One evening recently I came home after a yoga class and felt a dull ache in my lower back. I think everyone experiences a back twinge after yoga at some point. As in any form of exercise, in a yoga class we can overdo things, move awkwardly, or just attempt a posture that is too advanced, with a resulting injury. 

For a simple muscle strain or pull, then the following often works for me. It’s best done as soon as you can. Find a quiet place in a warm room, and set aside 15 minutes. Put on some relaxing music if you like.

Lie down on your back in the constructive rest position – keep the knees bent and feet hip width apart to allow the spine to settle into its natural shape.

Relax as deeply as you can for 5 minutes just following the breath. You can incorporate any of the recent breathing patterns we’ve done in class. Once you have relaxed as much as you can move onto step 3.

Keeping the hands resting on the belly, gently push the back of the waist into the floor as you exhale, then on the inhale allow the lower back to lift. Continue for a minute or two.

Then bring the knees into the chest, one hand on each shin, and hug in on the inhale, and out on the exhale allowing the arms to lengthen. Rock gently from side to side, and continue to massage gently across the lower back, in small circles, as we often do when warming up.

Bring the feet down, with arms out to the sides at shoulder height, and bring the feet and knees together. Gently lower the knees down to one side, with the head moving in the other for a twist. Hold, breathing deeply. Try and relax and let go as you can be on one side, then engage the abdominals to draw the knees back to the middle, and repeat on the other side.

Spend few minutes in savasana - you may wish to keep the knees bent with feet on the floor, or, try taking the feet out to the edges of the mat, and allow the knees to drop in towards each other.

Take things easy for the rest of the day/evening, and if you want to take a muscle relaxant such as ibuprofen, I feel it is best when you go to bed.

I find this works for a minor muscle twinge or pull, giving the back a chance to heal itself. Of course, if it’s more serious, then things will not improve very quickly, and you may need to seek medical advice.