Expert Advice

Is yoga safe for back injuries?

Yoga gives you tools to correct your body's alignment.

Is yoga safe for back injuries?
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Yoga can be great for people with back injuries. It teaches you how to stabilize your posture and gives you tools to correct your body's alignment. The awareness and strength you develop in yoga can influence your posture and bearing in daily life-whether playing sports, sitting at your desk, or driving in traffic-and help prevent future injury.

If you've recently thrown out your back, try restorative poses to help soothe muscle spasms. While recovering from your injury, use props like blocks, blankets, or straps to help you ease into different postures with less strain on the muscles. Once the pain and swelling decrease, you can introduce more active, targeted movements to work the muscles and tissues surrounding the injury and bring back more elasticity.

Start with standing poses like Triangle Pose (Uttihita Trikonasana, shown at right) and Warrior I (Utthita Parsvakonasana). They use the strength of your legs and the openness of your hips to unlock the lower spine so you can evenly extend your torso and strengthen and stretch your entire back. They also train the strongest muscles in your lower body to bear more weight and stabilize your back's movements. You can use a wall or props in various ways to help maintain balance and alignment, provide leverage, and/or lessen the force of gravity.