5 Yoga Poses On Back: A Gentle Way Of Unlocking The Power Of Yoga


Whoever said that asana practice was all about balance on the hands or feet? 

In our modern, fast-paced world, finding moments of tranquility and prioritizing self-care have become increasingly vital. Among the various practices that promote balance and harmony, yoga stands as a powerful and accessible means to cultivate inner serenity. 

Although yoga is commonly associated with standing poses and dynamic flows, its profound benefits extend beyond these traditional forms. 

Often overlooked, the therapeutic practice of yoga poses while lying on your back holds remarkable potential.

Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a beginner on the path, practicing yoga poses on back offers a gentle and accessible way to unlock the transformative power of this ancient discipline. 

In this article, we will explore a variety of yoga poses on back back, namely: 

#1: Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

annotated image of a woman in corpse pose, savasana

Corpse pose, also known as Shavasana, is a foundational and deeply relaxing posture in the practice of yoga. 

Often considered the final pose in a yoga session, Shavasana is a state of complete surrender and stillness, allowing the body and mind to rest and rejuvenate. 

My guru in Rishikesh would call this pose chapati-asana, as you lie flat on the ground like a chapati would! 

The same guru (on a more serious note) explained to me Shavasana is a posture to help us be mindful of the phenomenon of death and find equanimity with it.

Despite its seemingly simple appearance, this pose holds immense importance and offers profound benefits for practitioners of all levels.

To practice the corpse pose, you can follow these steps:

  1. Lie down on your back, extending your legs and slightly separating them. Allow your feet to naturally fall open.
  2. Position your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing upward. Let your fingers curl in a relaxed manner.
  3. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Take a few slow, deep breaths, gradually releasing any tension in your body.
  4. Start scanning your body from head to toe, consciously releasing tension in each part. Begin with your face, letting go of any tightness in your forehead, jaw, and around your eyes. Relax your neck and shoulders, allowing them to melt into the ground.
  5. Continue by relaxing your arms, hands, and fingers, releasing any remaining tightness. Soften your chest, abdomen, and hips, allowing them to sink into the support beneath you.
  6. Let go of tension in your thighs, knees, and calves, releasing any tightness in your lower body. Finally, release any residual tightness in your ankles, feet, and toes.
  7. Stay in this position, surrendering to stillness, for 5 to 15 minutes or longer, depending on your preference and the available time. Focus on your breath, allowing it to flow naturally, and let go of any thoughts or distractions.

Incorporating corpse pose (Shavasana) into your yoga practice provides a valuable opportunity to embrace deep rest, inner stillness, and profound rejuvenation, leaving you feeling refreshed and balanced.

#2: Plow Pose (Halasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing plow pose

Plow pose, referred to as Halasana, is a rejuvenating and contemplative yoga posture that brings a wealth of emotional, spiritual and physical benefits.

This gentle inversion engages the entire spine, invigorating it while simultaneously inducing deep relaxation and inner tranquility.

To practice plow pose, follow these steps:

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat, with your arms alongside your body and palms facing down.
  2. Engage your core muscles and gradually lift your legs off the ground, while simultaneously lifting your hips and lower back off the mat. 
  3. Use your hands to support your lower back as you guide your legs overhead, allowing your toes to touch the ground behind your head. 
  4. Maintain a strong foundation by pressing your elbows into the mat and gently clasping your hands together, creating a supportive base for your back. 
  5. Find a comfortable position for your legs, keeping them straight and relaxed. If needed, you can slightly bend your knees to accommodate your flexibility. 
  6. Take slow, deep breaths and relax your neck and shoulders. Allow the weight of your legs and the force of gravity to gently stretch your back, releasing any tension or tightness. 
  7. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths or longer, depending on your comfort and experience. Maintain a steady breath and avoid straining or pushing yourself too hard in the posture.

Incorporating plow pose (Halasana) into your yoga practice can support a healthy spine, enhance flexibility, and provide a profound sense of relaxation and revitalization for both body and mind. 

As with all yoga poses, it is important to practice with proper alignment and listen to your body’s limitations and cues.

#3: Wind Release Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

Wind Release Pose, also known as Pawanmuktasana, is a gentle and effective yoga posture that focuses on releasing trapped gasses from the digestive system, promoting digestive health and overall well-being. 

It is a simple yet powerful pose that helps alleviate bloating, improves digestion, and activates the abdominal muscles. 

Pawanmuktasana also brings awareness to the breath and encourages relaxation in the body and mind.

To practice wind release pose, follow these steps: 

  1. Lie flat on a comfortable yoga mat, with your legs extended and arms resting alongside your body. 
  2. Take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax and settle into the mat.
  3. Exhale and bring your right knee towards your chest, gently hugging it with both hands, interlacing your fingers just below the knee.
  4. Maintain a relaxed and steady breath. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to gently draw your knee closer to your chest.
  5. Hold this position for a few breaths, feeling a gentle compression in the lower abdomen.
  6. Exhale and release your right leg back to the starting position, fully extending it.
  7. Repeat the same process with your left leg, bringing it towards your chest, hugging it with your hands, and holding the pose for a few breaths.
  8. After releasing your left leg, bring both knees towards your chest simultaneously, hugging them with your hands. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed on the mat.
  9. Hold this position for a few breaths, feeling a gentle massage on your abdominal area. 
  10. Exhale and release both legs back to the starting position, fully extending them.
  11. Repeat this sequence 2-3 times, gradually increasing the duration of each hold, and maintaining a smooth and controlled breath throughout the practice.

Incorporating wind release pose (Pawanmuktasana) into your yoga routine can aid in digestive health and strengthen the abdominal region

Practice with patience and listen to your body’s limits, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience.

#4: Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing fish Pose

Fish Pose, also known as Matsyasana, is a beginner pose that incorporates a gentle backbend, and takes place with you in a supine position. This pose promotes a deep opening of the heart and chest, and balances the energies in your body.

It’s a great pose to target respiratory health, anxiety, and activation of the throat chakra. 

To practice the fish pose, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat, with your legs extended and arms resting alongside your body. 
  2. Place your palms flat on the mat, underneath your buttocks. Draw your elbows close to your sides and tuck them in. 
  3. Press your forearms and elbows firmly into the mat as you engage your core muscles and lift your chest upward. 
  4. Take a deep breath in and gently arch your back, lifting your upper body off the mat. Allow your head to tilt back and rest on the crown or upper part of your head. 
  5. Relax your neck and throat, allowing your throat to open and your chest to expand. Keep your gaze soft and relaxed. 
  6. Maintain a gentle lift in your chest and openness in your heart. If comfortable, you can release the weight of your head back onto the mat or maintain a slight lift with your head.
  7. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths, focusing on the expansion of your chest and the release of any tension in your upper body.

Known as the “destroyer of all diseases” in ancient yogic texts, fish pose is a powerful posture that rejuvenates the spine, cultivates body balance, and elevates physical and emotional well-being. 

As a foundational pose, it provides a solid base for exploring diverse variations. 

With its profound benefits, fish pose is a valuable addition to any yoga routine, offering a gateway to enhanced vitality and a deeper connection with oneself.

#5: Boat Pose (Navasana)

an annotated image of a man wearing black yoga clothes doing a boat pose

Boat Pose, commonly referred to as Navasana, is a dynamic yoga posture specifically designed to strengthen the core muscles and target the entire abdominal region.

This pose not only enhances core stability and improves balance but also fosters mental focus and concentration. 

Navasana bestows a plethora of advantages upon the body and mind, making it a valuable addition to any yoga practice seeking to fortify the core.

To practice boat pose, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Start by sitting on the mat with your legs extended in front of you, and place your hands beside your hips. 
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles and lean back slightly, balancing on your sit bones, while lifting your legs off the ground. 
  3. Find your balance and slowly straighten your legs, keeping them together. Aim to create a “V” shape with your torso and legs. 
  4. Extend your arms forward, parallel to the ground, with your palms facing each other. Keep your chest lifted and your spine straight. 
  5. Maintain a strong core engagement, ensuring that your lower back remains straight and doesn’t round. Find a point of focus to help with balance and concentration. 
  6. Hold the pose for several breaths, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and stability. 
  7. To release the pose, exhale and gently lower your legs and torso back down to the mat.

Considered an intermediate pose, incorporating Boat Pose (Navasana) into your yoga routine can strengthen your core and improve your balance.

Further Information

If you’ve enjoyed reading about yoga poses on back, why not check out our other yoga pose articles:

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Born and raised in London, Luke is a passionate writer with a focus on travel, yoga, philosophy, and meditation. As a certified yoga teacher having studied under a swami in Rishikesh, Luke now lives in India pretty much just practising yoga, meditating and writing articles! Luke's life arc has gone from somewhat turbulent to peaceful, and he considers yoga and meditation direct methods to sustain introspective insight to manifest peace and happiness, despite life's challenges. Luke's passion for meditation has led him to complete multiple meditation retreats, where he spent almost 40 days in silence in the last two years. He practices various meditation techniques such as Vipassana, Anapana, and Metta Bhavana, each adding to his knowledge and experience of the true self. Most recently he meditated in Jaipur, India, and before that lived for a short spell in a monastery with forest monks in Northern Thailand. To Luke, yoga is more than just a physical exercise; it's a way of life that helps him cultivate a stronger mind-body connection. As a young man with arthritis, Luke understands the importance of observing and controlling his body, and yoga has been a vital tool in his journey to better health and well-being. The practice of yoga has not only helped him manage his symptoms but has also given him a new perspective on life. Luke's love for yoga and meditation is not limited to a single tradition or practice. He's fascinated by the spiritual teachings of all types of religious philosophy, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity for their essence and wisdom. His passion for spirituality is what drives him to continue learning and growing, and share his knowledge with other people. Luke in his spare time is an avid chess player, cyclist and record collector. He also has experience with addiction, and so sponsors multiple people from different walks of life in their recovery programmes.

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