stop back pain during meditation

Stop Back Pain During Meditation

How to Stop Back Pain During Meditation

Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end” - Swami Sivananda

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stop back pain during meditation

One of the most common problems for meditators is back pain. Have you recently started sitting for longer periods during meditation but also started experiencing more back pain?

It can be incredibly frustrating to try to become present when you have a nagging pain impeding your bliss. Don’t worry there is a solution to this common problem.

Here are 4 tips to help stop back pain during meditation:

ONE: Stretch before meditating

Set yourself up for success by stretching your back muscles before sitting. Stretching will help relieve any stiffness and allow you to sit for longer periods during your meditation. Stretching also helps to prepare your muscles to support healthy alignment. Here is an infographic from Mindful Magazine  that offers some great yoga stretches that are great to prepare your body for meditation.


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TWO: Support your hips and spine

Much back pain, especially low back pain, results from poor posture while sitting for meditation. One of the most important aspects of proper posture during meditation is supporting the hips and creating a pelvis that supports a straight spine. If you are sitting on the floor for meditation, it is strongly encouraged to elevate your hips and keep a straight spine while meditating. This will allow you to keep your head forward, and your back muscles relaxed. For more details on how to sit during meditation, read our blog on How to Sit Comfortably During Meditation

Also our Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Cushion set is designed to help you achieve optimal posture during meditation and eliminate back pain by: elevating the hips, releasing the hip flexor with it’s crescent shape, and supporting the legs and knees. Find out more about our Meditation Cushion Set by clicking here 

Meditation Cushion Set

THREE: Check you arm and hand positioning

Many people assume that their arms must rest on their thighs with their hands on their knees during meditation. However, this is not always the case. Depending on the level of openness in your shoulders and upper back/upper chest, this positioning of your arms and hands may not be optimal. If your have tighter shoulders you may benefit from modifications to your hand and arm posture that will decrease your back pain.

One easy solution is to place your arms closer to your body, with your hands in your lap or resting on a pillow. For a complete guide to hand and arm postures during meditation, as well as helpful modifications, read our blog Meditation Hand Positions 

FOUR: Embrace Stillness

Once you have prepared your back with light stretching, and found the proper support and alignment for sitting, the next step is to embrace stillness. Not every sensation is pain, and if you have done everything you can to support your back, it may be time to find a way to resist fidgeting. When you are able to distinguish pain from various sensations and muscle spasms, see if you can begin to practice resisting the restlessness that is driving you to squirm in your seat. Little by little, see if you can embrace calmness and practice being unmoved.

A helpful way to begin practicing this is to try meditations that allow you to become the observer. Notice sensations instead of identifying with them, and see what comes up for you as you resist various urges to move around or shift on your cushion. This will help you cultivate increased executive functioning and the ability to discern discomfort from pain.

Conscious Living

Ultimately ending back pain during meditation will allow you to expand your meditation practice and get closer to your True Self. We hope this helps make enlightenment easier, and helps you connect with your inner observer. Discomfort is something you can learn to experience and learn from, but pain (emotional or physical) is a direct signal that you must take caution and do what it takes to heal and prevent further damage. Listen to your body and be gentle with your practice. The more you gradually sit for longer and longer periods, the less back pain you will have during meditation and these tips will come to you more naturally.


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Written by Tiffany Shelton, M.A., Owner of Conscious Life Shop, find out more about Tiffany here

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