What is the Best Type of Yoga for Beginners with Lower Back Pain?

As more people start practicing yoga each year it is very common to see men and women of all ages in class that are completely new to the practice. I was brand new to the practice not that long ago and was desperate to find something that could help with my chronic lower back pain. I experienced many styles of yoga on my journey to long-term relief from the pain and now I want to help you find the best type of yoga for beginners with lower back pain as well.

The Best Type of Yoga for Beginners

Beginner Yoga Class

Gentle and modified routines are the best type of yoga for beginners with lower back pain.

A majority of the people that start practicing yoga today do so because they believe it is good for their health. Many of those people are completely new to the practice and don’t really know where to start, especially if they have a chronic condition like sciatica and are looking to relieve some of the pain.

Whether you decide to start a home practice, take classes at a studio, or attend a free class in the park, if you are complete beginner to yoga then it is important that the first few times that you practice you should take it very slow and easy. Yoga is completely different from almost every other type of exercise and the positions that you are going to put your body into might feel very uncomfortable at first.

Yoga routines that have the words ‘gentle’ or ‘level 1’ or ‘beginner’ in them are going to be the best place for you to start. Trying to jump into a more advanced style of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, Anusara, Bikram, or most other hot yoga classes when your body isn’t ready could set you back further than you already are.

If you have a debilitating condition or are recovering from a surgery then it might be necessary for you to start even slower than the level one classes. Many doctors are prescribing yoga therapy to their patients in order to help them deal with many different physical and mental conditions. There are also restorative yoga classes that are great for those looking to just slow down and get in a good stretch while being completely relaxed.

Why Yoga for Beginners with Lower Back Pain is the Best

Unlike other traditional forms of exercise that put pressure on your muscles, bones, and joints from the very beginning, Yoga encourages you to slowly move into each posture while paying attention to how your body feels. As a beginner, if you need to modify the poses in order to stay balanced or for added support then you should.

Even though there will sometimes be other people in the room when you are practicing, it is important to stay focused on how your body is feeling and not how you might look to the rest of the class. I can assure you that no one is paying attention to how you look because they are too focused on their own practice to notice.

Focus Your Practice

Focus on your practice as if you were the only one there.

When you are able to direct all of your attention to how your body feels while practicing the first few times, you will have a really good idea what the problem areas in your body are and what classes and routines you need to be doing to find relief from your back pain. Once you realize how good your body feels after a workout, you’ll find yourself doing lower back stretches even when you aren’t practicing because it feels so good!

It doesn’t matter what your level of experience is when you start your practice, you will immediately start finding relief from the pain. Even the most basic yoga poses that help with back pain, such as Cat-Cow and Supine Spinal Twist, will provide you with instant and long-lasting relief and can be done from pretty much anywhere.

Embrace the Burn in Your Muscles

Build Muscle Strength

One of the things you might notice as you begin your yoga practice is that your muscles start to burn and get tired very quickly throughout your practice. You should always take breaks when you need to, especially in the beginning, but it is also important to find your personal edge during a pose. That could mean you aren’t able to do the full expression of a posture but as long as you are taking it to your edge, your body is learning and you will get stronger and more flexible overtime.

If your goal is like mine when I started practicing yoga and you are trying to find relief from chronic lower back pain, you should focus on flexing and strengthening your core muscles during every movement you take in your practice. Although many different muscle groups help with flexibility and lower back pain, if you start building your core muscles from the very beginning then once you start advancing in your practice you will be able to use balancing and standing postures to target your low back pain much easier.

Finding the right yoga mat as a beginner is going to go a long way in helping you build a strong core and foundation that you can grow your practice on. As long as you stick with it your muscles will eventually stop burning and you’ll be able to use them like tools to shape how you want your body to look and feel like.

It’s only a matter of time before you start feeling the positive effects that a regular yoga practice can provide for your lower back pain relief. You don’t have to live with chronic lower back pain anymore. You can find relief with yoga, it’s just a matter of how bad you want to live a life free from pain that is going to make it happen.

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  1. Jorge Dominguez

    Hi, I have been having problems with my knee. I try to do yoga at least 3 times a week on my own. I also lift weights. I believe that i am not streching properly or i am doing something wrong but i cannot figure it out yet. Do you know anythig that will help me out, or a program or streching routine that will focus on my knees?

    1. Nate (Post author)

      Hi Jorge,
      I’ve had knee issues in the past due to running and playing sports when I was young so I needed a low-impact workout that wouldn’t irritate my knees any further. I would recommend starting a gentle vinyasa flow routine that gets you moving and will start strengthening and loosening the muscles in your knees. Depending on how severe your knee problems are, you’ll want to take it slow so you give your joints time to heal.
      Even after practicing yoga regularly for over a year if I go running am walking a lot during the day my knees still will bother me. Without yoga, however, I know my knees would have only deteriorated further than they already had.
      Thanks for the comment!


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