Yoga Poses to Alleviate Low Back Pain from Lordosis or Swayback

Numerous adults suffer from low back pain and related bad posture. Yoga exercises can alleviate back pain in many situations. One of the conditions that can be improved by yoga practice is Lordosis, or “swayback,” which is the excessive curvature of the spine. It typically occurs in the low back (lumbar area of the spine) and can be caused by tight hip muscles, weak abs and hamstrings, and bad posture habits. Lordosis causes the pelvis to tilt forward, the abs to stick out, and the lower vertebrae to compress. This can lead to pain.

Yoga poses that relax, stretch, and lengthen the hip flexors and/or strengthen and tighten the hamstrings and abs can help realign the pelvis and spine, thus improving posture and alleviating pain. Helpful exercises include:

  1. Anjanayasana (Low Lunge) – Stretches and lengthens the psoas and other hip muscles, making it easier to take a normal posture.
  2. Bujangasana (Cobra)– Stretches the hip flexors making it easier to stand tall.
  3. Dolphin Plank Pose – Strengthens the abs. Be sure to take extra time to stretch the hip flexors after this one as it engages those muscles too.

Hold each pose for 1 – 5 minutes, breath deeply, and imagine the air swirling into the area you want to stretch or strengthen. Do this daily and over time you will notice these yoga poses relieving low back pain and improving posture.

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Twists

Twists are detoxifying. They increase blood supply to and around the spine and abdomen muscles. Some twists stretch the pelvic area, increasing blood flow and health there. Some help relieve calcium deposits in the shoulder and increase flexibility there. The spine is rejuvenated and made more flexible. Back pain and arthritis in that area is helped. Many twists also help reduce hip pain. Many trim the abs.

Twists remove waste matter from the colon in a mild way. The colon is exercised. Constipation is relieved. Waste matter and toxins are removed, helping the body stay healthy and relieving related diseases. Removing these toxins also helps the mind stay sharp. Intestines are strengthened. Digestion improves. Gastritis is cured. The abdominal organs are massaged, including the bladder and prostate, keeping them healthy and strong. Twists can stimulate the liver, spleen, and pancreas – this is particularly helpful for people with diabetes.

Examples of twists include:

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana/Half Lord of the Fishes
  • Jathara Parivartanasana/Revolved Stomach Pose
  • Parsva Bakasana/Side Crane

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Inversions

Inversions can be heated and cooling, as well as calming. They stimulate blood flow to the brain and trunk. They warm the body, improve brain and body health, soothe the nerves, release toxins, and increase the energy. Memory is improved. Thinking ability and clarity increase. Inversions are believed to increase youthfulness and keep aging at bay.

Inversions can heal a wide variety of ailments. Blood flow is increased to the endocrine glands, encouraging them to absorb more nutrients and secrete hormones to keep things more balanced. Blood flow is also increased to the pineal and pituitary which improves growth, health and vitality. Some inversions increase blood flow around neck and chest which can help with lung and throat ailments. Lungs are made more resistant to infection. Colds and sinus problems are helped to heal. Headaches are soothed and fatigue is reduced. Sleeplessness and insomnia are overcome. The hemoglobin blood count is improved and anemia is helped. Inversions encourage the bowels to move, relieving constipation. Some inversions help with piles, epilepsy, and hernia. Finally, inversions develop and discipline the mind, body, and spirit creating harmony and happiness.

Examples of inversions include:

  • Salamba Sarvangasana/Supported Shoulder Stand
  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana/Hand Stand
  • Salamba Sirsasana /Supported Head Stand
  • Pincha Mayurasana/Forearm Balance

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Back Bends

Back bends are energizing and open the heart/emotions. They stimulate the chakras – heart chakra in particular. They help the lungs and breathing because of the expanded chest space. They stretch and strengthen the spine and abdomen muscles. Some also stretch the pelvic region, increasing blood flow and health to the gonads and entire pelvic region. Some stretch the neck, which helps the thyroid. Blood flow is increased to the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenals. Blood circulation in the spine is increased. The spine becomes more elastic. Back pain and spinal injuries such as lumbago, sciatica, and slipped or prolapsed discs can be relieved and healed.* A healthy spine helps create a healthy nervous system. Healthy nerves lead to a sound mind and body.

Examples of backbends include:

  • Bujangasana/Cobra
  • Shalabasana/Locust
  • Setu Bandha/Bridge
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana/Chakrasana/Wheel
  • Ustrasana/Camel


Described below is a gentle, restorative back bend exercise to do after a stressful day at work, if you are feeling worn down, if your heart is achy and in need of nurturing, and/or if you have just been going, going, going all day and need a pick me up.

Find a bolster or fold up some blankets to make a prop that is about 5 – 8″ high, about 10″ wide and about 30″ long. Postion your legs in any comfortable way, either straight out and maybe with a pillow under the knees, or with feet together, knees bent, and a pillow under each thigh. Move the prop about a hands width away from your tail bone. Lay back resting your middle and upper back and head on the prop. If you want a more intensive back bend turn the prop sideways and lie back so your rear, shoulder, and head rest on the floor while your middle back is arched and supported on the prop.

Place arms out to the sides with palms face up. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths.

Start to pretend you are breathing the breath into your chest area, circulating it around in there, and breathing it out through the chest area. If any emotions come up, just notice and breath into them with loving kindness. After 5 – 20 minutes roll to the right off your props, gently press up to a seated position, softly blink open your eyes. Notice how you feel now, compared to when you started.


*By the way, here and throughout the site, when I mention healing benefits of yoga I am sharing the beliefs of this tradition, unless otherwise stated. I am not a doctor. Be sure to see a doctor where appropriate for any physical or psychological conditions. You can ask your doctor about yoga, breathing, meditation, etc. and get his or her approval on anything you are adding to your treatment. As a free human being, we all have the right to investigate and follow our own paths, and that includes sharing ancient traditions and ancient healing practises.

General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Forward Folds

Forward folds create feelings of calmness and coolness. They increase concentration, making them a great vehicle for pratyahara (the Yogic principle of withdrawal of the senses). The heartbeat is slowed and the blood flows from the trunk to the head. They soothe the brain cells. They remove depression and calm people who get overly excited. They help cool down after a heated sequence. Some of the poses help prepare practitioners to do Sirsasana/Corpse Pose.

Abdominal muscles, stomach muscles, liver, spleen, and kidneys are worked and toned. Liver and spleen are activated. Digestive juices increase, improving digestion. Forward folds relieve gastric problems and bloating in the abdomen. They cure stomach pain and reduce menstrual pain. They heal the spine and spinal nerves. Slipped discs are helped in some positions. Some of the poses help relieve enlarged prostate glands. Some of the poses help heal people suffering from chronic low fever. These things help make abdominal organs healthy leading to longevity, happiness, and peace of mind.

Examples of forward folds include:

  • Uttanasana/Standing Forward Fold
  • Paschimottansana/Seated Forward Fold
  • Prasarita Padottanasana/Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold
  • Upavistaha Konasana/Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold
  • Baddha Konasana/Cobbler or Bound Angle Pose


Standing or seated tall close your eyes and take a moment to do an inventory of how you are feeling right now – mentally, physically, emotionally. Then place yourself in one of the forward folds. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Stay there for 3 to 10 minutes. Then slowly blink open your eyes and come back to your original stance. Now notice again how you feel. What differences do you observe? You might want to write your experience in a journal or even post them here.


General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Standing Postures

Standing postures are good for grounding. They help you find steadiness in poses and in life.

Standing poses improve posture and the way a person carries him or herself. They help increase feelings of lightness, agility, power, and harmony. They help prevent fatigue and create feelings of vigor. Even the mind is made more agile and sharp. The good posture affects the mood and energy in a positive way. The expanded chest encourages better breathing habits. The balancing standing poses help create a sense of poise and balance.

Standing poses also tone and often strengthen the leg, feet, and ankle muscles. Many of them help tone the spine and nerves. These poses can help prevent deformities and keep the spinal elasticity. In the poses where the arms are raised overhead it helps relieve stiffness in the arms, shoulders, neck, and upper back. They also reduce body weight.

Finally, standing poses make it easier to do advanced forward bending poses and help beginners progress to more challenging poses.

Examples of standing poses include:

  • Tadasana/Mountain Pose
  • ViraBhadrasana I/Warrior I
  • ViraBhadrasana II/Warrior II
  • ViraBhadrasana II Variation/Reverse Warrior
  • Vrksasana/Tree Pose


Standing up, bring your feet together or slightly apart to come into tadasana. Feel the weight on all four corners of your feet. Press into those corners to lift your feet arches and your entire body. Tighten and lift the kneecaps and thighs. Allow the pelvis to lengthen down toward the floor. Draw the abdomen and all four corners of the ribcage up. Roll the shoulder up, around, and then down the back. Lengthen the neck and crown of the head up toward the sky while keeping the chin level. Roll the arms and palms open, fingers spread wide, toward the front of the room. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. And then start to breath more deeply. Hold the posture and take several breaths.

Keeping the eyes closed, visualize, imagine, or pretend red roots growing out of your feet and out of your tail bone going down through the floor, through all of the layers, and deep into the earth. Keep imagining it going deeper and deeper until you see it enter the core of the earth, really rooting down and giving you strength. Notice how that steadiness feels. Ideallly, you might feel some tingling and unusual sensations.

Next, visualize, imagine, or pretend a healing white or blue light coming down from the sky, filling you with lightness. Take some breaths just soaking this in.

Finally, imagine the two energies still flowing into you and merging inside your body. You are very steady and grounded (sthira), but also light and relaxed (sukha). Savor and observe for a few more breaths and then when you are ready softly blink open the eyes and go about your practise or daily activity. Try to recall this sense of groundedness each time you are in a standing posture.



General Benefits of the Yoga Asanas – Sun and Moon Salutations

Salutations are great for warming up, creating tapas (heat and burning away things you want to release), and as a moving meditation to intensify your practise intention. 

Used at the beginning of a practise they help prepare and warm the body. Muscles and ligaments are softened by the heat. Joints are lubricated by the movement. By starting softly and gradually building in intensity you get the body ready for more intensive poses.

Salutations also help release things. The movement, heat, and exertion release toxins (not just physically, but also emotional, mental, and spiritual, – all energy layers). If you are feeling stressed out the exertion of the movements can help burn away and work through the challenging feelings and thoughts.

Finally, salutations help quiet the mind when done with intention. The repetitive motions become a mantra or mandala. They help draw in the senses (pratyahara) so you can more easily focus and block outside distractions.


There are numerous variations of sun and moon salutations. Here is a variation of Sun Salutation A you can try now focusing on one or more of the benefits listed above.

  1. Tadasana/Mountain Pose/Standing Steady – Stand as tall and steady as possible with your feet together or slightly apart. Arms can be down by your side.
  2. Urdhva Hastasana/Standing with Arms Overhead -Staying tall, inhale and reach your arms overheard.
  3. Uttanasa/Forward Fold – Exhale, fold all the way forward and rest hands on floor or legs.
  4. Ardha Uttanasana/Half Forward Fold – Inhale halfway up with a flat back and rolling up the hands so only the fingertips touch the floor or legs.
  5. Plank OR Chaturanga – Exhale back down. Bend your knees. Touch the floor and step back into EITHER a plank on your toes or knees OR a bent armed plank variation called Chaturanga.
  6. Hold for an inhale. Exhale lower to the floor.
  7. Bhujangasana/Cobra – Inhale, lengthen the spine and try to pull your chest through your arms. Press the tops of your feet and toes into the floor and gently come up partway into a small back-bend.
  8. Adho Mukha Svanasana/Down Dog – Exhale, press knees into floor and push your hips up toward the sky to come up into an upside down V-shape. If this is not comfortable for you, just come onto hands and knees.
  9. Hold for 5 breaths. Really notice and breath deeply.
  10. Ardha Uttanasana/Half Forward Fold – Inhale, roll up to the tippy toes and press the rear up toward the sky. Exhale, bend the knees, look in between the hands and step or jump forward into Ardha Uttanasana as done earlier.
  11. Uttanasana/Forward Fold – Exhale back down into a forward fold.
  12. Urdhva Hastasana/Standing with Arms Overhead – Inhale, look forward, spread the arms out to the sides, and come up to standing with a flat back.
  13. Tadasana/Mountain Pose/Standing Steady – Exhale, lower the arms back down to your original standing pose. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and notice how you feel.