Soothing a sore tailbone

Yoga poses are wonderful for stretching the muscles, ligaments, and tendons attached to the difficult-to-access tailbone.

Officially called the coccyx, the tailbone is located at the bottom of the spine above the buttocks. To ease pain in the area, focus on poses that both stretch and strengthen. This balance encourages proper alignment and allows the surrounding muscles to offer better support.

As always when practicing yoga, proceed slowly and only move within a pain-free motion.

1. Sun Bird pose (Chakravasana)

sun bird

Sun Bird pose involves a simple movement that’s a powerful way to strengthen the back muscles while stabilizing the spine and tailbone.

  1. Come to all fours, with your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. If your knees hurt, place a blanket underneath them for added support.
  2. Inhale and lift the right leg, extending it straight behind you. If it feels good, extend the left arm as well.
  3. Exhale, round the back and bend the knee toward the forehead. Connect elbow to knee if you’re including the arms. Inhale back to the starting position and exhale, again connecting elbow to knee.
  4. Continue this movement about five times in concert with the breath, before switching to the other side.

2. Side Angle pose (Parsvakonasana)

side angle pose

This pose lengthens the side body while strengthening the legs. The entire spine is activated, strengthening the tailbone and spine.

  1. Stand tall at the front of your mat with your feet grounded.
  2. Send the right leg back a few feet behind you, keeping the outer edge of the right foot parallel to the back edge of the mat. Align the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot.
  3. Bend the front knee, making sure not to extend it over the front ankle.
  4. Inhale and lift your arms up so they’re parallel to the ground. Bend the left elbow while exhaling, and lower the forearm to rest on the left thigh.
  5. Extend the right arm up to the sky, allowing your gaze to follow only as far as feels good in your neck. An option is to keep gazing at the ground.
  6. Deepen the posture by stretching the right arm up and along the ear, toward the wall in front of you. Keep the torso open and lines in the body long.
  7. Hold for five to seven breaths and repeat on the other side.

3. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)

Triangle pose has similar benefits to Side Angle pose. It strengthens the legs, helps to stabilize the spine and tailbone, and opens the hips. Triangle pose also stretches the hamstrings.

  1. Place one foot parallel to the back edge of the mat and the heel of your front foot in line with the arch of your back foot.
  2. Keep both legs straight and while inhaling, lift your arms up parallel to the ground.
  3. Exhale, reaching forward before tilting the side of your body and lowering the front arm toward the floor, keeping both legs straight. Keep the hand to the inside of the front leg. Only go down as far as feels good to you, maybe stopping at the thigh or midcalf.
  4. Keep the heart and torso open by keeping your arms aligned, as if pressing your body against an invisible pane of glass behind you.
  5. Stay for five to seven breaths before gently rising up and repeating on the other side.

4. Bow pose (Danurasana)

This gentle backbend stretches and strengthens the back and tailbone muscles and tendons simultaneously. It’s a great backbend for beginners because the strength required reduces the risk of crunching into the lumbar spine, which is a common mistake with backbends.

  1. Lie on your belly with your arms resting by your side and forehead on the mat.
  2. Bend your knees and grasp the outside of your ankles. If this isn’t possible, just reach toward the ankles.
  3. Inhale and lift the torso up on the mat. Send the soles of your feet toward the sky. Then seesaw your way higher, sending your feet up and allowing that momentum to lift the chest higher. If you can’t reach your feet, simply reach toward them, maintaining the bow shape without connection.
  4. Stay for three to five breaths before lowering down to rest.
  5. Repeat three more times.

5. Child’s Pose (Garbhasasana)

Child’s Pose is a soft resting pose that gently stretches the entire spine, with a focus on the lower back and tailbone area. It’s a restorative pose that resets the nervous system, providing a safe place for the body to rejuvenate. Child’s Pose is wonderful to come to anytime you need a mental reset, or if your tailbone needs extra attention.

  1. Come to all fours with your shoulders underneath the wrists and knees underneath the hips.
  2. Spread the knees wide, taking them to the edge of the mat while keeping your feet together.
  3. Send the pelvis back toward the heels while lowering the torso to the mat. Let your forehead also rest on the mat, if possible.
  4. Stretch your arms in front of you or clasp the hands behind your back. If you’d like to make the pose slightly more active, stretch through your fingers, reaching toward the wall in front of you, feeling a release through the shoulders.
  5. Make any adjustments to find more comfort in the pose, perhaps bringing your knees closer together or wide apart.
  6. Stay for five breaths or as long as you’d like.