Yoga is a body-mind workout that restores, maintains, and increases the strength and flexibility of all parts involved in it. With respect to yoga for sciatica, it helps in strengthening as well as stabilizing the core muscles, increasing their flexibility, and strength of hip and spine. Regular practice of these poses also helps in decreasing the pain and discomfort in the lower back and other organs affected by sciatica. Although yoga is a complicated and a little difficult form of exercise, it can easily be learned and practiced under professional guidance. Whenever you are planning to include yoga in your daily workout, it is better to learn the right technique and effects from a certified trainer. People suffering from sciatica can learn the below-given yoga for sciatica poses and practice them on a daily basis:
The Knees To Chest Pose:
The knees-to-chest pose is very helpful in stretching the muscles in the lower back as well as the piriformis. For those who don’t know, the piriformis is a pear-shaped muscle situated in the deep side of the buttocks. In order to perform this pose, you need to lie flat on your back and keep your legs straight. The rear side of your knees needs to touch the ground. The pose begins with simple inhaling. As you exhale, you need to bend the knees gently to bring the thighs close to the chest. If possible, hug your knees with your arms as you press your thighs towards your chest. Ensure that your back remains flat against the ground during this pose, try to maintain the pose for as long as possible. Keep your breathing slow and deep and slowly get back to the original position. Increase the repetition of this exercise as you get comfortable with the pose. In case, you are not able to bend both your knees, you can do a mild version of this pose by folding one knee at a time. Repeat the process with alternate legs.
Also known as the bhujangasana, this pose helps stretch and strengthen the core and lower back muscles. To perform this asana, you need to lie flat on your stomach on a yoga mat. Place both the palms next to your shoulders and tuck the elbows to your sides. Now, slowly lift your chest as you push through both your arms during inhalation. Make sure that your back is arched but your buttocks and rest of the lower body are well pressed against the mat. Try to hold this position for as long as possible and go down to the original position while exhaling. Try to repeat the process 2-3 times depending on your comfort level. Apart from yoga for sciatica, the asana also helps in relieving stress, anxiety, back pain, and menstrual cramps. It is especially recommended for those who have a sedentary lifestyle.
The cat-cow pose is performed to improve the backward and forward bending of the lower back. It is very effective in improving overall posture, balance, and spinal flexibility. To perform this asana, you need to get down on all your limbs and bring your neck and back in a straight but neutral position. Slowly inhale as you tighten up your lower abdomen and arch your back towards the ceiling. Try to maintain this state for a few seconds and then get back to the original position as you exhale. Next, you need to arch your lower back a little as you point the tailbone out and hold the position for a few seconds. Get back to the normal position as you exhale. The process needs to be repeated 5-10 times and increased as you become more and more comfortable with the movement. The cat-cow pose is also recommended for back pain patients as it helps relax the back muscles to a considerable extent.
The bridge pose is considered quite useful in strengthening the thighs and lower back muscles. Lie down on your back while bending both your knees as you keep your feet flat on the ground. Keep the arms straight to the sides and gently raise your buttocks as you inhale. Try to keep your hips in the air for a few seconds and bring them back down as you exhale.
Balasana or the Child’s Pose:
This pose is one of the best ways to relax and tune your body. It is quite useful in lengthening and stretching the spine, improving flexibility, and opening up the lower back, thighs, and hips. If you are in pain or just starting with the asana, you may begin by placing a bolster or a cushion under your chest, forehead, or thighs. To begin the asana, get down on all your fours. Bring the knees together and slowly sink the buttocks back into the heels. Now extend the arms in the front and allow both to rest alongside the body.