Which Yoga Should Not Be Done in Back Pain?

Which Yoga Should Not Be Done in Back Pain?

Understanding Back Pain and Yoga

Image Suggestion: Diagram of the spine with highlighted areas that are prone to back pain. Alt Text: “Diagram of the spine highlighting common areas prone to back pain.”

Back pain can be caused by various factors such as poor posture, muscle strain, and underlying medical conditions. While yoga can be beneficial for managing pain and improving mobility, certain poses can exacerbate back pain if not performed correctly. Identifying and avoiding these poses is crucial for a safe and effective yoga practice.

Yoga Poses to Avoid with Back Pain

1. Full Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

Description: This pose involves a deep backbend that requires significant flexibility and strength. Why to Avoid: Full Wheel Pose puts considerable pressure on the lower back and can strain the spine if not performed correctly. It can aggravate existing back pain, particularly in individuals with lower back issues.

2. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Description: This pose involves bending forward from a seated position to touch your toes. Why to Avoid: Forward bends can overstretch the lower back muscles, especially if the hamstrings are tight. This can lead to further strain and discomfort in the lower back. Expert Opinion: The Orthopaedic and Spine Center of Newport News warns that rounding the back in forward bends can increase pain and should be avoided by those with back issues​ (OSCNN)​.

3. Twisting Poses (e.g., Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Description: Twisting poses involve rotating the spine while maintaining stability in the lower body. Why to Avoid: Twisting poses can lead to over-rotation of the spine, particularly in the lower back, causing strain and discomfort. Expert Opinion: Experts from Well+Good suggest that twisting poses can be problematic for those with lower back pain due to the potential for over-twisting and misalignment​ (Well+Good)​.

4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Description: Camel Pose is a backbend that stretches the front of the body while bending the spine backward. Why to Avoid: Similar to Full Wheel Pose, Camel Pose places significant stress on the lower back and can lead to hyperextension of the spine. Expert Opinion: Healthline emphasizes that backbends like Camel Pose should be approached with caution, especially for individuals with back pain.

5. Boat Pose (Navasana)

Description: Boat Pose involves balancing on the sit bones with legs lifted and the body forming a V-shape. Why to Avoid: This pose requires strong core engagement and can put pressure on the lower back if the core muscles are not adequately supporting the spine. Expert Opinion: According to Yoga Journal, Boat Pose can strain the lower back if the core is not strong enough to maintain proper alignment.

Tips for Practicing Yoga Safely with Back Pain

  1. Focus on Form: Proper alignment is crucial in all yoga poses to prevent strain and injury. Use props such as blocks and straps to support your practice.
  2. Avoid Overstretching: Listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone. Gradual progress is safer and more effective.
  3. Consult Professionals: Work with a certified yoga instructor who can provide modifications and ensure that you are practicing safely.
  4. Breath Control: Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help manage pain and stress, promoting a more effective yoga practice.


While yoga can be beneficial for managing back pain, it is essential to avoid poses that can exacerbate the condition. By focusing on safe practices, proper form, and consulting with professionals, individuals with back pain can enjoy the benefits of yoga without risking further injury.

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