If you’re interested in using yoga for sciatica pain management, here are a few poses you may find helpful.
Yoga for Sciatica Pain: 5 Relieving Stretches
What is sciatica? It’s a form of back pain that originates from the irritation of the sciatic nerve. Common symptoms include numbness, weakness, and varying degrees of pain or discomfort in the back, legs, or buttocks areas.
1. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Child’s pose is one of the most basic yoga poses, but it may help with a few of your sciatica symptoms. This basic yoga pose helps stretch out and lengthen the spine.
It also helps promote flexibility in your lower back, hips, and thighs. Here’s how to do the Child’s Pose:
- Kneel on your yoga mat.
- Keep your knees far apart and your big toes together.
- With your arms extended in front of you and aligned with your shoulders, slowly bring your belly down to your thighs. Allow your torso to rest completely on your thighs.
- Rest your head on the mat.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 3-5 minutes.
Remember, sciatica begins at the lower part of your spine and goes all the way down to the sole of your foot. When you stretch out the muscles around the nerve, it may provide some sciatica pain relief.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
The Cobra Pose is another basic pose that stretches out your spine. It also helps improve spine strength and flexibility.
Here’s how to do the Cobra Pose:
- Lay face down on your yoga mat.
- Place your palms on the yoga mat. Make sure your hands are aligned with your shoulders.
- Press your elbows in towards your body.
- As you inhale, press down with your hands and slowly lift your head, chest, and shoulders forward and up.
- Keep the back of your neck long as you continue to roll your shoulders up.
- Breathe deeply as you hold the pose for half a minute.
- As you exhale, slowly lower your upper body back to the mat.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
Tip: If you like how this pose feels, you can follow it up with Salamba Bhujangasana or the Sphinx Pose.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Many yoga poses usually begin with the Downward Facing Dog Pose. As it engages your entire body, it helps promote proper alignment and helps relieve general tightness.
Here’s how to do Downward Facing Dog:
- Get on your hands and knees on your yoga mat.
- Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Tuck your toes under your feet. Make sure your toes are the only part of your feet touching the mat.
- Spread your fingers as widely as you can and grip your fingers on the mat.
- Make sure you feel stable on your hands and knees before proceeding to the next step.
- As you inhale, press your hands in and slowly lift your hips upwards and pointing to the ceiling. Your feet should be flat on the mat at this point.
- Drop your head and hold it in between your arms with your chin close to your chest.
- Take deep breaths and hold this pose for a minute or so. As you inhale, you can lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, you can soften it.
Tip: Don’t worry if your heels don’t touch the ground when you do this pose. It’ll happen naturally as you continue to practice this pose and gain more flexibility.
4. Chair Kapotasana (Seated Pigeon Pose)
Many yoga stretches for sciatica require you to lie down on a mat or get down on all fours. If you’re experiencing sciatica pain, you may find it challenging to get down on a yoga mat.
The Chair Pigeon Pose is a variation pose that allows you to do stretches while you sit on a chair. Here’s how to do it:
- Find a chair where you can sit comfortably with both feet flat on the ground. Your thighs should also be parallel to the floor.
- Place your right ankle over your left knee. Keep your right foot flexed.
- Place your right hand under your right knee.
- Place your left hand under your right foot.
- As you inhale, slowly lengthen your back as tall as possible.
- As you exhale, slowly bend your upper body forward. You should feel a stretch on the right glute and hip.
- If it feels comfortable, you can keep the stretch going by allowing your head to drop slowly.
- Maintain the pose for a minute or so while breathing deeply. Repeat it on the left side.
This pose is also a great way to sneak in yoga exercises for sciatica pain while you’re at work!
5. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
This simple pose helps your body relax and recover. Yogis believe that this pose helps boost energy and helps ease lower-back pain.
Here’s how to do it:
- Position your mat perpendicularly against a wall.
- Sit on your mat and face the wall.
- Slowly lay down on the mat. Rest your head on a pillow or folded towel.
- Lift your legs along the wall. Make sure your hips are as close to the wall as they can be.
- Rest your arms in a comfortable position along the side of your body.
- Relax and hold this pose for 10-20 minutes.
Tip: If you need a little more support, put a cushion under your hips.
Remember, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you attempt any new treatment for sciatica. If you’re looking for alternative ways of treating back pain, yoga is definitely worth considering.
Studies show that yoga can help reduce back pain, improve flexibility, and it even helps reduce dependency on pain medication. Apart from yoga, there are other things you can do to help manage the symptoms of sciatica.
Have you tried any of these yoga poses for sciatica? How did it go? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.