yoga stretching

Your back is one of the most important parts of your body. Not only does it support your entire structure, but it’s also responsible for movement and flexibility. When your back is healthy and strong, you feel better all over. But when it’s not, you can experience pain and stiffness that make everyday activities difficult.

That’s why it’s so important to take care of your back by stretching it regularly. Stretching not only helps keep your back healthy, but it also feels great. These eight stretches are some of the best for loosening up your back and relieving tension.

1. Child’s Pose

A great way to open up your shoulders and chest, while also stretching your back and legs, is by doing Child’s Pose. Get down on the ground with your hands slightly in front of you and start to slowly bend forward from the hips and lower your head towards the floor. Relax your arms and feel the stretch throughout your back.

2. Wide Angle Forward Fold

Another great pose for your legs and back, the Wide Angle Forward Fold is a deep hip stretch that feels amazing. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and touch the floor in front of you with both hands. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips as far as you can. Relax your arms and let gravity pull them down, which will deepen the stretch.

3. Downward Dog

Downward Dog is a great pose for opening up your chest and stretching your back at the same time. Start with your hands on either side of your hips and slowly stand up, bringing your hips towards the ceiling while flexing your feet. Relax your head between your shoulders and extend the stretch through your arms, chest, legs, and back.

4. Pigeon Pose

A great hip opener, the Pigeon Pose is often used in yoga to get deep into the hips. Start on all fours with one leg bent under you while keeping your other leg extended behind you. Slowly sit back into the hip of the bent leg, lowering your chest as much as possible. Relax your arms and let them fall wherever they may – gravity will pull them towards the floor and deepen the stretch.

5. Cow Face Pose

One of my favorite inner thigh stretches, Cow Face Pose is a great way to open up your hips and stretch the muscles in your groin as well as your back. Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight out in front of you, then bend one leg and cross it over the other so that your knees are touching. Bring them as close into you as possible and relax your arms wherever they fall – gravity will deepen the stretch.

6. Wide-legged Forward Fold

Another great hip opener, the Wide-Legged Forward Fold opens up your hips and stretches your back at the same time. Sit with both legs extended out in front of you and start to slowly bend forward from your hips. Take it as far as you can without straining yourself, then relax your arms and let them fall wherever they may. Relax your head between your shoulders and feel the tension release from your back.

7. Low Lunge Pose

Reach one arm up over your head, then bend from the hips into a low lunge position with that same leg forward. Lean-to the side of the bent knee while extending your other leg behind you and feeling the stretch in your chest and shoulder. Relax your head between your shoulders and extend the stretch through your chest, arms, and back.

8. Extended Triangle Pose

One of the best stretches for opening up your hip flexors while also stretching out your groin muscles, this is a great pose to do when you’re done with your workout. Stand up straight with both legs together and take one leg out to the side at a 90° angle, making sure you keep your foot facing forward. Extend that same arm out in front of you while keeping your other arm behind your back for balance. Lean towards the side where your front leg is bent until you feel the stretch all throughout your hips.