Forward-Folds For Back Pain

Back pain can be a real pain in the back-side (literally) and is a common reason for people to start doing yoga. Yoga improves the flexibility of the spine and muscles, helping to prevent or maintain back injuries and pain. We both use yoga as a form of relief and we know that a consistent practice really works in healing old injuries and preventing new ones!

M: I have used yoga to help my body recover after a serious motorbike accident in 2009. I credit my consistent yoga practice for being able to rehabilitate my injuries and live the healthy life that I believe in!

S: I am a frequent headache sufferer, mainly from office work (long hours at the computer working for PPHY!) and I also get pain in my shoulders and neck. HOWEVER- nothing a good yoga session can’t fix!

Forward fold postures are especially effective in relieving any type of back body pain- here are some of our favourites:


Half-Tortoise Pose

S: This is my go-to pose for relieving upper back pain- it really stretches out my neck and shoulder blades! It also sends blood to my head and gets rid of my headaches! Who needs panadol!?

Half-Tortoise Pose



  1. Sit in Japanese style pose towards the back of your mat
  2. Inhale and raise your hands above your head, palms touching into prayer, arms straight.
  3. Exhale and hinge from the hips, folding forward with a straight back, keeping your arms straight and palms pressed together. Come all the way down, aiming to touch the forehead to the mat first, followed by the pinky-fingers and then the nose
  4. Engage the arms so that only the pinky-fingers are touching the mat, with the arms away from the mat. Press the tailbone towards the heels
  5. Hold for 5 breaths
  6. With an inhale, engage the core and press the palms together as you come up with a straight back
  7. Exhale, release the arms down to the sides of the body




Standing forehead to knee 

M: This pose is both challenging and therapeutic for me! It relieves my back pain, stretches my spine and creates more flexibility- all while burning calories and providing an awesome balance workout!

standing head-to-knee pose



  1. Stand towards the back of your mat with your feet together, legs tight and core engaged. Arms down by your sides
  2. Inhale sweep the arms up overhead, press the palms together into prayer
  3. Exhale step your right leg forward (about 3 feet), keeping the hips level, then hinge from the hips and bend forward, keeping the hands overhead in prayer and the back straight
  4. As you come down, bend the right knee as much as you need to be able to get your forehead to touch it, chin tucked. Keep your back left leg straight and bring your fingers tips to touch the mat in front of your right foot
  5. Once you have your balance and forehead-to-knee connection, take a couple of breaths and on an exhale aim to straighten out the right knee (only if you can keep the forehead-to-knee connection). Hold for another 3 breaths.
  6. Keeping your arms strong and straight above the head, come up with an inhale, keeping the back straight and the core engaged until your torso is vertical
  7. Step the right leg back to meet the left and bring the arms down to the sides with an exhale
  8. Repeat on the left side


standing head-to-knee pose


These poses can really be our saviours at times- we know they will be for you, too!

Have fun!

Mike & Suz 🙂


Did you know that the more consistent your yoga practice is, the more benefits you can gain from poses like these? Get your consistency on by downloading our FREE APP today! This will help you to organise, manage and motivate your yoga practice!

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