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Yoga For Upper Back Pain | Yoga With Adriene

Hey, everyone. Welcome to Yoga with Adriene.
I am Adriene. Today, we have an awesome sequence for the upper back. I
rarely meet anyone that doesn’t complain about upper back achiness or stiffness,
shoulder pain, craving neck relief. So this is a sequence that you can incorporate
to your daily routine, your daily practice. You can return to it five
days a week, seven days a week. So be sure to favorite the video so you can
return to it easily, because I think this is something that everyone can
benefit from. So let’s get to it, hop on the mat, and let’s learn this upper
back sequence. Okay. So to begin, we’re going to start in
a nice cross-legged position, sukhasana, or the pose of ease here, just
pressing into the sit bones and slowly lengthening up through the spine. I’ll
bring the palms to the knees here, and jumping right in, I’m going to inhale,
loop my shoulders, draw my shoulder blades in together and back, as I
lift my heart. Now, I don’t have to crunch the neck here.
Ouch. Just going to keep it nice and open, but I am actively drawing my shoulder
blades in and together and down, shoulders away from the ears. Take a deep breath in here, long belly, tops
of the thighs draw down. Then on an exhale, I’m going to slowly draw my
chin to my chest, draw my naval back, allow my shoulders to round forward,
kind of get a little booty massage here as I roll through the buttock
and allow the weight of my head to drop over. Now, I’m going to hang here for a couple breaths,
catching the weight of my palms to the knees here and really just breathing,
feeling that upper back stretch, creating a little bit of space here
with each inhale and each exhale. Then rolling back up, I’ll loop the shoulders,
rolling through, pressing into sit bones, again lifting the heart, drawing
the shoulder blades in together and down, and really creating space
between the ears and the tops of the shoulders. Take a deep breath in. Smile.
Relax your jaw. Then send it back down. I like to call this Mr. Burns’ posture here,
but we’ll put a positive spin on it here. Breathe some space into that upper
back. Then inhaling, back up to center, head over heart, heart over pelvis. Okay. Sitting up nice and tall, I’m going
to send my fingertips forward like I’m swimming, crossing them over, swim
around, and then I’m going to interlace my fingertips behind the back. Again, a good marker is to keep the head over
the heart center, the sternum, the sternum over the pelvis. Just
notice whether maybe you tend to sit back like this, which is normal, or maybe
you’re overcompensating and shifting the heart forward. Let’s try to stack
is nice and tall. I’m going to interlace the fingertips, and then I have
a couple options here. If I can . . . We’ll turn to the side here
so you can see. I can bring the palms together. Check that out. If that’s
a little too intense at the moment, I might keep the wrists nice and square,
but I’m actively drawing the shoulders down, away from the ears, shoulder
blades together, kind of wringing it out in the upper back here, getting
rid of that achiness, kind of massaging that area of the body. What will help with that is, of course, taking
a nice, juicy, deep breath in and a nice, soft sigh out. Let’s do one
more deep breath in. Notice my neck is getting a little involved here. It
feels good. Slowly release and palms come back to the thighs. Okay. So now, I’m going to come to an extended
child’s pose for a couple breaths. So I’m going to open the knees nice
and wide. Big toes are going to kiss together here. You can pad these if
you need to here. If this is too much extension, hyperextension in the
knees, you can put a little blanket here between the knees, a little cushion. Then I’m going to sit up nice and tall. Inhale.
Reach the arms up towards the sky, and then exhale. Keep the spaciousness
in the side body as I dive forward into this extended child’s pose. Fingertips are going to reach towards the
front edge of the mat. Palms are going to spread wide. Notice I’m still looking
forward here, drawing my shoulder blades in together and back, shoulders
rotating externally away from the ears. Breathing here, and then slowly
bowing forward, opening up the shoulders, melting the heart to the Earth. Forehead kisses the mat, and the arms don’t
go limp here or lazy. I kind of stay active here, reaching fingertips towards
the front edge, connecting hastabana [SP], that hand/Earth connection. Shoulders are alive as I breathe into the
upper back. Then breathe into the mid-back.
Then send a nice deep breath to the lower
back. Then slowly, when you feel satisfied, drawing a line with the
nose, looking forward, and then using the palms to walk it back up. Okay. So now, we’re going to come to all fours
here, tabletop position. I’m going to walk my right palm in towards the
centerline here and, on an inhale, send my left fingertips all the way
up towards the sky. Now, I’m not going to collapse into this right
shoulder here. No way. I’m going to press up and out of the right palm,
keeping the spaciousness that I’ve built in this little practice all along,
breathing into the upper back here. Maybe the arm goes all the way up. Maybe
it only goes to here. Just seeing where that space is today, taking a
nice deep breath in, and then exhale coming back to center. Left palm replaces the right. Right fingertips
reach up. We’ll just do this side really fast, inhaling. You can move at
your own pace, drawing that shoulder away from the ear, breathing nice,
long, deep breaths, and then exhale back to center. We’re going to do it one more time. This time,
keep the palms a little bit wide. Instead of drawing the right palm into
the center, I’m going to keep it right where it is as I inhale. Open the
left palm up. Take a deep breath This time, I have the needle. I’m going to
take my left fingertips under the bridge of the right arm and come to rest
on the outer edge of my left shoulder. Left ear comes to the Earth, and
I begin to breathe into the upper back here, particularly the left side. For more leverage, I can tent the right fingertips
here, maybe bend that right elbow up to find a little bit more in
that upper back. The toes are going to want to come together. I really don’t
mind that. But if you like, you can just keep a little integrity here
by keeping the tops of the feet pressing into the Earth. For more leverage or for a little bit of a
deeper stretch, you can also add extending the right leg, just kind of using
the right toes here again to press a little bit deeper into the posture.
But I say start here, and then work your way up to here. So being really
mindful in the shoulders here. Let’s come out of the posture. Take a deep
breath in and exhale out, following your breath back to center and planting
the left palm. Again, this time, we’re not walking into the center,
but keeping it nice and open. As I inhale, right fingertips reach up towards
the sky, and then exhale, diving through, right fingertips under the
bridge of the left arm as I come to the outer edge of my shoulder here. Hello. Breathing here, each side will be a little
bit different. I can use my left fingertips here to tent the palms. Bring that
left elbow up. Another option that I sometimes offer students is to come
palms-together here and just kind of gently extending those right fingertips.
That feels nice. Another option to go a little deeper, again,
is to extend the left leg. Curl those toes under, breathing into that
upper body, that upper back. Then following your breath to come out of
the posture, moving nice and slow and mindfully here, and back to all fours. Okay. So now, we’re going to come onto the
belly for a little cobra sequence, gently coming onto the belly, drawing
the palms underneath the shoulders here, and then keeping the feet
just nice and hip-width apart here, pressing into the pelvic bone, looping
the shoulders. The elbows are coming in nice and close to the side body. Go ahead and rest your forehead on the mat.
Then we’re going to move nice and slow here, inhaling and exhaling, pressing
into the pelvic bone, pressing in your foundation, drawing the shoulder
blades in together and down, as we slowly look up. Not a big move
here at first, just a nice gentle thing, and then exhale back down. Forehead
kisses the mat, moving with the breath. Now, whether you rise up on the exhale or
the inhale is totally your choice. I say for a sequence like this that’s
therapeutic and about getting into those dark nooks and crannies, it’s just
about following your breath. You might start to find a little more space.
We’re moving in a nice speed, nice and mindful. Notice lots of space between
the ears and shoulders. Then if you want, from here, you can build
this into upward-facing dog. We’re not going to do that today. But if you
already have a practice and you’re ready, you can begin to take this into
a nice upward-facing dog. When you feel satisfied, you can send it to
a downward-facing dog or just a nice little counter pose here, as we come
into extended child’s pose, swimming the fingertips forward, up and back,
and then resting the forehead. Shoulders melting forward as we
breathe into the back and rest. Okie doke. So that was a yummy sequence for
the upper back. This actually was a request from a viewer. So if you have
other things that you’re craving some relief, or you want some yoga
knowledge or advice on, leave me a comment below. Leave your requests. Questions
always welcome. Subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already, and
I will see you next time. Namaste.

Cesar Sullivan

100 thoughts on “Yoga For Upper Back Pain | Yoga With Adriene

  1. Wow, thank you so much for this! I've been having some awful upper back/shoulder aches for the past weeks, and this worked like a charm! I was wondering if you'd consider making a video with yoga for a better posture? I know my aches come from bad posture and sitting like a question mark at my desk, so that would be a godsend. But thank you for this video, you're a wonder!

  2. Seriously sore back wer i often ask my missus to walk on it after 2mins on a wooden floor not comfortable btw i feel sweet lol bit morework ill be fighting fit yoga is the only way for me pain killers second name scares me

  3. Oh, Adriene… That was… I am a bit speachless, yet I’m smiling. I had a spine injury looong time ago and after 12 years, the only ”treatment” that the doctors could offer me was heavy painkillers. And to me it felt like… Someone stole my right to FEEL… anything…
    Since I was given Fentanyl (and it’s more well known today that heavy opioids might not just kill the pain you’re dealing with… but killling all feelings you have to deal with.. Eating up your whole existence…)
    – That’s how I felt. Maybe the only true feeling I could trust somehow. So in feb 2018 I couldn’t pretend I was OK. I wasn’t. My doctors couldn’t help me unless I did as they said. So we split up….

    – Experienced doctors with a lot of knowledge but no hope.

    And there was me, who had been walking around with a broken back for 12 years and shorty after forgot what even happened, I forgot pain, I forgot pleasure… Forgot myself somehow.
    Yet… I believe that there’s such a deep part of my whole human existence that just. REFUSED. To give up.
    So I didn’t. I quit a 12 years ”treatment” of escaleting opioids and I will never use that ever again. My brainchemestry is getting back to natural. I don’t know what is happening in my back. I just….. It hurts so bad.

    I use to love you easy/stretchy/ yoga videos but for the past 3 weeks I haven’t even been able to lay down on my back. Not even for 30 seconds. But right this morning I had such a yoga craving and I found this video. I did it 3 times in a row…

    It feel SOOO good! The good feeling is greater than the painful one. And that is a bLessing….

    Before I ask for any video I need to go through your chanal and see which other back excercisens that works. I have NO PROBLEM doing these excercises, it doesn’t trigger any more pain so I feel that’s a good thing.

    You are amazing. All you people who dedicate time to take care of yourself are amazing. And I just wanna say that… You can do whatever you want to, if you put your mind to it. Nothing is impossible, some things are very hard and a lot of things are just… precious…

    Enjoy your saturday! /Elisa, Stockholm

  4. this relieved my back pain a little.

    I've been having horrible back pains for the past 6 months and lately sleeping causes me even more pain. Does anyone have any advice on which sleeping positions will help relieve back pains?

  5. Hi Adriene. This video has been so helpful with my upper back pain as I suffer with it constantly and come back to it regularly. Some days I just wish the video was longer! Could you possibly do a longer video that really focuses on loosening up the upper back? There are very few videos that focus on upper back online and it would be tremendously helpful!

  6. Thank you, my upper back has been tight for about a month and it is starting to feel much after this. Definitely will be doing it again.

  7. Hi, Adriene. I love your videos so much and would love to be able to do them more often but have trouble finding space with such a small room, could you do a sequence to do in really tight spaces, preferably whilst in bed? I have a really small room and the only space I have is actually on my bed and it's all I have when there isn't another room available.

  8. This was amazing!! Thank you. Are there any additions to a sequence like this, that could help release neck & TMJ tension?

  9. My upper back was broken for 3 months, so naturally it didn't move a lot. Only walking doesn't make it move so even after it healed it was still really painful. After two weeks of doing this exercises the pain is gone!
    Thank you so much!!

  10. Thank you so much for your amazing videos. I would love to see a routine for thoracic outlet issues or releasing the scalene muscles of the neck as well as pectoralis minor and upper trapezius.

  11. I've had a lot of driving this weekend, and this is just what my shoulders needed. Thank you, Adriene! ☺️

  12. Hi Adriene ..could you please make a video for tailbone pain relief..I am suffering with this from last 2 years.

  13. I found your yoga channel recently. Mostly doing the “yummy” videos. Wow, you look so much younger in this video. I think your age (and probably all that yoga) becomes you. Thank you for all your videos! I have discovered a love for yoga.

  14. I just burst out laughing in the cobra pose… That was my reaction to the pain leaving haha. Thank you Adrienne

  15. Still doing this sequence in 2019. Your videos are timeless and each and every one of them are appreciated!

  16. Thank you so much! I am 12, and I have consistent back pain. I stretch so much throughout the day (I am homeschooled). I did this and my back feels so relaxed. This was a quick and easy cure to back pain and I will definitely try this tomorrow!

  17. Hi, i have a question, so i recently start swimming and after two days my upper back muscle started to pain alot , is there any more things you can show? c; nice vid btw

  18. Adriene,

    Thank you for all that you do for us. Would you consider making a yummy video for really good poses to help with *shoulder*, lower back, upper back and neck pain all combined for those of us in the dentistry or surgery fields? It would be quite helpful! Thanks again!!

  19. I love your channel, can you do one specifically for the muscles behind the shoulders? The thread the needle stretch helps if I use my legs like how you showed but I'm left wanting more relief.

  20. Hi Adriene! I practice with you everyday in the morning, and its crazy helpful! I have a very low external chest, and i would love to know if theres is a sequence for opening the rib cage 😀 thank you!

  21. Thats amazing! In no time the spine, the upper back are so straightened up, it's difficult to belive. Many thanks to the best on-line trainer in the world! Tatiana, Russia

  22. Hi Adriene!! I have to wear heals at work and was wondering if there’s any yoga for the feet. I feel my toes cramping when I get home and take off my shoes and would love a foot practice ❤️🤗

  23. Love your body, don’t ignore simple body pain, take good care of your body, always ☺️✨ Thank you Adriene and namaste 🙏🏻

  24. Hi Adriene, I love your channel. I use your videos on a daily basis. They have been extremely helpful. I know you have a video specifically for the feet (also a great one), but would you possibly consider doing one geared towards Plantar Fasciitis by chance? That would be amazing. Until then, I will continue to use what you already have posted. Thank you so much.

  25. I woke up today with an incredibly stiff back and my neck was hurting up into my head, and I was like let me see if Adriene can help me. Omg I feel like a new person, it still hurts a bit because I think I just slept poorly, but My back feels longer and the stiffness is not so present any more. I'll probably do this one 2 more times today

  26. So much awesome content. Thank you for helping me get back at it. Started yoga practice at the end of last year, went strong for 6 months. I slacked off a bit for the last month and a half trying to find a different online teach, then I found Miss Adriene. Felling better again, you make it easy to Find What Feels Good. Do you ever do a live online Q&A?

  27. Thanks, Adrienne! Can you do more exercises like this? My neck and shoulders are so stiff. Namaste 🌻🙏

  28. Hi Adriene Im driving six hours on a road trip and Im wondering how to keep my upper back spasms AWAY … I also have disc 4 and 5 bulging. Im wondering how often you suggest stopping and stretching for long drive. I do have I will have packed my yoga mat rolled towel, back brace, lumbar cushion for drivers seat and heating pad and air mattress inflated in back of truck lol …. I lay on back and hang over mattress that really gives relief quickly. So I think I have a good variety of gadgets. I've been seeing the chiropractor for only a week now and Ive had this trip planned for months. Thank you Adriene. I also have a couple of your videos saved to refer to while on my drive. ty ty ty <3

  29. I am a swimmer and it is very common to have back and shoulder pain. Your video/video's help alot. I am definitely using your methods in the future🙂

  30. I have been doing yoga for almost 6 months and i was getting flexible.last couple days has been awful for me because my back hurts so much and i couldn't even do i did 2 back pain videos from you and i feel first i got really angry with myself because i couldn't even do forward fold but i forgive myself now.i will get back on track after i get better😊

  31. I never sub to workout vids or stretches, only used once a day, don't need unnecessary news feed, but when she said I like to call this mr.burns posture, it took a min for it to hit but when it did I was done, you got one more sub from the hood solely for that early elevation without the stretch

  32. Hi thanks for such a nice video
    I haveca pain in my ribs joint probably sturnum pain suggest me some exercise to relief from pain.

  33. I want you thank you with all my heart ❤️wow I needed this two years ago my back was broken in four places.

    My day to day life has completely been disrupting with excruciating nerve pain I live in pain non stop when doing this practiced and your other back ones relieve me of my pain almost puts me in tears to just feel what it's like not to be in pain.

    Thank you!

  34. Hi Adrienne. Thanks for this video, I can sleep much better now after intensive work outs related Topix tightness in the muscels. I would love to bring you out for a dinner someday , if I ever meet you.
    Love from Ireland!

  35. THE best sequence! I love this and need it every other day, and it’s the reason I found your channel. Thank you Adriene, I love you so so much. I’m sure you know, but just a reminder that you’re so good for lots of people here and we appreciate you so deeply for being here for us ♥️

  36. This is a great one. Very helpful. I love the addition of stretching the back let out while in that threaded needle asana. Very nice the way that feels.

  37. This is hilarious… I found this just now, and it is so fun to see how you progressed, Adriene! Still this is a nice little practice 🙂

  38. This is amazing for someone who just rediscovered World of Warcraft (and aching shoulders). Will try to do it daily along with some light weight lifting 🙂

  39. I do weightlifting training and my upper back is so tight that it’s making me feel ill. I did this. It relaxed me quite a bit

  40. I have severe upper neck pain because of sitting for long duration while studying and some postural should I go for this? I have to do this empty stomach or can do it at evening?

  41. Dearest Adriene,
    I have been a long time fan and subscriber of your channel, but commenting for the first time. Lately I have this terrible back pain where it feels like the upper left back muscles are tied into this excruciating knot. You have several videos for back pain, and I've been doing this one. But would you recommend any of the others over, or along with this? Looking forward to your reply.
    Lots of love <3

  42. For the past 5 years, I've dealt with such a tense/tight upper back from stress, bad posture, and injury etc. The stiffness and tightness was unbearable. Nothing worked ! No chiropractor, no physical therapy, nothing. But this right here! I'm a week in and already I've felt relief I haven't felt before.

  43. Just the solution for my crabby-crap-crap stiff low back from too much gardening yesterday! Adriene is spot on yoga teacher & friend!

  44. Loved this for my neck and shoulders. I have arthritis in C5-7 and with that comes constant pain so I am looking for good exercise and stretches for this area of my neck. I like to continue my running and liftin weights in my exercise routine but am finding tihs is agravating that neck more now that I am in my beautiful 60's! Thanks so much Sharon !

  45. Heyyy!! Do you have something for elbow cracks ? Like for when they are all tangled up and crackling as they move. And… A whole body sequence that stretches the spine but without using the hands?? Tendinitis in my right one… (wrist and thumb). Most of the hands free sequences focus on hip openings and my spine is feeling sooo bad because of this. Several months now with no real and profound elongation at all, whereas it was used to the so yummy and deep one I got in ashtanga… Which was almost a daily practice. But that and writing debilitated my wrists, and… Now my spine and my whole back are so stacked up… So many thanks!!

  46. After Two days of employing this back problems guide referred to as “Kenzαnο αyb” (Google it), I discovered that it made my situation better. It`s an incredible treatment method as well as avoidance for low back pain. It has successfully attained my anticipations. It is effective after using it a couple of times. .

  47. I know I am responding to a very old (but good) video… but do you have any thoughts on knee health? Im a runner as well, and while yep, calves and hips are a thing, I was wondering if there is anything you can do to strengthen and release the knees and quads? Thanks!

  48. I have Scheuermann's Disease and I think a lot of people with bad back problems would love a video that helps us stretch our backs and hamstrings while also focusing on strengthening the core, to protect the lower back. I often switch between your back pain and core strength videos but wish there was one that had both:). Thanks for being you! I love yoga with Adriene <3

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