While visiting family for Thanksgiving, there happened to be a tree lighting ceremony that I knew my son (three years old) would love.  He has been obsessed with lights since he was 9 months old.  It was crowded and in order for him to see, he had to be on either my husband’s or my shoulders.

As you can imagine, that wasn’t great for my back. I have always had some mild low back pain but since having my son, I go through times when I don’t notice and others where I can’t hardly move.  The back pain started the day after the light show.   After my recent car travels, my low back got worse with all the sitting.  I even developed some hip pain.  Ugh!

Light running and yoga seem to be the only thing I can do to stay out of or lessen the pain.  Which in my case is a good thing.  I love running and doing yoga!

Of course I have to be really careful during both activities to make sure I don’t move to quickly or strain my back and hips.  Each day I’ve been listening to my body and deciding how much is a good amount rather than following my usual plan of running faster or longer and doing more intense yoga.  It seems to be helping a bit.

Yin Yoga for Sore Back and Hip Muscles

I love doing Yin yoga when my body hurts because it gets into the deeper tissues.  Although it doesn’t feel great at first, after a good yin session, some, if not all of the tension is released.

This yin yoga video and sequence is great for spinal and hip tension or pain.  Yin is great because you take each pose to your edge.  Meaning you find that point where you first feel the stretch and stay there.  It can deepen over the course of the hold or not.  It’s all up to you.

Sure how far you take any yoga pose is up to you but with yin you can really feel it.  In a flow yoga class sometimes the movement is quicker so there’s not as much time to feel the stretch.  Yin is the opposite.  You get into the pose, you hold it, feel it and observe the body.  It’s so juicy!!

Give this video or written sequence below a try and watch the tension melt away.

Yin Yoga Poses for Tight Hips and Back


Butterfly (Baddha Konasana): From a seated position, bring the soles of the feet together.  Drop the knees out to the sides.  Place your hands by your hips or hold your ankles while extending out through the crown of your head.  Relax the muscles of the legs and soften around the shoulders and chest.  Stay here or gently bring the torso forward until you come to your edge (the point where you feel the stretch but there’s no pain or burning).  Hold for 2-5 minutes.

yin yoga for sore back

Caterpillar Variation (Paschimottanasana): Bring the legs out in front resting the back of the legs on the earth, with hands next to your hips.  Relax the muscles through the legs, feet are neither flexed or pointed.  If you feel pulling on the low back, bend the knees a bit.  You can also place a rolled up towel, blanket or blocks under the knees for support.  Bring your chin toward your chest.  Stay here or slide the hands along the outside of the legs.  Come to your edge. Hold 3-5 minutes.

yin yoga, heart and lung meridians

Child’s Pose (Balasana): Come to hands and knees.  Bring the big toes to touch and walk the knees out wide.  Exhale pressing your hips back toward your heels, allowing your belly to rest in between or toward the inner thighs.  Rest your forehead on the mat or a block.  Breathe.  Hold for as long as you like!

yin for tight back muscles

Sphinx Pose (Salami Bhujangasana): Bring your belly to the floor, resting the front of the legs on the mat.  Feet can be hip distance with the tops of the feet resting on the earth.  Bend your elbows and bring them under the shoulders, pressing your forearms and palms into the earth.  Stay here or lift your gaze forward, keeping your neck in line with your spine.  Hold for 1-2 minutes.

yin yoga for tight back and hips

Supported Saddle (Supta Virasana): Place a bolster or pillow parallel to the long side of the mat, toward the back of the mat. Come into table top with your feet on either side of the bolster. (or pillow)  Press your hips back toward your heels, resting either in between the heels or on top of the heels.  Walk your hands back toward the bolster and gently lower your back onto the bolster (or pillow).  Try to release the torso onto the bolster (pillow) and relax through the whole body.  Stay for 1-3 minutes.

supported bridge yoga for autumn

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Come onto your back with knees bend and the soles of your feet on the mat.  Gently press into your feet to lift your hips up.  Place a block or book under the hips.  Release the hips down onto the block and allow them to feel heavy.  Rest your hands by your sides or on your belly.  Hold for 2-5 minutes.

yin yoga

Twisted Roots:  From laying on your back after supported bridge (remove the block!), cross your right leg over your left leg.  Drop your arms out to the sides in a “T” or cactus the arms (elbows bent at 90 degrees).  Exhale, releasing the knees to the left.  Gazing upward or out to the right.  Hold 1-2 minutes and switch sides.

yin yoga for sore back

Legs Up the Wall: Bring your hips toward a wall, gently lower yourself onto your back, walking your legs up the wall.  The soles of your feet will be parallel to the sky.  Release any pressure or tension in the legs.  Arms can be out to the sides or resting on your belly.  Feel your back body heavy on the earth.  Rest as long as you like. **Alternatively if Legs Up the Wall does not agree with you, stop at Twisted Roots or take traditional Savasana.**



Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction.  If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.

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