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SIX Yoga Asanas that can Relieve Sciatica Pain

SIX Yoga Asanas that can Relieve Sciatica Pain

Let us explore how yoga can help people suffering from sciatica.

Let us first understand what is sciatica. Sciatica is a pain radiating from the lower back down to the hips, buttocks, thighs, legs and can go down even to the feets and toes. Thus it is easy to identify sciatica from other back pain. It can vary from a mild ache to a sharp severe pain.

In between the vertebrae of the spinal cord are discs which gives cushioning and support to the spine. Due to injury, overweight, excess stress or natural ageing, these discs wear out and as a result they bulge or break open. This may affects the nearby root nerve which get pressed which causes pain or numbness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. This usually happens in the lower back as lower back is most widely used in day to day activities and carries the whole weight of the body. There could be other causes of sciatica other than a herniated disc, like bone spurs, tight piriformis muscle, etc but the main cause of sciatica pain is that the root nerve gets pressed or damaged and as a result it emanates pain throughout the area in which the nerve travels.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It starts in the lower back, run through the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet on both sides. Sciatica pain can last for few months or some years. Though its healing is natural, Yoga helps to heal faster, alleviate the pain and provide a natural remedy instead of going for pain killers. Yoga can reduce the symptoms of herniated disc, sometimes even reducing the herniation itself.

The following postures strengthen the back, and pelvic muscles and improve the flexibility of the spine, aligns the spine, calms down the mind, reduce stress levels and bring relief to the your pain.

Consult your doctor and a qualified yoga instructor before you begin these yoga poses. Do not strain in any of the poses, do as much as is comfortable.

1. VYAGHRASANA – TIGER POSE

This pose relaxes the sciatic nerves and even tones the spinal nerves. It loosens up the legs, hips, back, and even stretches the abdominal muscles and thus is even good for digestion.

How to do it?

Step1: Sit in Vajrasana. Stand on knees and lean forward, putting both the palms on the floor just below the shoulders. Separate the knees so its well aligned with the hips and the hands also in line with the knees. Arms and thighs are perpendicular to the floor. This is the starting position.

Step2: Inhale fully and head goes up, pushing the spine down, so the back becomes concave and simultaneously raise the right leg up and stretching it up and back and then bend the right knee try to bring the toes towards the back of the head. Hold the position and breath in for a few seconds.

Step3: Breathing out, arch the back up, straighten the arms and bend the head down towards, simultaneously straighten the right leg again, bend the knee and swing the leg and bring the knee towards the nose. The leg will not touch the floor and the thighs press against the chest. Hold the position and breath out for a few seconds.

Step4: Again breathing in continue as step2. Do this for few rounds with right leg and continue the same with the left leg.

2. PARVATASANA – MOUNTAIN POSE
Also called the downward dog facing pose.

This pose will align, lengthen, and strengthen the lower back and reduce sciatica pain. It also relieves stress and calms the mind.

How to do it?

Step1: Go down on your hands and knees, aligning the hips above the knees and hands just below shoulders, palms on the floor.

Step2: Exhale and lift your knees off the ground with the knees just gently bent at first. Gradually straighten the knees and raise the buttocks high. Breathe normally in the final position.

Step3: Ideally the heels should stretch to the floor. The hands, legs are straight and not bent in the final position, and the head is in between the arms, look at the knees.

Step4: Hold this for sometime and then exhale and dropp your knees gently back to the floor.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Avoid this asana if suffering from High Blood pressure or any heart conditions, glaucoma, active ear infection or any disease of the brain.

3. SHALABHASANA – LOCUST POSE
Shalabha means “locust”(Grasshopper); Asana means pose

Shalabhasana strengstens the muscles of the legs, buttocks, and the back. It is excellent for lower back and also relieves sciatica. It also massages the abdominal organs.

How to do it?

Step 1:Lie in prone position (face down) on mat. Make fists with fingers with thumbs tucked in, and place it under the thighs such that the back of the hands is touching the ground. This is starting position.
Step2: While inhaling raise both the legs up as high as possible and make sure the knees are not bent.
Step 3: Hold this position as long as possible (or for a minute), continue normal breathing.
Step4:While exhaling, gently lower the legs, release the fists and lay the hand by the sides.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Avoid this asana if suffering from hernia, peptic ulcer, High Blood pressure or any heart conditions.

4. BHUJANGASANA – COBRA POSE

Bhujanga means cobra/snake/serpent; Asana means posture

This pose tones the buttocks, and is excellent for the lower back as it improves blood circulation in the spinal and pelvic regions. Soothes sciatica pain. This pose is also good for menstrual problems, digestion, respiratory problems and for stress and fatigue.

How to do it?

Step1: Lie on the stomach keeping the legs straight. Hands close to and by the sides of the body. Relax.
Step2: Gently fold the elbows and put the palms flat on the ground below and near the shoulders. The elbows are pointing backwards. While breathing in slowly raise the head, chest, abdomen and straighten the arms simultaneously. Try to use the support of arms to raise the upper body, like a cobra who is alert and ready to strike. Arch the back. Stretch the neck up.
Step3:In the final position, the pelvis should be on ground and the navel not more than 3cm above the ground. Hold the posture as long as possible and retain the breath or keep breathing normally. Feel the stretch in the neck, back, abdomen and calf muscles.
Step4:As you breathe out, lower the abdomen, chest and head on the ground with the support of hands and return to the starting position and relax.
Note that the arms might straighten fully or not in the final pose depending on the flexibility of the back.

CONTRA INDICATIONS:
Those suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, hyperthyroidism should avoid this asana or do it with an expert guidance.

5. VIPARITA SHALABHASANA – SUPERMAN/SUPERWOMAN POSE

This pose massages the spine and makes it supple. It tones the lower back, relieve sciatica pain and also tones the abdominal region.

How to do it?

Step1: Lie down on the stomach with arms stretched above the head and keep the legs and feet together and rest the forehead on the ground.

Step2: Gently, bring the chin on the floor and as you inhale simultaneously raise up the head, both the hands and both the legs off the ground, as high as is comfortable and a little beyond. Keep the hands and legs straight and do not bend them. Stretch the hands forward and the legs backward as if someone is pulling you from both the ends.

Step3: Keep breathing normally and retain the position for at least upto a count of 6 to 7 breaths. The whole body is balanced on the abdominal muscles.

Step4: Relax after you finish, gently lowering back the hands, legs and forehead on the ground. This is one round. Let the breathing come to normal pace and repeat for upto three rounds.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Avoid this asana if suffering from hernia, peptic ulcer, High Blood pressure or any heart conditions.

6. MATSYA KRIDASANA – FLAPPING FISH POSE
(relaxation pose)
This pose resembles a flapping fish.

This relaxation pose relaxes the lower back and relieves one from sciatic pain. It also stretches the abdominal area and relieves constipation.

How to do it?

Step1: Lie down on the stomach. Rest the forehead on both the hands(the palm of one hand over the backside of the other hand).

Step2: Now, bend the left leg and bringing it sideways get the left knee towards chest. The other leg remains straight.

Step2: Gently keeping the hands as it is tilt them towards the left such that the left elbows are just next to the left knee. Keep the right side of the head rested on the hands. Relax in this position breathing in and out normally. After some time, change the side.
When done with the other side also, gently becoming aware of body and surroundings, slowly release the posture.

 

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