A Yoga Sequence to Help with Sciatic Pain


According to NHS - “Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve, which runs from your hips to your feet, is irritated. It usually gets better in 4 to 6 weeks but can last longer.”

There is a sciatic nerve in each leg and it can cause pain anywhere along that nerve, it’s the longest nerve in the human body.



Sciatic pain is a common problem we see in clients, and can flare up with both active movements such as, running, cycling, bending over, moving a lot as well as stationary activities such as sitting at a desk or driving for long periods of time.  

You may experience pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve around the lower back, bottom, down the backs of your legs or into feet and toes

And the types of sensations you might feel are;

  • Pain might feel like stabbing, burning or shooting

  • tingling – like pins and needles

  • numbness

  • weakness

You may also experience problems with feet and ankles.

The cause of sciatica could be serious such as a herniated disk in lumbar spine, but it can also cause by a muscle called the piriformis, it’s a small but deep muscle. The piriformis muscle is in very close proximity to the sciatic nerve.

A few simple postures practiced with awareness can help overcome some pain. Please work within your own range of motion, not moving through pain, numbness or tingling like pins and needles.


Half Lord of the Fishes Pose -Ardha Matsyendrasana (variation)

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A mild stretch for the piriformis muscle in this twist, to release and lengthen.

  • Start with legs outstretched in front of you. You can pro your hips up on a blanket or pillow.

  • Bend the right knee, place the sole of the foot on the mat, keep both sit bones on the floor.

  • Inhale the left arm up and twist towards your right leg, hugging the left arm around the right leg

  • Prop your right hand up onto finger tips, keeping length in the spine.

  • Inhale, press through the sit bones lengthen the spine and exhale twist

  • Keep shoulders and collar bones open

  • Stay for 5-10 breath

VARIATIONS

  • Sit on a blanket or cushion

  • Place sole of the foot to the outside of the knee


King Pigeon Pose - Raja kapotasana

  • Start on all fours (on hands and knees), bring your right knee forward towards the back of the right wrist. Move your ankle towards the front of your left hip. The more your right leg is parallel with the front of the mat, the more intense the hip opener.

  • Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and let the top of the foot rest on the floor. Try to imagine the leg straightening out behind you, with the heel pointing up towards the ceiling.

  • Keep the hips square, lengthen the tailbone towards the floor, keep weight evenly between hips.

  • Place a blanket, block or cushion under the right hip if you feel you need support to keep your hips level.

  • Gently lower yourself down over your front leg

  • Lower down onto your forearms, extend arms out on front of you or bend your elbows and create a pillow for your head.

  • Stay for 5 breaths - 1 min, trying to release the hip with each exhale.

  • Come out of the pose by pushing back through the hands and lifting the hips, move the leg back into all fours.

VARATIONS

  • As you inhale lift your upper body off the mat, come on your fingertips, hands shoulder width apart, draw your navel in, your tailbone down and feel your chest open.

  • If your hips feel open, work towards bringing your right shin towards parallel.

  • *If you feel any pain in your knees, bring the shin closer towards the hip or try reclined pigeon

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Reclined pigeon - Eye of the Needle

Reclining One-Legged Pigeon," and "Dead Pigeon Pose."

This is a great option if you feel King Pigeon is uncomfortable or too tight.

  1. Start by lying on your back with the knees bent and soles of the feet on the floor, hip width apart.

  2. Cross your outer right ankle over your left knee (top of the thigh)

  3. Flex the right foot

  4. On an exhalation, draw your left knee in toward your chest. Slide your arms either side of the left leg clasping hands around the back of your leg’s thigh. Or if possible around the front of your shin.

  5. Keep your back relaxed on the mat. Release your shoulder blades down toward your waist. Relaxing your shoulders away from the ears.

  6. Draw your tailbone and lower back down toward the mat, feeling the spine lengthen.

  7. Tuck your chin slightly

  8. Hold for up to one minute.

  9. Keep your breath smooth and even.

  10. As you exhale, release your leg and place your right foot on the floor.

  11. Repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same amount of time.

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Bridge Pose  - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

  1. Lie on your back, arms extended, palms down.

  2. Bend your knees, place soles of the feet on the floor. Have feet hips distance apart.

  3. Keep feet parallel, press down through the feet and lift the hips up towards the sky.

  4. Press down through the shoulders and arms, feel the breastbone move towards the chin. Keep the neck relaxed.

  5. Lengthen the tailbone, draw ribs and belly button in.

  6. Buttocks are firm but not clenched

  7. Take 5 breaths in this pose, holding for longer to build strength without compromising alignment.

  8. Slowly lower down on an exhale.

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Reclining Big Toe Pose  -Supta Padangusthasana

  1. Lie on your back, on an inhale draw the right leg towards you, loop a strap around the ball of the foot.

  2. Straighten the leg towards the ceiling, keeping arms and shoulder relaxed, head on the mat.

  3. Press the heel of the foot towards the ceiling and toes point towards you, keeping length in the back of the leg, knee can be bent here if necessary.

  4. Keep both hips pressing down towards the mat.

  5. Hold for at least 1 min, up to 3 mins

  6. Take the belt in the right hand and slowly lower the right leg out to the side toward the floor.

  7. Inhale, draw the belly button in to help raise the leg back and release.

  8. Hod out to the side for at least 5 breaths

  9. Repeat on opposite side.

VARIATIONS

  • Keep the extended leg bent

  • Bent the opposite leg placing the sole of the foot on the floor rather than it being outstretched.

  • As you take the leg out to the side, let the opposite knee drop to the opposite side, acting as a counterbalance to help keep hips grounded.

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You can find details of our yoga classes based in Central Scotland - West Lothian / North Lanarkshire HERE.

If you feel you are experiencing pain, a Kinetic Chain Release (KCR) treatment can help to alleviate pain from injuries or repetitive strain. You can find out more here or book a treatment. The Barn, ML7 5TT, Central Scotland, on West Lothian, North Lanarkshire border, UK.



 

MEET JO

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Hello, I’m obsessed with my new puppy Riley, I could eat pancakes for breakfast everyday and I’m obsessed with helping others feel their best by alleviating pain through yoga, hands on treatments and Ayurveda.

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