By the time 6 p.m. rolls around in an office full of desk dwellers, there will likely be a sea of people slumped over their keyboards. The result? Lower back pain, which is truly the worst. But relief isn't hard to come by since the source is typically related to lifestyle habits (like the aforementioned display of poor posture) you can improve or eliminate. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular yoga practice can ease lower back pain. To find out which positions are most effective, we turned to Yoga.com's list of spine-healthy stretches.
If you want to get in the habit of doing simple yet useful positions on a regular basis, try cat-cow. As Yoga.com explains, this move "stretches your spine both ways and gets it warmed up." As a result, starting your morning and ending your evenings with cat-cow will help with soreness. So how do you do it? Start by sitting in a tabletop position and practice your deep breathing as you drop your stomach and lift your head, and then pull your stomach up as you drop your head like the demonstration below.
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
Then if your back pain flares up in the middle of the day, you can do a basic standing yoga stretch without having to stray from your desk. Begin with your feet hip distance apart then bend your knees a bit as you hang over them and grab the backs of your ankles. Not only will this help with your lower back pain, but it'll also elongate your hamstrings. And don't forget to take deep breaths to relax and de-stress as you go.
Start practicing these moves with a yoga mat for support, and then let us know how it goes in the comments below.