8 Ideal Yoga Stretches for Your Lower Back

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Child's Pose: Transfer your hips over your heels and drop your forehead to the floor from your hands and knees. (If your knees hurt, put a blanket beneath or double your yoga mat.) Maintain a small V-angle with your knees. Put your arms at your side, palms up.

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Cat Cow Pose: Starting on hands and knees, place wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale, elevate your chin and chest, and look up as you lower your belly to the mat. Exhale, curve your midback to the ceiling, tuck your tailbone, bring your tummy in into your spine, and lower your head.

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Downward Dog: Starting on your hands and knees, keep your knees hip-width apart, toes tucked, and hands shoulder-width apart. Move your hands forward a few inches and spread your fingers. Press your hands into the mat, raise your knees off the floor, and straighten them as you send your tailbone up.

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Ragdoll: Arms at sides, feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward from your hips with a modest knee bend (knees unlocked) and hang your head, neck, and upper body relaxed toward the floor. Hold the opposite elbow with each hand, keep your neck extended, and hang your head. Deepen your knee bend if your hamstrings are tight.

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Modified Side Plank: Place your body in a long line on your left side. Bend your left leg behind you at 90 degrees to your torso, keeping your knees aligned. Lift your upper body with your left elbow beneath your left shoulder and core engaged. Lift your left hip a few inches into a side plank, supporting your body on your left elbow, knee, and right foot.

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Locust: Lay face down with your forehead on the mat, arms at your sides, palms down, and feet on the mat. Take a deep breath, exhale, and engage your core: Lift your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor using just your back muscles. Hold for 3 5 breaths.

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Windshield Wiper Twist: Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent and feet as wide as your mat. Arms at sides. Like slow windshield wipers, move your legs from side to side, allowing them fall to one side, back up to center, then to the other, feeling a gentle twist and stretch in your lower back (and hips and glutes, if stiff).

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Knees to Chest (Knee Hug): Hug your knees to your chest and wrap your arms over your shins while face-up on the floor. Hold your head down and slowly rock from side to side. Keep breathing deeply into your belly and lower back as long as it feels comfortable, preferably until your low back releases.