Yoga Asanas For Back Pain: 4 poses for the upper back

As i have become more active, I have come to believe that upper back pain is an issue that we all will face or have faced. Usually a tennis ball or a baseball in one of the trigger points in the back will relieve the symptoms of upper back pain and neck pain for a short time, but then it returns. This post will give you a few simple yoga asanas for back pain with a focus on the upper back. I will also provide a simple flow at the end incorporating these poses. This post is definitely more focused on detailed descriptions of what you should be feeling in your body; so, go slow and see if you can practice each pose and note the subtle but powerful variations.


Start in table top position.

For cat pose: Round your shoulders and tuck your chin into your chest. Change the focus of your pose from pulling in your navel to creating space between your shoulder blades by actively rounding your back. Hold this pose for 2 breaths then transition to cow pose.

For cow pose: during the transition from cat to cow, roll your shoulders away from your ears. Again change the focus from shining your heart forward to engaging the muscles between your shoulder blades and pressing them towards each other. Hold this pose for 2 breaths.

Down Dog

For down dog, we will also shift what you typically would think of as the focus of the pose. Instead of trying to make your heals touch the mat, the goal is to keep a straight line from the crown of your head to the base of your spine. From this position, start to send your hips higher and your chest further towards your thighs and feel the stretch in your upper back.


Dolphin is most comfortably reached from down dog. Using the same alignment and concepts as down dog, the difference here is that you will move to your fore arms for support. This intensifies the stretch you will be able to create in the upper back.

Child’s Pose: In every direction

The focus of your child’s pose will be creating space and stretch in the upper back and the lateral muscles.

Child’s pose – front: For the traditional child’s pose, keep your knees parallel (do not widen your stance at first) and stretch your arms forward, resting your head on your mat. Reach your arms forward until you feel the stretch in your back and continue for a few breaths.

Child’s pose – left/right: These are intended to stretch your lateral muscles. Using the same concept as front you will walk your hands to the left or right to a 45 degree angle. Using the same concept from the front child’s pose actively reach the arm opposite of the direction you went (EX.for left it would be the right hand) and continue to do so for a few breaths. Then switch sides.

Vinyasa for upper back pain:

Start in table top:

  • Cat/Cow
  • Table Top
  • Down Dog
  • Dolphin
  • Table Top
  • Child’s pose – front
  • Child’s pose – left
  • Child’s pose – right
  • Child’s pose – front
  • Table Top
  • Down dog

I hope this has been helpful, and, if you use the flow or have one that you like for upper back pain, please leave a comment 🙂

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