you are one of the 31 million Americans who is currently experiencing back pain, we feel for you! There’s nothing worse than having to sit at a desk, look after your kiddos, or scrub the tub when your muscles are super tense.
Because we want to see you rest easy AND stand tall, we found 7 back stretches that are so simple, you can complete them all in under 10 minutes—without any special equipment needed! For full tutorials on each pose, follow the links below.
1- Downward Facing Dog
woman in downward facing dog poseGigi Yogini
Even the most casual yogis know how to execute this simple pose. Start in a neutral standing position, then fold your upper-body forward, taking care to engage your core as your hands reach the mat. From there, place your palms flat on the ground and move both legs back. Focus your energy on bringing your heels down towards the floor. Alternate bending your knees for a deeper stretch.
While this is considered to be a full-body stretch, those with particularly tense shoulders will feel instant relief with this wonderful chest-opener.
2-Upward Facing Dog
woman in upward facing dog poseHowcast
Now that you’ve given some love to your upper back, let’s focus on taking care of that painful lower back pain. For this pose, lie belly-down on the floor with the tops of your feet pressing down into your mat. Stretch your legs towards the back wall and push your palms down as if you were doing a push-up. Next, fix your gaze skyward and lift your body up, making sure that your core is tightly engaged all the while.
Enjoy the feel of your lower back muscles being instantly lengthened!
3- Standing Forward Bend
woman completes standing forward bendAbi Carver
Sure, that mat can be comfy, but it’s now time that you rise to your feet once again. Begin with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, with your abs engaged and your knees neutral. Bend your upper half towards the floor from your hips and reach your fingers down towards your mat. Don’t worry if you can’t reach all the way, just try your best!
From there, place both hands on opposite elbows and gently sway back-and-forth. You should feel the muscles in your neck relax almost immediately!
4- Cat/Cow Pose
woman in cat and cow yoga poseTonic
For an efficient (and heavenly!) full-back stretch, consider the cat/cow pose. Begin in a tabletop position with both knees on the floor. Next, round your back, keeping your neck loose and neutral. Breathe through the stretch, then arch your back, placing your gaze up towards the ceiling.
Expand and contract several times, making sure that you are releasing all of the air from your abdomen with each breath.
5- Seated Spinal Twist
woman completes seated twistHealth Magazine
Is your partner sick of your constant requests for shoulder massages? If so, we have just the yoga pose for you! Start with both legs out, directly in front of you, then cross one leg over the other so that its foot lands flat on the ground. Rest your elbow on the outer end of your raised knee and stretch your fingers out, as if you are waving.
If this stretch is uncomfortable for you to execute, don’t worry about the elbow business—just reach as far as you can in the direction of your knee and gently twist. Instant relief!
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