7 Yoga Poses (Stretches) That Are Terrible for Your Back

7 Yoga Poses (Stretches) That Are Terrible for Your Back

100 thoughts on “7 Yoga Poses (Stretches) That Are Terrible for Your Back

  1. Any person going in this these things without prior instruction is prone to injury just the same with other sports. But yoga is not sport.

  2. Krichnamacharia was over a 100 years old doing yoga. Countless others practicing for decades till they gave up their body. You should have put Joel ( your new skelleton) on the mat to show what you consider is dangerous. All you showed is how it is not do it and how it's done wrong.

  3. Thank you for your cautions concerning certain yoga poses that may tend to overly stress the spine, which I will keep in mind. The same poses you mention I have performed for many years with no problem, however other poses involving joints other than the spine have required greater care. So much depends on how thoughtfully you approach yoga or other mobility exercises, and your body's characteristics and past use.

  4. I really want to see the 7 yoga poses good for your back! I’ve actually been wanting to do my own research on that but hard to tell if it’s actually good for you or not so that video will be meant for me. 😂 👍🏻

  5. I've joined yoga class in age 67 and my health improved immensely. I can do all the exercises you found bad and never had any problems. When I had a break in 4 months, my joints, back and general health deteriorated badly, I couldn't sleep because of upper back and shoulder pain. Now I rejoined yoga and pilates classes and in 2 months I pain free, regained my flexibility and stamina. I remember 100-years old yoga teacher lady and she is example, that properly taught yoga can't harm if you are listening to your body. So I think it is purely individual and doesn't fit everybody

  6. Why are you demonstrating yoga poses on such a thick mat? It is unstable and dangerous for doing yoga; you can clearly see Bob's feet and ankles wobbling. The floor would have been a better surface than that thick mat.
    I agree that those poses can be dangerous for one's spine, but only when done incorrectly as you so painfully demonstrated. Please make this video again with a real yoga teacher who can demo the right (safe) way to do the poses and the wrong (unsafe) way to do the poses.

  7. This should be called “how not to do yoga poses”. You guys haven’t learned the right way to set yourself up in the poses. Now you’re just telling people not to do yoga poses, and you’re not doing them right! I teach yoga and I teach how to do it properly.

  8. Hi, can I first say that it's not my intention to offend anyone out there qualified or otherwise that practice's Yoga. I do though have to agree in part with this video. I am 59 and have dipped in & out of Yoga since the age of around 20. Even then I did think (and no I'm not qualified ) that some position's are not good for the body. I did serious Ballroom & Latin dance competitons from the age of 5 and especially Latin I know what it's like to put the body in unnatural positions, hence now why I suffer from lower back, pelvic and Thorasic spine problems and see a Chiropractor. No one is saying Yoga is bad for you but we should look at the position's that are good for posture, and general flexibility. In today's world where people are sitting at desks all day ( myself included at one time) plus spending half our lives looking at laptops, tablets, texting etc we should be concentrating on good posture and core strength, if you have just those two things under your belt this helps with the rest of the body. I still do some Yoga poses but ones for the two things I've mentioned plus balance. Everyone to their opinion but we should respect what Bob & Brad are saying because they themselves have to know about the skeletal structure the same as Chiropractor 's and the like. Regards Julie from England

  9. Hi! I love your videos, and i agree that the way you executed the poses are bad for health. BUT!! The most of this poses should be done with an elongeted spine and go only as deep as you can without bending the spine. So always can do a pose bad if you want more then you can do, but this poses can be done also propperly!! Maybe do less but correctly. And as you got more flexible you can go deeper without stressing the spine!!This is not just for yoga, many other exercices can be done propperpy or harming yourself. You need a good instructor and pay attention and practice to learn and understand the main idea of any pose or exercice. And to use the right muscles for holding a pose.

  10. It does look like you’re putting all the pressure on your back. There is so much preparation and flow that goes into a pose. Practitioners don’t just go from difficult pose to an even more difficult pose. Teachers tell students to focus on their breath and go only as far as they are ready to. It’s not a competition to have the best looking pose. And here I thought you were going to talk about the headstand and shoulderstand, which are obviously dangerous but yogis do it anyway.

  11. Hi, in addition to the comment I left below, I think everyone who is being negative towards this video is being somewhat disrespectful. Yes, everyone's body is very different and we all have different levels of flexibility and fitness. Any form of exercise whether it be Yoga, Pilates or working out with weights in a gym needs to be done under supervision until you are able to do them correctly. Core strength and a neutral spine is key. You see guys in a gym lifting heavy weights. A gym instructor told me once that they will suffer in years to come because of putting so much pressure on the body, unless you are weight training for a purpose lower weights and more repetitions are much more effective. How many people do you see walking on a Treadmill that's elevated, then they have both their arms forward holding onto the TV monitor screen. They are doing more harm than good as the spine is at the wrong angle, ( the gym instructor told me off for doing that) it's better to lower the elevation and walk without holding on. As one comment I read towards this video, Bob & Brad are talking about the Yoga positions that are not good to do if you have some back problems as it could possibly make things worse, this I can relate to. Plus you can't expect them to be doing the movements absolutely correctly when it's something they don't practise, they are only showing you the movements in general. No one is responsible for your body only you, everyone has an opinion but non of us should get snippy if we don't always agree with what someone else says. We all get told nowadays in life that something is good for you yo do or eat/drink one minute then the next it's not, we should take the information we're given in life by different experts in their field and work it in general to your own lifestyle, remember no one thing to do no matter what it is is 100% right, I always remember what my Grandparents and parents taught me "Everything in moderation " regard Julie from England.

  12. Guys I love you both but as yoga instructor myself.i have to say you are demonstrating the poses incorrectly, which is indeed dangerous for your back. You should have consulted With a certified instructor before you made these claims. First and foremost alignment is key. Next you are not supposed tone extending into a posture which u don't have flexibility in.

  13. I’ve been told this same advice from doctors and PTs. It wasn’t until I went to Iyengar yoga class where i learned to do forward folds correctly and now my favorite back exercises to keep me pain free. If you are going to do “yoga poses that are good for your back” PLEASE have a yoga instructor explain the details so people don’t try them and get hurt. Updog or cobra can really put a lot of pressure on your spine if you don’t enter them correctly.

  14. Hi guys. As a dedicated yoga practitioner who has reaped so many benefits I can honestly say you are correct about these poses. However…the whole point of yoga is to get the body and mind working together. I modifyall poses to suit my body and maintain a healthy spine without giving up any of the good stuff of yoga. Thank you for posting as always GREAT info?

  15. This was a poorly researched video. As a yoga teacher, I am fanatical about anatomy and proper use of asanas for the variety of students who come through my class door. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. Never. Clearly this cheap-shot at Yoga was put together in haste. I expect more from B&B, the “clinicians”.

  16. Guys…I love you but you are doing the yoga poses all wrong…I am a yoga instructor and never teach those poses the way you are doing them….you need a qualified experienced yoga teacher to teach you how to do them correctly…I agree on revolved triangle…never teach that or any standing twists….we also place emphasis on the breath which is what makes yoga yoga….next time please have a experienced yoga teacher work with you first…

  17. IMHO, it is important to go to a yoga instructor who knows human anatomy and can recommend adaptations, like using blocks, bolsters, or pillows. Many of the poses can be hard on beginners until they develop some strength to support the spine and neck – unfortunately, people see really experienced folks sometimes in classes and think they should be able to do the same thing, and they wind up hurting themselves. The same goes for those wildly flexible, contortionist pictures you see on the Internet.

  18. You guys are on the right track but you got some of the poses really wrong. William J. Broad, senior science writer at the New York Times and a life long Yoga practitioner, wrote an excellent book several years ago, "The Science of Yoga" and he covers a lot of the problematic poses. He noted that he had stopped doing some of them because of potential injuries to the neck and spine. A lot of clinicians think that Yoga is a benign practice while that is far from correct. The king of spine biomechanics, Dr. Stuart McGill also makes the same point regarding potential injuries to the lumbar spine. If one is going to pursue Yoga, it's critical to find a teacher who is knowledgeable about potential hazards and does not push you into doing poses that you are unprepared for. Such teachers are a rare commodity. I'm speaking from past history of doing Yoga and now only focus on strengthening exercises for my back.

  19. I really like your channel, but you would benefit greatly by having a qualified yoga instructor on.. you are both clueless on proper posture when it comes to yoga instruction…not fair information.. fail!

  20. Thank you guys so much for making this!!! I had been wanting a yoga video forever! World love if you would do many more yoga vids–a yoga series. Because I desperately want to do yoga, but I don't want to risk another herniated disc. I'm sure there are a lot of other people out there like me.

  21. Try going to a beginner IYENGAR YOGA class. Not a lot of yoga people are aware of how to do this stretch correctly! But some of these poses are the best!

  22. Wonderful video. Most ppl don't have the flexibility to do these poses. If you haven't been with a supervised instructor gradually working w ur flexibility and any mechanical issues then don't risk trying to do these alone all at once

  23. Thanks for the video. I've been fortunate with yoga. My instructors have understood back issues and kept an eye on class participants making sure the poses are done correctly. They also have props to help students with getting into a pose. Otherwise, it could be disastrous.

  24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzTg_CIJ4qM
    Check out this video for Iyengar Yoga. These teachers are trained for years and years to ensure safety and correct alignment for back and the spine. The science of Yoga is more than 1000 years old and the scientific aspect of the poses is demonstrated by Iyengar yoga teachers. There have been medical miracles where medical doctors could not cure something but careful yoga poses helped individuals recover.

  25. I'm a yoga teacher! I'm in Seattle. I very much appreciate this. I teach Yoga for Osteoporosis so there are moves (asanas) here that we never do. Others have to be done correctly, where the spine doesn't change shape as you go into a pose but rather the hips hinge. It takes a while to teach them to hip hinge. People who garden know this action and save their backs from stress.

  26. That mat is a Pilates mat…yoga needs a thinner mat with more stickiness….I am a yoga teacher 😉🧘‍♀️🙏🏻

  27. I started doing yoga recently and most of the days I do it I'll have mid back pain afterwards and especially the next morning. Im doing it to increase flexibility and lose weight but I wonder if I'm doing more harm then good.

  28. Really, get a yoga teacher to present the poses. YOU would definitely have back problems the way you do the poses…

  29. HOW NOT TO DO ASANAS. As yoga teacher I will repeat what was already said here. Sorry guys, but you are giving here very clear instructions on how not to do those poses. No wonder you find them harmful. Anyone here: If your yoga teacher is allowing you to make asanas this way – change your yoga teacher straight away! Yoga can and should be helpful therapeutic and healing (also for spine and general back problems) but it comes for understanding and knowledge about our bodies and us as a whole, including breath and working with your mind and emotions. It can be so much more than yoga stretches and performance. PLEASE consult experienced yoga teacher or at least trusted and recommended internet resources (yogainternational.com or yogauonline.com or at least yogajournal.com).

  30. I really appreciated this information. Unfortunately I’ve had many yoga teachers over the years who were not sufficiently informed and did not adequately supervise the students in their classes. When I was young and lithe, I could get away with putting strain on my spine, but I’m getting old now and while I still do yoga, I appreciate a heads up from Silver Sneakers or Bob and Brad about what to watch out for and avoid. Thanks!

  31. thank you would never tell you to shove it unless you want to come and shovel snow dont think our bodies are meant to bend anything as we get older –mk wis

  32. I love your videos. I do practice yoga. have back issues, and have to say your posture technique was terrible, and no wonder it hurt. I agree with many that you should have studied your material better.
    Yoga teachers will tell you over and over the safe posture, foot plant knee alignment etc .etc.
    All of which you did not demonstrate. But any how I digress I do love your videos and you have helped me a lot!
    (Maybe stay away from Yoga 🙂 )

  33. If you go to a yoga class that demonstrates the yoga poses they way Bob and Brad are doing them in this video, you need to find you a new yoga instructor! Their versions of the poses they are showing in the video are NOT correct at all. Forward folding should be initiated from the forward (anterior) tilt of the pelvis with a lengthened neutral spine. Only after the pelvis is able to tilt forward and the transverse abdominals are actively engaged should you be encouraged to round only through the thoracic. If the pelvis remains in a posterior tilt, then props should used for modification (ie bolster under hips in seated forward poses and blocks on the ground bringing the floor closer to you in poses like Triangle). Bob and Brad, please educate yourself before posting videos like this as it can discourage people from seeking out a practice that has so many therapeutic benefits to the low back when instructed properly and with the right modifications.

  34. Yoga never really interest me. And now that I am older…I need to stick to safe ways to work out. I only have one body.

  35. Looking at the comments, I would gues that Brad and Bob did not properly address the yoga poses, nor did they show this in an empirical manner

  36. I've been doing yoga for about 15 years and have an L5/s1 herniation and cervical stenosis. I find yoga helps my discomfort and improves my flexibility, but i do modify some of the moves. I Do appreciate your input but agree that it would be great to have a yoga instructor with you for your upcoming video on how to do yoga poses safely/correctly. I'm a dietitian in RI and often refer my clients to your site as many of them have physical limitations inhibiting their ability to lose wt. Thank you!

  37. First of, I love you guys, but your posture Bob going into the first few poses is terrible, you're asking for an injusy! There should be no pulling in yoga. It's not about looking like an Instagram picture, it's about knowing your body. Everybody is different and everyone is going to look different doing the same pose, ahem photoshop, that's all I'm saying. The forward bends work wonders for my back pain and so does triangle pose, pigeon pose the list goes on. You also do counter poses, so if you do a lot of forward bends then you balance them out with some back bends. I use blocks, cushions and a bolster where I need them. I'll say it again, absolutely no pulling in yoga!!! If you can only reach your thighs in seated forward bend then that's as far as you should go. One pose might feel great for one person but not another with the same health issues. It's about being sensible, listening to your body and using your common sense. If a posture doesn't feel good then don't do it, it's really that simple. When you're in a yoga class, it's your practice, the teacher is there to help you do a practice and if they're not prepared to accommodate you then find one who does. If your ego is so big that you need to get your head on your knees then to hell with you, it's your own bloody fault that you hurt yourself and you really should find an alternative to yoga!! When doing forward folds you hinge at the hips not the waste and they're more about stretching the back rather than the hamstrings. That's what I've been taught and my yoga teacher is a retired physiotherapist!!!

  38. Thanks for this excellent video. I’ve been doing all of these moves and always wondered if it was too much bending and twisting. I think over time it can cause damage. Looking forward to the yoga video that has safe moves.

  39. Thanks for bringing this up. I’ve only been doing yoga for a few months so it’s useful for me to know that these poses have the potential to cause injury. Knowledge is power. I love yoga and want to be able to do it for the rest of my life. Thanks guys 👍🏽🖖🏽🧘🏾‍♀️

  40. I worked with a yoga therapist because I have arthritis and she really emphasized the importance of listening to your body. In classes, we often compete, even unconsciously, and try to do things beyond our skill and physical ability to look like the pretty lady in the front of the room. She taught me to hear my body when I've gone deep enough and gave me the courage to do what I can do, regardless of what the rest of the class is doing. She also said that if the instructor does not respect your limitations, leave. That is a bad instructor that will hurt you. I think a number of yoga instructors need to remember to encourage their students to listen to their bodies and give students permission to back up and do their own practice when necessary. Yoga can be a profoundly healing practice, but it is up to the instructor to help students find and appreciate their own practice. I know a number of people who give up on yoga because they were hurt or severely discouraged in a "beginning" class. Not all of us are built for Ashtanga, just like not all of us are marathon runners. That doesn't mean you can't do yoga (or run), just that particular style is not for you. So, be careful, listen to your body, and try a couple of different styles and different teachers. You are not getting a grade! 🙂 So take care of yourself!

  41. Question: what about headstands? I feel like they are never safe… especially if held for more than a few seconds…

  42. First, you were not doing the forward fold or the other poses correctly. The back is flat (not folded) and the bend is at the hip. The boat is for back muscles, not tummy muscles. You only lift as high as your muscles can support you. You do need a yoga expert for proper form. Second, if you are going to claim science as a support, then cite your sources. PhD here. You didn't support your claims very well to a real scientist. You don't have credibility on this topic, both on the basis of knowledge of yoga and knowledge of science. Come on, guys. This lack of citation of sources is a consistent problem with you. Just use your clinical experience. Stay away from areas in which you have no expertise.

  43. I appreciate the video guys! I have a bad back so I tried to ease into exercise with tai chi and yoga classes. The dude teaching the tai chi classes gave pretty much one on one teaching to me because there were only a couple others there. Well I hurt my hip and couldn't believe it was possible but I had to cancel yoga class because of it. I still haven't fully recovered and I am now weary of classes. Knowing what yoga exercises may be problematic for me is helpful. All the yoga experts out there are prepared but anyone who is a newbie can use this information for sure.

  44. I agree with others. True yoga requires practice. Maybe have a yoga person in and judge their position. People should know how not tp do yoga and this is it.

  45. Thank you very much guys. I have a trainer who I have tremendous respect for, and is someone I trust. He really cares for his clients. He has us do bicycle crunches and Russian twists, both of which are bending and twisting movements. In the beginning I wouldn't do them because of your advice. Then as I got stronger I realized I could do them, so I did. After watching this video I am reminded that I should stick with my instincts and follow your advice thank you again. My point about referencing my trainer as someone I trust is that it sometimes takes more than one expert to find what is right for oneself, to find the balance.

  46. You def should have had a yoga professional there. All of the posses you demonstrated were done incorrectly. Modifications are done until muscle strength can hold you in proper alignment to avoid injury.

  47. Lol all the triggered yogis. Been doing yoga for 4 years, enjoy it massively but won't pretend for a moment it's helped my chronic back pain (which was temporary before I started yoga, which if anything has made back pain worse in the long run) Yoga is far too static and intense, and is no good in my experience for back pain. Would not dream of doing any yoga during periods of back pain. I do yoga because I love doing yoga, not because of some hope it would help with back pain. Pilates with dynamic movement has been far more beneficial for my back pain.

  48. If one was as non bendy and imbalanced as the demonstration here, of course these positions can hurt you… but so can many other every day physical activities if not properly mechanized to ability.

  49. This video makes me sad and a little upset, you guys (who I enjoy and respect) are only adding to the ignorance around the practice. Yes there are cautions to several, many postures, especially w/ spondylolisthesis – please find an
    E-RYT and learn how to use props so that your asanas can be formed properly. Challenge – do another vid with an actual yoga practitioner.

  50. Here's something interesting. A few of the poses you showed…I hated them right from the start when I began doing Yoga. It wasn't until later on that I found out they were bad for the back from others who also agree with you about these particular poses. Point being, my own body was telling me to stay away from them right from the start. Even the Cobra which I also hated and then, I found out from you guys that it's not a good pose with Spondy (which I have) so, I just found that interesting that I knew from the inside that they weren't for me. It's so important to listen to that inner voice and not let the outside voices pressure you.

  51. Guys, just NO! The bend is to come from the hips NOT the back — You are doing it all completely wrong. You've just demonstrated everything not to do while doing yoga.

  52. Two words….Functional Movement.
    There are ways to move the body for most so that these poses can be beneficial for most. Let’s talk!

  53. I have a spinal fusion in my lower back, I’m not allowed (like never) to twist or bend, nor to any type of sit ups..so yoga is out of the question for me..

  54. A for effort, but F for execution.
    This is so disappointing! You had an excellent opportunity to educate the public on questionable yoga poses and you blew it! First, you didn't even have a yoga teacher present, which is terrible because your demonstrations were dangerous! No one approaches those poses in such a way and a yoga teacher would have shown you how to safely enter and exit those poses in addition to modifications for people with tight hamstrings and back issues. Modifications exist for a reason, as do blocks and other props we use for those purposes. Check out Gary Kraftsow if you'd like to see some excellent examples of safety and stability in poses.

    Also, get rid of those stupid mats! No one can balance on so much cushion and you risk falling over! F for mat choice.

  55. It is well documented now within clinical pilates that flexion exercise are just as beneficial as extension depending on the individual. In this case it appears the taller physio here has an ‘extension bias’ ie his back loves extension which has resulted in a confirmation bias for treating this way… that is, because his back likes extension so should others. ‘McKenzie’ therapy was hugely popular in the 80s and 90’ that had a large bias towards back extension exercise and so that’s how many physio’s from this era are influenced to treat. In my experience with as a physio, it is almost 50/50 with backs that like flexion over extension. More recent understanding with how fascia behaves also supports stretching in multiple directions. Over stretching and over pressure is different and like everything flexion exercise to treat back pain needs to be closely monitored pre and post exercise prescription. As for the ‘boat row’ and many yoga abdominal exercises I 100% agree with the guys and hear about it given in yoga classes constantly even in entry level classes. For most this only loads the back muscles and compresses the spine. It is actually an advanced pilates exercise similar to what they call ‘the teaser’. The message here is Yoga is an unregulated industry with most teachers having only 200hr teachers training course and a few retreat workshops under their belt. Poses are passed down through tradition and given generally because that’s what and how the person was taught rather than based on research. In many cases certain poses are definitely not suitable to treat or manage many back conditions and can be harmful. This is when yoga teachers need to know when to refer on and listen to the practitioner rather than trying to mange the injuries themselves based on past experiences. From my understanding the original intentions of yoga were about seeking enlightenment and not for physical therapy and physical indulgence or the physical competition it’s now become (even if that’s self competition). Not hating on it as I love yoga no doubt and overall the benefits far outweigh the risks but if you have chronic back pain the clinical pilates or functional stability model under the guidance of an experienced physio would be much more suitable. 👍🏽

  56. First, I love you guys! i have been in Nursing 27 years and Massage for 2, I recommend you all the time. But, here is my take on Yoga, your right IF you do not know what your doing. A good Yoga instructor would not take you into any of those poses with incorrect form (Brad, your form suxs lol). IF you are a competitive person which I am you can definitely overstretch and initiate the Golgi tendon reflex and hurt yourself, but that is even true for the exercises PT prescribes IF done incorrectly. I am new to yoga and barley bend into triangle, not because I could not touch the ground, but because there are a lot of back muscles that need stretched out that are tight, like the QL muscle for one Brad refers to. In my opinion, what you guys should be tellling people is they can be dangerious if done incorrectly and that you should start in the type of Yoga that teaches restorative with a reputable instructor in a small class who will not allow you to use bad form. I would challange you to take some Yoga for at least 6 months so you can at least give an opinion, especially with your credentials in PT in an objective manner, not just based on disc studies on cadavers or people who already damanged their discs, probablyt from bad form and major muscle imbalances. Lynn

  57. I understand your concerns about certain poses; however, when doing these poses, props such as blocks and blankets are used to assist keep the body safe while practicing them. In addition, the students are given cues and modifications for each pose during the practice which illeviates many of the potential back issues that you are speaking of.

  58. Actually you were not doing these yoga stretches correctly.  I've been doing yoga for 20 years and you might want to get an advanced yoga book to see the correct positions for these poses.

  59. Hi guys. It's Kaitte Rocky Ford CO. I have a free 21 day Yoga challenge from Wonderlust. I'm 66, been sick awhile and wondered what you think of it for safety to get lumber again.

  60. There’s no such thing as good and bad stretches. It’s all about LOAD. Are you guys even up to date with the latest studies? It’s because it’s evidence based doesn’t mean it’s bad or good for every single single human being. Human body is robust.

  61. I love yoga…been doing it for 5 years now. I have a sensitive back as I work in childcare and I totally agree with u. I will not do the bending forward poses anymore as it triggers my back straight away.

  62. Hello Bob and Brad. I am a Hatha yoga teacher, I have been teaching since 2003. I blew a disc last June (3 days of lifting heavy items, combined with heavy lifting over many years finally caught up with me) and I can tell you that all the asanas you refer to, I have already been avoiding since my injury; avoiding out of fear because after not being able to walk for two weeks, I never want to have a repeat herniated disc, but also because when attempting gently to adapt one of these poses, my back is just not ready one year on. I am healing but I will never do these stress inducing poses again, my practise will have to adapt and evolve.
    Everyone is different, all circumstances are different, but for me personally as someone with an existing injury, I agree with you both entirely. I see that you tried to demonstrate the poses simply; of course you understand there would be preparation time and correct breathing to take into consideration, but your video cannot be one hour long.
    I thank you two for this video, indeed all your videos, as always. I love your gentle humour and the useful information. You help people, this is a great kindness. Xx

  63. Bob and Brad, you should re-do this video with a qualified yoga teacher who can rebut your claims. Yoga is more than just about positions. It's about breathing and easing into a pose. There's no doubt one can injure oneself when doing a pose incorrectly. That can be said about any exercise, whether it's yoga or not. So, please bring an expert next time to have them talk to you about the do's and don'ts of yoga.

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