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Adjusting your Iyengar class practice for back pain

A full-length video showing some adjustments that you can make to your class or regular practice when dealing with back pain.

Here’s a sequence focusing on standing poses and some inversions with the aim of relieving back pain. The class is intended to show a range of poses that can be used during practice or class to help take some pressure off the muscles in the back whilst getting the benefit of a longer sequence.

​​We start off using some block supports in our starting poses: Uttanasana with concave back, hands placed on upright blocks, Adho Mukha Svanasana with a block placed high up between the upper thighs and Virasana forward with a block supporting the torso from navel to sternum.

This is followed by Adho Mukha Vrksasana & then half-Uttanasa with palms placed upwards against the wall. Next we come into Pincha Mayurasana using a block & belt for support then release down to Virasana Forward before taking a chair and belt for foot support in Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana 1 and 2.

Now set up for Trikonasana & Parsvakonasana with back foot to the wall and with a block for hand support. Turning then and placing the front foot up the wall for Virabhadrasana 1 with hands to the wall & a block under the back heel for support.

This is followed by Ardha Chandrasana with the back foot to the wall and a block for the front hand before turning our mats to hug the wall and setting up for Parivritta Trikonasana.

The standing poses conclude with Parsvottanasana back foot to the wall & hands supported on blocks and Prasarita Padottasana concave spine with a block under each hand.

We move into Sirsana (headstand) with back to the wall & a block between the thighs to help extend evenly up through the legs. After returning to the floor, we set up for supported Halasana with the front of the thighs resting on a bolster on the chair.

We conclude the sequence with simple cross leg resting the forehead to the chair and we finish with Savasana with the calves placed on the chair seat to fully relax the back muscles.

Equipment required

  • 2x Block
  • Mat
  • Belt
  • Chair
  • Bolster
  • 2x Blanket

Video stills from this sequence

Show video stills
Uttanasana with blocks - Working with Sore Back Pain Iyengar Yoga
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half-uttanasana-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
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virasana-forwards-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
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utthita-hasta-padangusthasana-II-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
trikonasana-with-block-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
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front-foot-to-wall-and-block-virabhadrasana-1-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
ardha-chandrasana-with-block-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
parivrtta-trikonasana-to-the-wall-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
parivrtta-trikonasana-upright-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
parsvottanasana-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
Prasarita-Padottasana-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
sirsasana-head-balance-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
sirsasna-with-block-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
supported-halasana-with-thighs-on-chair-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
simple-cross-legs-forward-with-chair-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga
savasana-with-legs-supported-working-with-sore-back-pain-iyengar-yoga