Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.

Yoga for back pain relief: A herniated disk



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Having a herniated disk is excruciating for some who suffer from it. I have had many students approach me with this problem. When dealing with a sensitive back, the best method is to approach it slowly, carefully, and gently. Do not go to a power yoga class expecting to heal. That being said a gentle stretch on the lower back can actually relieve the back pain.  I had a student in the fall, who was suffering from pain for years, finally opt out and get the surgery and the pain was gone instantly. That was only his experience. Every body is different so we approach these things tenderly. Recently, another friend approached me on this matter and on short notice, thought I would post this for her. Keep in mind it is always the best idea to practice with an experienced teacher.

Roger Cole a certified Iyengar teacher simplifies and gives clear instructions here:

Here is some general advice for protecting your back after disk injury:

  • While your back pain persists, do not bend forward past 90 degrees with straight knees.
  • Avoid all seated forward bends.
  • Avoid rounding your back.
  • If a pose causes any pain, tingling, or numbness, stop immediately.

Bear these cautions in mind as you practice this list of asanas that many people with disk problems find helpful. They may be practiced in the order presented, but it is not essential. You can start out with just one or two postures, then gradually add more over several days or weeks. You can consult B.K.S. Iyengar’s book Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health (London: Dorling Kindersley, 2001) for photos and detailed descriptions of many of the poses.

These postures are simply to be used as a guideline. To correctly modify the poses for disk problems, be sure to follow the detailed instructions described in this article.

  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)—legs elevated, knees bent, calves supported on chair seat
  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Marichyasana III (Marichi’s Pose)—stand sideways at wall with foot nearest wall supported on stool or chair seat; twist gently toward wall
  • Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)—seated in a chair
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)—stand with back against ledge or counter top, press hands down on ledge for support
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)—take bottom hand to block for support
  • Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)—stand with back against ledge or counter top, slide bottom hand along ledge to support and lengthen spine, use top hand on ledge behind top hip to improve alignment
  • Ardha Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Half Upward-Facing Dog Pose)—with hands on back of chair, not on floor or seat of chair
  • Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)—with belt around foot, with bent knees at first
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)—with trunk supported on a bolster or three long folded blankets
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)—legs elevated, knees bent, calves supported on chair seat.

A You Tube video with a simple series to help relieve pain:


Lots of love,



Author: taozirae

Theresa, known as Taozi 桃子(Peach)to her Chinese students, has been teaching yoga since 2008. She has studied many types of yoga with world renowned teachers from all over the planet. China, the United States, Australia, and India. With over 1000 hours of YTT experience she is thrilled to have the opportunity to share the sweetness of her eclectic practice with others. Her life philosophy is that “The seeds we water are the seeds that grow “…wherever we decide to put our energy, our thoughts, and our actions are the areas of our lives that will grow. Life is about learning to water the right seeds!

4 thoughts on “Yoga for back pain relief: A herniated disk

  1. I usually have lower back pain, it goes away when I practice yoga regularly… I approach all the poses with caution and slow movements, always thinking: be gentle, be gentle….

    • 😉 Being gentle is the key. What exactly is your problem if I may ask? And what postures allow the most relief? Everyone is different. You don’t have to share but your experience may help someone else! Namaste

      • I have lower back pain, sometimes with muscle spasm so strong that I can’t walk straight, and I have to take pain killers and muscle relaxant pills… well that has not happened in over a year and a half…
        the poses I like to do are: I always start with kundalini spine warm ups, cat-cow, cobra, child’s pose, seated spinal twist, eagle spinal twist

  2. These are great tips. Many people do not realise that there are so many different kinds of yoga – the most important thing to do is to make sure that you tell your yoga teacher if you have back pain at the start of the class and to keep looking until you find the right class for you – whatever your age and personal aches and pains.

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