Back pain is something that plagues many people - especially those of us that sit working at a desk all day.

Studies have shown that regular yoga exercise can really help relieve the stress and tension in the back which causes the pain.

Some yoga exercises are more effective than others, with specific positions directly helping to alleviate back tension.

Try these animal style yoga exercises for a more calm, supple and relaxed you.

You might want to leave them for home though, it could look a little strange at the office...

Cat stretch

With the cat stretch, you've really got to do exactly what it says on the tin.

Get on all fours (yes, just like a cat), and keep your back as flat as possible.

As you breathe out arch your back up, tuck your chin into your chest and push your tailbone underneath.

Keep the position until you inhale again, and then repeat.

The cat stretch is great for a quick release of sharp back pain.

Downward dog

Just like the cat stretch, start this one on all fours - this time with your hands directly underneath your shoulders.

Walk your hands a few paces forward, keeping your fingers spread wide.

Try and keep your feet apart and your knees slightly bent.

Deeply inhale and exhale until you feel the benefits - which should be a few breaths in.

Fish pose

With the fish pose, you need to lie completely flat on your back (grab a yoga mat so as not to hurt yourself on the floor), and bend your knees up.

Using only your elbows, arch your back slightly off the ground. While doing this, be sure to keep your head on the ground flat.

For more tips and positions, invest in a yoga book which gives you step by step instructions. Hopefully you'll have a pain-free back in no time!

Posted by Matilda Jones