Sciatica is a very common spine condition, with an estimated 3 million cases in the US per year. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the Sciatic Nerve, which runs from the lower back to the feet on both sides of the body. Since the sciatic nerve runs all the way down the lower body, often times the symptoms can be felt through the entire lower body. The compression of the Sciatic Nerve can cause pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or difficulty moving the leg or foot. Since these symptoms are caused by compression of the Sciatic Nerve, treatments focus on decompressing the Sciatic Nerve. These sciatica yoga poses can be very effective at decompressing the nerve causing the pain. But, of course, consult with your doctor before trying any treatment, and stop if you feel any discomfort.
Sciatica yoga poses
Simple Seated Twist
Simple Seat Twist is a gentle spinal twist that is recommended for beginners to intermediate yoga students. Begin by sitting on the ground in a cross-legged position. Sit up tall, exhale, and tighten your abdominals. Begin your inhale with raising your arms above your head. On your exhale, twist your body to the right and begin lowering your arms with your exhale. Lower your arms until your left hand is on your right knee, and your right hand is on the ground beside you. Hold this position for a few breaths, then repeat for the other side.
Sanding Twist is a pose that is very similar to the Simple Seated Twist, but allows you to focus a little more on stretching the lower back.
First place a chair parallel to the wall. Lift your right foot onto the chair, your knee should be bent about 90 degrees while your left leg should be straight. Begin to lift your left heel and come to your toes. Slowly turn your body toward the wall, while using your hands as balance. Turn the chair and your body around 180 degrees and repeat for the other side.
Open Lizard is designed to stretch your hip flexor, which is often in discomfort due to Sciatica.
Begin in Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward and between your hands while keeping your hands on your mat. Lower your left knee to the floor while pointing your toes. Slowly lower your right knee to the right, while allowing your foot to roll over. You should be on the outside of your right foot. Keep your arms straight, press your chest forward and lift your chin. This will increase the stretch.
Hold for a few breaths and repeat for the other side.
This pose will stretch your hips as well as your lower back. You can stretch this poses as deeply as you want based on your comfort level. Begin this pose in Downward Facing Dog. Lift your right knee forward to just behind your right hand while keeping your outer right leg resting on the mat.
If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Keep your left hip pointing down. You can rest your hands on your hips, right leg, or you can walk them out in front of you bringing your torso over your right knee. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the left side.
Figure Four is a relaxing version of the Pigeon pose mentioned before. This pose targets piriformis muscle tightness, which is a common cause of sciatica. Begin by lying on your back with your legs in the air. Move your right ankle to your left thigh just above your knee. Reach your right hand through the open space by your right leg and grab your left hand that is reaching around the outside of your left thigh.
Slowly being to bend your knee toward your chest. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your right hip.
Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the left side.
Cat Pose helps increase strength and flexibility to the back, neck, and torso. Coordinating this movement with your breathing is also very relaxing and can relieve stress. Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Inhale and drop your belly towards the mat while lifting your chin and chest toward the ceiling. Hold this poses for a few breaths.
Next, begin to slowly exhale, tighten your belly into your spine, and round your back toward the ceiling. Bring your chin down toward your chest. Hold this pose for a few breaths. Repeat these movements 5-10 times. Pigeon and cat both are the great and fruitful sciatica yoga poses.
The final pose is also the easiest pose. One final stretch to focus on your lower back and hips. Begin on your hands and knees. Slowly move your hips backward until they are as close to your heels as they can get. Keep your hands on the mat in front of you and hold this position for as long as you’d like. You should feel this stretch in your lower back and your hips. So let’s try these sciatica yoga poses.
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