Yoga for sciatica


Sciatica is one of those conditions that most people just bear through clenched teeth, because they’re not sure it qualifies as something to see the doctor about! Yet, at times, the pain can get excruciating and this is unfortunate, since all a sciatica sufferer needs to do is yoga! Sciatica is the painful condition caused when the sciatic nerve is pushed upon. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body and it runs from the base of the spine through the buttocks all the way down to the heels. Since it runs through a fairly large part of the body, there are many reasons why this nerve may get aggravated. The result is usually pain and discomfort, usually in the buttocks on either side. Approximately 40% of adults are estimated to suffer from sciatica at some point in their lives.

The treatment of sciatica depends upon the cause, which can be determined by a physician. However, one of the best ways to achieve this is through a consistent yoga practice with poses specifically targeted towards the hip and back. These work well to establish a balance within the body and open up tight hips and other large muscles in the legs. Here are the best yoga poses to cure sciatica.

Best Yoga Poses to Cure Sciatica

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Benefits: Increases range of motion in hip

How to perform the asana

  • Start with a four legged pose with palms and feet on the ground.
  • Exhale and bring right knee towards right wrist.
  • Bend right knee fully, bringing ankle near groin.
  • Slide left leg back, extending fully. Keep tops of toes on the floor and sole facing skyward.
  • Lower right buttock to floor, pressing tailbone forward to stretch the lower back.
  • Support with fingertips and hold for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Naukasana (Boat Pose)

Benefits: Strengthens back and helps people with hernia

How to perform the asana

  • Lie on back with feet together and arms by the side.
  • Exhaling, lift head, chest and feet off the ground, extending arms forward, pointing towards feet.
  • Contract abdominals as the body bends into a wide V shape.
  • Hold, breathing deeply throughout.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

Benefits: Strengthens back muscles

How to perform the asana

  • Lie on back with legs extended, arms by the side, palms facing down.
  • Bend knees and bring feet 10 inches from hips, hip width apart.
  • Lift middle and lower back off the floor, contracting the glutes, and putting pressure on the palms and feet.
  • Rolling in shoulders, lift upper back so that chest touches the chin. Keep thighs parallel to floor.
  • Hold, breathing deeply for a few breaths.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Benefits: Strengthens and improves flexibility in the back

How to perform the asana

  • Lie on stomach, toes flat on the floor and forehead touching the ground.
  • Place palms on the floor under the shoulders, keeping elbows close to side.
  • Exhaling, lift head, chest and upper abdomen off the floor, keeping navel pressed to the ground.
  • Hold pose, putting pressure on the palms and keeping feet close together always.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Benefits: Opens up hip, groin, shoulders and chest

How to perform the asana

  • Stand upright, keeping feet about twice-hip width apart.
  • Turn right foot out by 45 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees. Ensure heel of right foot is towards the centre of the left foot.
  • Inhaling, bend sideways to the right from the hip, without rotating hips forward.
  • Let right hand go down to the shin or ankle, while left hand goes up. Keep both arms in one straight line.
  • Turn head upwards to look at the left palm. Hold for a few breaths, getting deeper into the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Benefits: Strengthens back and hip, improves flexibility in back

How to perform the asana

  • Begin with the triangle pose, resting left hand on the hip.
  • Move right foot forward, move right hand a little away from the foot, palm resting on the floor.
  • Supporting all your weight on the right foot and hand, lift left leg till parallel to the floor.
  • Extend left arm upwards. Turn head up to look at left hand.
  • Hold, release and repeat on the other side.
Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)

Benefits: Stretches the inner thighs, groin and knees

How to perform the asana

  • Sit with back straight and legs fully extended in front.
  • Bend both knees and bring both feet towards groin, soles touching each other.
  • Clasp feet with hands and bring as close to groin as possible. Breathing, press knees down towards floor.
  • Flap the knees up and down like a butterfly’s wings, beginning slow and going faster.
  • Slow down and stop. Keeping back straight, bend torso forwards, pressing elbows on thighs. Push knees towards floor. Inhale and come up.

While most people in general good health can attempt these poses, be sure to consult your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical condition or are pregnant. These yoga poses have many benefits beyond just curing sciatica, so practising them consistently will lead to an overall feeling of wellbeing.

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