3 Yoga Poses to Help Soothe Sciatica

Half Lord-of-the-Fishes pose Yoga stretches for sciatica

Ease the pain of sciatica with these 3 helpful yoga stretches…

Sciatica can be annoying, painful, and downright miserable. If you’ve ever experienced the tingling, numbness, or pain that signifies sciatica, you know what I mean!

Unfortunately, lots of things can trigger sciatica – especially sitting for long periods of time, driving, or even walking or simply bending over.

Symptoms can include pain in the lower back, buttocks, back of thighs, and calves. You may also experience numbness or a burning, pinching, or tingling sensation in your legs and/or feet, or weakness in the legs or knees.

Fortunately, yoga can help! Many times, sciatica is caused by a short, tight piriformis muscle, or by tight hamstrings, both of which are very common among people who spend a lot of time sitting. Gently stretching these on a regular basis can help relax the muscles and ease pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Here are 3 of the best yoga poses to help ease the pain and discomfort of sciatica:

1.) Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

In the full version of ardha matsyendrasana, your upper body turns toward the upright knee. To help your upper body turn fully, place your left hand on the floor behind you; continue to hold your left knee with your right hand. Keep your heart lifted and keep the natural inward curve in your lower back. Use your inhalation to lift, lengthen, and expand; use your exhalation to twist without rounding your back.

Now you can deepen the action on the piriformis by increasing the resisted abduction of the thigh, while releasing any tightness in the groin. As you twist, use your hand on your left knee to gently draw or hug that knee toward your chest. Let your inner thigh or groin relax, allowing it to soften and melt downward toward the sit bone. As you draw the knee toward your chest with resistance, your thigh bone laterally releases out at the hip, pressing against the piriformis and encouraging it to release.

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2.) Standing Hamstring Stretches

Put your right foot on a support such as a chair, a table, or a bench. Your foot should be at or below hip level, with your leg straight, your knee and toes pointing straight up, and your quadriceps engaged. If your knee tends to lock or hyperextend, protect it with a microbend. Make sure the hip of your raised leg is not lifted, but rather is releasing downward (without the leg or foot turning outward). Hold for several breaths, repeating on each side. For a deeper stretch, bend forward over your leg at the hip crease, with your spine and leg straight and your quadriceps firm.

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3.) King Pigeon Hip Stretch (Raja Kapotasana)

This the strongest of the piriformis stretches. Bring yourself only to the edge of the stretch, so that you can remain there, breathe, and allow the piriformis to release. Start on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee forward and out to the right. Bring your right foot forward as well, until your heel is in line with your left hip and your shin is at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your foot flexed to protect your knee. To stretch the right piriformis, lean your upper body forward, tuck your left toes under, and slide or walk your left leg straight back, allowing your right thigh to rotate out passively as your hip descends toward the floor. Keep your hips level to the floor and square to the front of the mat; don’t let your pelvis turn or fall to one side. Support your right hip with a blanket if it does not reach the floor, and remain in the pose for anywhere from several breaths to a minute. Experiment with leaning your upper body forward over your shin, and with bringing your torso more upright to vary the stretch to the hip.

Read more at YogaInternational.com

 

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