Transforming Fear to Joy

Yoga Relief for Muscle Tension (Trapped Emotions) in Your Mid-Back

Are you struggling with a sense of insecurity and powerlessness? The increased level of uncertainty given the many unknown factors related to COVID 19 can heighten one’s feelings of stress and uneasiness.

Healing traditions such as reflexology link middle back pain to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and insecurity. If you’re feeling unsupported by other people or life, you probably carry tension here. Aletheia Luna

And, if you are a seasoned yoga practitioner, you may already guess what poses I am offering in the 60-minute sequence below in order to increase your sense of personal power. For most practitioners, inversions, particularly handstand, are some of the most exhilarating and joyful yoga poses. Of course, both joy and fear can be aroused when thinking about balancing on your hands. Nonetheless, whenever I teach handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) to a group of people, the energy, excitement and noise level in the room increase tenfold. Why? Because everyone is invigorated, their energy is flowing, and they are a little closer to joy for having experienced their powerfulness.

So, watch your own energy and emotional experience as you try each of the poses below. Never fear, we will start with ease and build momentum, openness and strength as you approach those poses of greater challenge for you.

KAIUT VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up the Wall 3-5 minutes)
– legs up the wall; sit bones 12 to 18 inches away from wall
– head on bolster; hands clasped underneath; reverse clasp halfway
– use the yoga actions below to centre in this pose and all poses that follow


  1. Stabilizing:   From both sides of the pubic bone, soften and release the rectus abdominis in and then draw it up to the xiphoid process.
  2. Broadening & Lengthening:  INHALE into both sides of the floating back ribs (bottom of rib cage) to release and lengthen the lumbar spine down and the thoracic spine up.
  3. Feel it to Heal it: Use your awareness to locate and really observe the tension in your mid-back. Get to know it as though it is your best friend. Notice whether your observation of the tension begins to release it. Allow yourself time for this to occur.

– bolster or 2 folded blankets under the mid-thoracic spine
– support head if neck feels compressed
1) arms in T-position (25 Breaths)

2) arms overhead (25 Breaths)

WALL STRETCH (10 Breaths)
– hands into wall at chest height

EKA PADA WALL STRETCH (One-legged 10 Breaths each side)

UTTANASANA (Standing Forward Fold 10 Breaths)

ADHO MUKH SVANASANA (Downward-facing Dog 10 Breaths)

EKA PADA ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (One-legged 5 Breaths each side)

BALASANA to release (Child 5 Breaths)

ARDHA ADHO MUKHA VRKSASANA (Half Handstand 5 Breaths)

EKA PADA ARDHA ADHO MUKHA VRKSASANA (One-legged 5 Breaths each side)
BALASANA to release (Child 5 Breaths)

– one-legged kick-up;

heels into wall
– repeat kick-up with other leg


1) SALAMBA PURVOTTANASANA hands clasp back rung


CHAIR BHARAVAJASANA (10 Breaths each side)
– pelvis & legs do not move while rib cage turns

VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up the Wall 5 minutes)
– belt upper thighs
– sacrum on bolster

SAVASANA (Corpse 5 minutes)
– sandbags on wrists

  1.  Soften all six senses:
    • Soften inner lining of throat
    • Soften jaw
    • Soften tongue away from roof of mouth
    • Soften inner ear canals
    • Soften back of the eye balls
    • Soften space between the brows
  2. Scan body for sensation; soften areas of sensation
  3. Surrender to the silence and stillness

May the silence of your mind and the stillness of your body reveal the mysteries of your heart. Namaste.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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