Sometimes sciatica is nothing more than a minor nuisance causing moderate discomfort, but it can cause serious pain and yoga can help it.
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that travels from the lower back and down each leg, past the hips and buttocks. Sciatica occurs when this nerve becomes compressed/pinched. The compression can be a result of a herniated disk in your spine, a growth of bone on your vertebrae or sometimes a tumor. Disease such as diabetes can also cause damage.
Now let’s take a deeper look at what yoga poses can specifically help with sciatica pain.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s Pose in yoga is an easy, breezy way to stretch your spine and relieve tension specially for sciatica. If you’re super tight, grab a cushion or rolled-up towel to put under your chest, forehead, or thighs — wherever you need the most support.
1. Start on your hands and knees. Bring your knees together and sink your hips back onto your heels.
2. Extend your arms in front of you or allow them to rest alongside your body.
3. Allow your torso to relax completely as you fall heavy into your thighs.
4. Focus on deepening your breath to relax any areas of tightness or sensation.
5. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.
For more support, place a cushion under your thighs, chest, and forehead.
2. Downward-Facing Dog
1. Start on your hands and knees. Press into your hands as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
2. Drop your head down to bring your ears in line with your upper arms or your chin all the way in toward your chest.
3. Bend your knees to tilt your pelvis slightly forward.
4. Intuitively move your body through any variations that feel appropriate.
5. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
3. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
1. Starting in standing pose, such as Triangle, with your right foot in front.
2. Bend your right knee a bit deeper and yield your weight into your right foot.
3. Bring your left hand to your hip.
4. Slide your left foot forward a few inches as you reach your right hand to the floor in front of and to the right of your right foot.
5. Lift your left leg so it’s parallel to the floor, pressing out through your left heel.
6. Rotate your torso and hip open as you gaze forward.
7. To go deeper, lift your left hand up toward the ceiling and turn your gaze upward.
8. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
9. Slowly release by bending your right leg and lowering your left leg to the floor, returning to the starting position.
10. Repeat on the opposite side.
Stay supported by doing this pose against a wall.
4. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This soothing pose strengthens and stretches your spine, promoting circulation and flexibility.
1. Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.
2. Squeeze your elbows into your body.
3. Inhale to lift your head, chest, and shoulders.
4. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows and keep your chest open.
5. Engage your thighs, lower back, and abdominals.
6. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
7. Release the pose, rest, and repeat 1–3 times.
Cobra Pose gives your spine a nice gentle stretch. It also boosts circulation.
5. Knees-to-Chest Pose/Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)
This is an excellent pose to relieve tightness in your lower back, hips, and glutes.
To feel the pose less intensely, do one leg at a time.
1. Lie on your back and draw both knees in toward your chest.
2. Draw your ankles and knees together as you reach your hands around the backs of your thighs or around your shins.
3. If your hands reach, interlace your fingers or take hold of opposite elbows.
4. To deepen the stretch, lift your head and tuck your chin into your chest.
5. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
Ready to test the poses for yourself? Put on some comfy clothes, grab a towel or mat, and let’s dive into a gentle flow!
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