Yoga for Herniated Disc

One of the most severe pains is the pain caused by a herniated disc. Pain combined with a feeling of helplessness often leads people to despair.

Our spine has 33 vertebrae, between which there are discs filled with a gelatinous core. Thanks to these discs, the spine is mobile and flexible; it can bend forwards or backward and perform rotations. But, due to improper posture or sitting, obesity, sudden movements, or lifting heavy objects, the soft part of the disc between the vertebrae can pop out or even leak into the spinal canal. Stiffness, pain, and even numbness can appear as the leaked contents press on a nerve in your spine.

The pain usually radiates from the spine to the leg, and you can also feel it when you sneeze or cough. This condition is called a herniated or prolapsed disc. Herniated disc most often occurs in the lumbar, the lower part of the spine (between L4 and L5 vertebrae), which is also the most loaded.

During the physical exam, the doctor will check the sensitivity of your back to touch. The doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check your: reflexes, muscle strength, ability to walk, and the sensation of light touch, sting, or vibration.

The good news is that there are practical exercises that can help you feel better and prevent the condition from getting worse. But, if you have severe pain, be sure to consult a doctor to determine what exactly is causing the pain.

With a herniated disc, it is important to work on stretching the muscles of the back of the thighs and strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, which will then provide good support to your spine. Strong stomach muscles will protect your sensitive lower back from injury.

First of all, the yoga program should be adapted to your individual needs by an experienced teacher. Some poses are great for one person and may be bad for another. This would mean that most poses should probably be modified using props – your yoga teacher can show you how to use blocks, pillows, straps, and other props to gently stretch your spine.

Here are some general tips on how to protect your back when you have a herniated disc:

  • while back pain exists, do not bend forward more than 90 degrees with straight knees;
  • avoid all sitting poses with forwarding bending;
  • if the pose causes any pain, burning, or numbness, it should be stopped immediately;

Yoga pays the most attention to the health of the spine and back muscles. In my yoga teaching, I have seen that back pain in some practitioners, even with certain conditions like scoliosis and kyphosis, can be eliminated after only a month of practice. With the help of yoga, spine problems such as herniated discs can be prevented alleviated and with dedicated exercise eliminated.

The following twelve yoga positions are excellent for solving or alleviating problems with a herniated disc.

The first pose is the pose of the bridge. You should always think about how deep you go into this pose. Do not force your body, your lumbar part. This pose is excellent for strengthening the muscles of the entire back, especially the lower part. There are variations of this pose, so it is important that you do the variation that is good for you.

The next pose is parsva balasana. This pose is very good for relaxing your entire back. Parsva balasana is relieving you from back pain.

The third pose is pavanmuktasana. Practicing this pose, you will totally relax your lower back. This pose is also very good for gas release. The pose is characterized as excellent for massaging the lower back.

The fourth pose is the low lunge pose or anjaneyasana in Sanskrit. This pose is a very good pose for thighs, groins, and chest stretching. A low lunge pose is very good for people who have problems with sciatica.

The fifth yoga pose is a sphinx pose. If you want to relax your lower back muscles sphinx pose is for you. In this pose, it is very important to rest your hips and legs on the yoga mat and engage your legs.

The sixth yoga pose is a locust pose. If you have strong muscles in your back, you can try all locust variations. In this pose, you are using your back muscles to lift your chest up. If you are dealing with a herniated disc, please just do the basic version of the pose.

The next pose is the cat cow pose. This pose is a dynamic one. It is very good for your whole spine, lower and upper. Do it at least ten times. Inhale when you are in a cat pose, and exhale when you are in a cow pose.

Cow face pose is the next one. You can sit with your back straight. Stack your knees directly on top of each other. If you can, try to clasp your hands behind your back. You can also use a yoga belt in his pose.

Plank or phlakasana pose is a pose that will make your stomach muscles as well as your your lower back muscles stronger. Try to hold this pose for at least one minute.

Navasana pose is also good for your stomach muscles. If you can not do each variation, just do the first one. That is the easiest one.

The last one is “drawing” a circle with your legs. It is better to lie down to do this pose.  First, you will do everything with your right leg, and after that, everything with your left leg., The goal of this pose is to “draw” circles with your legs that vary in size. Your legs should be straight. You are “drawing“ small, medium, and large circle. This pose is very good for your lower and middle stomach muscles.


Do not forget to do these poses every day. In case you do not do these poses every day, your problem with a herniated disc can threaten your overall health.

Stay healthy, and practice yoga every day.

About the author

Urosh Martinovic

Urosh Martinovic is a yoga and mindfulness teacher. He has experience in more than 7,000 guided classes. His work includes 1 on 1 online classes and workshops. Uros is a founder of holistic portal for Balkan Moja Solja Joge (My cup of yoga).