Yoga for Pain Relief - Aura Wellness Center

Yoga for Pain Relief

lower back painBy Marie Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP  and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Are you considering yoga for pain relief? Yoga may be the answer if you’re looking for relief from pain and discomfort. Yoga can help reduce pain caused by a variety of conditions, including lower back pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and more. Let’s discuss how yoga can help with pain relief. We’ll also explore some types of yoga that may benefit those suffering from chronic pain and other conditions. Last, we’ll discuss tips for making your yoga practice as safe and effective as possible.


Can Yoga Be Effective for Pain Management?

Yes, yoga can be effective for pain management. There are a few different ways that yoga can help to ease the pain. First, yoga can help to release tension from the body. When the body is tense, it is more likely to feel pain. Yoga helps to relax the muscles and clear the mind, which can lead to less pain. Second, yoga can help to increase circulation. When the body does not get enough blood flow, it is more likely to feel pain. Yoga helps to increase circulation by improving flexibility and range of motion. Third, yoga can help to improve posture. Poor posture can lead to muscle strain and pain. Yoga helps to improve posture by lengthening and strengthening the muscles. fourth, yoga can help to reduce stress levels. Stress can trigger or worsen the pain. Yoga helps to reduce stress by promoting relaxation and peace of mind.

Common Forms of Physical Pain

There are many different forms of physical pain that people experience daily. Some of the most common forms of pain include headaches, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and muscle pain. While many different medications can help to alleviate these types of pains, some people prefer to use natural methods such as yoga to help relieve their discomfort. Yoga can be practiced as a form of exercise that focuses on stretching and breathing exercises. Many different yoga poses can help to stretch and massage the muscles and joints, which can help to reduce pain in these areas. In addition, the deep breathing associated with yoga can help to relax the mind and body, which can also help to reduce pain levels.


Yoga for Pain Relief Today

Yoga has become a popular exercise and pain relief in recent years. There are many different types of yoga, each offering its own benefits. Yoga can be done in a group setting or individually. Yoga can be an effective way to relieve chronic pain. It can help to improve flexibility and range of motion, increase strength and endurance, and reduce stress. Yoga can also help to improve overall health and well-being. Many types of yoga classes are available, so it is essential to find one that is right for you. If you have never done yoga before, starting with a beginner’s class is recommended. Once you are comfortable with the basic poses, you can move on to more advanced classes. If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to your doctor about whether yoga might be right for you.

Yoga Classes Designed for Specific Types of Pain

If you’re looking at yoga for pain relief, there’s a class for you. From back pain to arthritis, there’s a style of yoga that can help ease your discomfort. Yoga classes designed specifically for pain relief focus on postures that can help alleviate the source of your pain. For example, if you suffer from lower back pain, a gentle hatha yoga class with lots of supported poses may be right for you. If you have arthritis, a yin or restorative yoga class could be helpful in improving your range of motion and easing joint pain. Of course, checking with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program is always best. If you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, give one of these specialized yoga classes a try.


Understanding Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a common problem, affecting millions of people worldwide. It’s defined as pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. A variety of conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and migraines can cause chronic pain. The good news is that yoga can help alleviate chronic pain. One study found that eight weeks of yoga significantly improved function and reduced symptoms in people with chronic lower back pain. Another study found that Iyengar yoga (a type of hatha yoga that emphasizes precise alignment of the body) effectively reduced chronic low back pain and improved quality of life.

Coping with Chronic Pain

Suppose you’re interested in trying yoga for chronic pain relief. In that case, it’s important to find a class taught by a qualified instructor who is familiar with your condition and can modify poses as needed. Chronic pain can be challenging. Finding ways to cope with pain that doesn’t involve medication can be challenging. Yoga is a great way to help relieve chronic pain. Many yoga poses can help stretch and strengthen the muscles causing the pain. Yoga can also help improve your flexibility, making it easier to move and function with chronic pain.

Yoga for Coping with Pain

Chronic pain can feel like an endless cycle of suffering and exhaustion. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Believe it or not, yoga has the potential to offer some relief for your chronic pain. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can help you reduce stress and tension in the body, allowing you to relax more deeply and reap the benefits of its calming effects. In this section, we will discuss how yoga can be used to manage chronic pain and provide tips on how to make your practice as effective as possible. Yoga can help ease your daily struggles with painful conditions.

Understanding Pain

Pain is a complex and multifaceted sensation that is subjective to each individual. It can be sharp or dull, constant or intermittent, and it can vary in intensity. Pain is a highly unpleasant experience that can negatively impact one’s quality of life.

There are many different types of pain, and the causes of pain can vary significantly. However, pain is generally categorized as either nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is caused by inflammation or tissue damage. On the other hand, neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system.

Yoga can be an effective tool for managing pain. Yoga breathwork, postures, and meditation can help to reduce stress and tension in the body, which can, in turn, help to reduce pain. In addition, yoga can help increase flexibility and range of motion, which may help reduce pain severity.


Breathing Through Pain

The first step in managing any chronic pain condition is understanding the role that breath plays in pain. When we are in pain, we naturally tend to hold our breath or take shallow breaths. This only serves to tense up our muscles and make the pain worse. Learning to breathe through the pain is integral to managing chronic pain.

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as abdominal or belly breathing, is a great way to help relieve pain. This type of breathing allows the diaphragm to move freely and fully expand the lungs, which can help to release tension and ease discomfort. To practice diaphragmatic breathing, place one hand on your stomach below your navel. As you inhale through your nose, allow your stomach to expand outward into your hand. You should feel your hand rise as you fill your lungs with air. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, allowing your stomach to fall back toward your spine. Repeat this process for 10-15 minutes each day.


Holding Yoga Poses for Pain Relief

The benefits of yoga have been widely documented, and its ability to provide relief from pain is one of the most significant. Yoga poses can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles, which can then help to support the spine and other joints. Additionally, the deep breathing that is a part of yoga can help to relax the body and mind, which can also help to reduce pain.

Yoga Poses to Reduce Pain

Yoga has been shown to be an effective form of pain relief for many different types of pain. Here are some specific yoga postures that can help reduce pain:

1. Cat-Cow Pose: This pose helps stretch and release the spine, which can help relieve back pain.

2. Downward Facing Dog Pose: This pose stretches the entire body and can help relieve neck, shoulder, and back pain.

3. Cobra Pose: This pose helps to open up the chest and lungs, which can help relieve respiratory problems and chest pain.

4. Triangle Pose: This pose stretches the hips, thighs, and groin, which can help relieve hip and knee pain.

5. Seated Forward Bend Pose: This pose stretches the hamstrings and lower back, which can help relieve back pain.


Meditation for Pain Relief

Meditation can be an effective tool for managing pain. To get started, find a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Try to let go of any other thoughts and focus on the present moment. Breathe in slowly and deeply, and then exhale slowly. You may want to repeat this process for several minutes.

There are many different types of meditation, so you may want to experiment to find what works best for you. If you’re struggling to focus on your breath, you can try focusing on a mantra or a certain word or phrase that you repeat to yourself. You may also want to try guided meditation, which involves following along with a recorded voice or music.

Yoga Nidra to Reduce Pain

When it comes to pain relief, yoga nidra is a powerful tool. This ancient practice can help to ease both chronic and acute pain. In fact, research has shown that yoga nidra can be more effective than medication for some types of pain. Yoga nidra works by relaxing the body and mind. This allows the body to release tension and pain. The practice can also help to improve sleep quality, which can further reduce pain levels.

If you’re interested in trying yoga nidra for pain relief, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to find a comfortable position. You may want to lie down or sit in a chair with your back supported. Second, you’ll need to focus on your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly throughout the practice. Finally, let go of any thoughts or worries that arise. Simply observe them without judgment and allow them to pass through your mind.


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About Yoga and Lower Back Pain

By Kimaya Singh

What to do about lower back pain? Should you call your doctor? If your pain is chronic, you should contact your doctor first. Your doctor may recommend gentle Yoga classes for you. Can your local yoga instructor help you with solutions for backaches?  Back pain causes many people to suffer greatly, day after day. Although there are many causes of lower back aches, the result is often the same: pain, tenderness and irritability. When your back is sore, the pain often can’t be ignored. Many people spend thousands of dollars annually on painkillers to ease their aches and pains. Yoga for pain relief is much cheaper way to reduce the discomfort. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, try yoga to strengthen and lengthen all of the body’s muscles. The results may surprise you.


A Holistic Approach

A complete yoga practice involves breathing deeply, stretching all of the body’s muscles and relaxing the mind. When you suffer from chronic pain, it’s easy to let the pain take over. Yoga helps you release the pain from your mind as well as your body. Try sitting in a comfortable position and taking several deep breaths through the nose. Draw the air into your abdomen and allow it to fill your entire chest cavity as well. Breathe the air out while thinking positive thoughts, such as, “I have a strong, healthy back,” or, “My breath will ease my pain.” For maximum benefits, incorporate the breathing and mantras with a series of asanas. Below are postures to reduce discomfort in your lower back.


Downward Dog

This simple yoga pose will stretch all of the muscles in the back of the legs, allowing the lower back muscles to relax and release. Begin on all fours, placing your hands below the shoulders and then moving them forward several inches. Come up off of your knees, pushing your bottom up and back with the arms. Rest in this position with your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. You can raise your heels up if there is discomfort in the legs. Push your hands into the yoga mat to provide stability. Hold for several deep breaths.


Modified Downward Dog with a Chair

It’s important to understand all Yoga teachers are not equal. Some have more experience and knowledge than others. Some teachers know how, when, and why to use props. Not every student will be able to practice Downward Dog with a mat. Using a chair or wall is another solution. Some students may only be able to reach the top of the chair or straight out to a wall. With a chair, you can use the back or front to reach out at different angles.


The Modified Downward Dog with a Chair has so many options that chairs should be in every studio. This method decompresses the spine, helps students with muscle aches in the back, and relieves some discomfort for students suffering with frozen shoulder. Is it a cure? No, I can’t promise any cures, but I can say it relieves pain with steady and gentle practice, it feels great, there should be no force.


Modified or Baby Cobra

All forms of Cobra Pose are backbends. That said, a standing or seated backbend is a litmus test for pain. So, you could sit in a chair and try a mild backbend with no force, while keeping it gentle. In other words, backbends might help or they might just cause more pain. This is why we’re starting with a mild form of Cobra Pose first.  You can adjust your spine to any upward angle you like.  You could also practice modified Cobra, while standing and place your hands on all wall. It’s not a contest, but it is a mild introduction to gentle Cobra variations.



Cobra pose might help relieve lower back pain by improving posture, while opening the chest and abdomen. Lie flat on your stomach, placing your hands palm down next to your armpits. Tuck your elbows in so they point behind you. Keep the legs together, pressing the thighs and tops of the feet into the floor. Using your back muscles, slowly push up with your arms as gentle leverage, raising the chest off the floor. Keep the hips planted on the mat. Keep the shoulders down and elbows slightly bent. Lift and open the chest while gently pointing your chin upward. Bring your elbows down to a lower angle if this pose causes you any pain. Don’t forget to breathe.


Notes for Yoga Instructors and Students

There are many other asanas to choose from and the above-mentioned postures may not help everyone.  Among the postures, you would learn at Aura Wellness Center are Triangle, Revolved Triangle, Half Downward Dog, Half Chair Pose, and Half Moon.  If you are a Yoga instructor, you need to modify these asanas for some of your students.  The reason being: Students who come into your classes for therapeutic needs are less likely to be flexible.  If you are a student, you need to find a competent yoga teacher who has the compassion and knowledge to make modifications and physical adjustments.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.

Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain


Related Studies

Hayden JA, van Tulder MW, Malmivaara A, Koes BW. Exercise therapy for treatment of nonspecific low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000; CD000335.

Saper RB, Eiseberg DM, Davis RB, Culpepper L, Phillips RS. Prevalence and patterns of adult yoga use in the United States: results of a national survey. Altern Ther Health Med 2004;10:44– 9.

Williams K, Steinberg L, Petronis J. Therapeutic application of Iyengar yoga for healing chronic low back pain. Int J Yoga Ther 2003;13:55–67.

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA. Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2005;143:849–56.

Williams KA, Petronis J, Smith D, Goodrich D, Wu J, Ravi N et al. Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain. Pain 2005;115:107–17.

Related Research

Donzelli S, Di Domenica F, Cova AM, Galletti R, Guinta N. Two different techniques in the rehabilitation treatment of low back pain: a randomized contolled trial. Eura Medicophys 2006;42:205–10.

Rydeard R, Leger A, Smith D. Pilates-based therapeutic exercise: effect on subjects with nonspecific chronic low back pain and functional disabililty: a randomized controlled trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2006;36:472–84.

O’Sullivan PB, Phyty GD, Twomey LT, Allison GT. Evaluation of specific stabilizing exercise in the treatment of chronic low back pain with radiologic diagnosis of spondylolysis or spond- ylolisthesis. Spine 1997;22:2959–67.

Akuthota V, Nadler SF. Core strengthening—review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:S86–92.

9 thoughts on “Yoga for Pain Relief”

  1. Science confirms that yoga is really helpful for chronic back pain. There are 11 good quality studies demonstrating that yoga does help reduce pain, suffering and improve peoples quality of life.

    Here are some great yoga tips for people with back pain, especially I like the mantras.

    This is important because back pain is a mind and body problem, it is not just physical. This is also proven by modern neuroscience.

  2. Yoga is restorative, healing and an effective way of dealing with chronic pain, physical illness and chronic stress.
    Yoga is the foundation for good health.

  3. I came to yoga due to chronic low back pain caused by scoliosis and poor posture. I now have a healthy spine with little if any back pain. Yoga has done more than any drugs could do. Namaste.

  4. I began suffering from lower back pain in my early twenties, starting around 1982. Over the years, the pain was on and off, but mostly “on” and progressively so. Eventually, I was suffering from chronic lower back pain. I was fit, I taught fitness classes and worked out often, ate the right foods, tried to maintain a positive attitude. But still the pain worsened. At the same time, my personal life was also deteriorating, although I didn’t see it as such.

    Years (almost two decades!) later, around 2001, a friend dragged me to my first yoga class. She saw how much stress I was under at that point in my life, enduring a hopeless and frustrating relationship, while trying my best to raise three boys, work part time, and work towards my PhD. She was concerned for my mental and emotional health and well being because it was pretty obvious to her (and probably every one else but me) that I was at a breaking point. Needless to say, my back was at that point too–but my girlfriend knew nothing about that.

    So I started yoga practice, and I very quickly became addicted to this life. Hatha yoga. Peace. Breath. Connection. Chakra energies. Understanding and releasing energy blockages. I loved it. But while practicing, I suffered what I perceived as worsening back pain. I wasn’t sure if yoga was making my situation worse or if this was the pain one could expect as one slowly worked through the knots and stiffness towards loosened, relaxed, muscles and tendons. I didn’t know but I somehow trusted that this was going to work. It seemed so right!

    Then slowly, over the years, I began to notice that I was no longer in pain. I hadn’t been in pain for a week! Then a month. Then a year! I couldn’t believe it. I was pain free for two years! Three years! It was GONE. Just gone. I was no longer a “back pain sufferer”. I was free of it completely. There was no other explanation because nothing else had changed in my life–except for the fact that my relationship had actually gotten worse! The only variable was the switch and commitment to yoga. And when I say yoga I am not only referring to the asanas and “exercises” we come to equate with yoga practice, but the full “8 limb system” including the breath work, meditation, chanting, the yamas and niyamas, and so on.

    This story is just one small anecdote. But it is one I do tell to others who are suffering from back pain. It is a long and slow road toward healing. But you will break free, I tell them. Like anything — quitting smoking, losing weight, learning to listen or to suspend judgement–this too will take commitment, practice, time and great faith. But it will work. I had to trust that I was doing the right thing. There was something there that told me I was on the right path, even though the pain had to get worse before it got better. Yoga does work. But one has to embrace the whole system of yoga, not just the postures and exercise classes. It is truly a collaboration of mind, body and spirit.

  5. I am an instructor and I have on-going issues with back pain/sciatica, which developed out of other activities. I really like the Cat/Cow pose (or Cat Stretch)because it opens up the hips, stretches the spine and shoulders. I would caution folks with lower back pain regarding cobra pose, however. It can put a lot of strain on the lower back so I offer sphinx as an alternative to Cobra. I have to say that without yoga I probably would’ve had surgery by now. Besides managing my back pain, it has alleviated issues with migraines, knee pain and shoulder pain!

  6. I been suffer of being awakened all night long due to my back pain, then i try some yoga posture like Downward Dog and the Cobra Pose that can relieve my back pain…I feel much better now. Thanks!

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