Three Sciatic Nerve Stretches to Relieve Pain


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  If you have ever suffered from sciatica back pain, you know just how excruciating it can be. The good news is that many yoga asanas can help.


A tight piriformis muscle can be one of the reasons for this pain, as it can squeeze down on the thickest nerve of your body, the sciatic nerve, although sciatica can have other causes. Poses that allow for external rotation of the pelvis are the ones that will relieve sciatica pain.

Bridge Pose

Bridge pose happens to be my own personal favourite pose for clearing a sciatica flare-up. It also strengthens the back muscles, can help improve spinal alignment, and reduce tension in the lower back.

  1. Lay flat on your back, your knees bent, and your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Keep your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  3. Press your feet and arms firmly into the mat.
  4. Inhale and slowly lift your hips off the mat, using the strength of your legs and buttocks. Keep your feet and arms firmly grounded.
  5. Lift your hips as high as you comfortably can while maintaining a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  6. Clasp your hands under your back and press your arms and shoulders into the mat.
  7. Keep your chin slightly tucked to lengthen the back of your neck, and gaze straight ahead or upward.
  8. Hold the pose for a few breaths, breathing deeply and smoothly.
  9. Exhale and slowly lower your hips back down to the mat.
  10. Repeat the pose 2-3 times.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose is an intermediate-level yoga pose that requires flexibility in the hips, thighs, and spine. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Slide your right knee between your hands so that your right foot is near your left wrist and your right knee is near your right wrist.
  3. Extend your left leg behind, keeping your toes pointed and your left thigh parallel to the mat.
  4. Inhale and lengthen your spine by lifting your chest and pressing your shoulders down and back.
  5. Exhale and walk your hands forward, lowering your torso toward the floor. Keep your hips level and square, and maintain the length of your spine.
  6. When you can’t walk your hands forward any further, lower your torso down to the floor or onto a block, cushion, or bolster.
  7. Bring your hands to rest on either side of your right leg, and allow your forehead to rest on the mat or on your hands.
  8. Stay in the pose for 5-10 deep breaths, feeling a stretch in your right hip, thigh, and chest.
  9. To release the pose, press your hands into the floor and slowly lift your torso back up. Repeat on the other side.

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose is a yoga pose that stretches and strengthens the chest, shoulders, abdomen, and spine muscles and can also relive sciatic. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie flat on your stomach. Put your palms on the mat next to your shoulders and your elbows close to your body.
  2. Press the top of your feet and pubic bone firmly into the mat.
  3. Inhale and slowly straighten your arms, lifting your chest and head off the mat. Keep your elbows close to your body.
  4. Keep your shoulders relaxed and push them down away from your ears. Gaze straight ahead or slightly upward.
  5. Press your palms firmly into the mat to lengthen and straighten your arms.
  6. Keep your lower body grounded and your legs straight.
  7. Hold the pose for a few breaths, breathing deeply and smoothly.
  8. Exhale, slowly lower your chest and head back to the mat.
  9. Repeat the pose 2-3 times.

To modify the pose, you can keep your elbows bent and your forearms on the mat or lift only your chest off the mat instead of your entire upper body.

Please note that these poses can be intense and may not be suitable for everyone. If you have knee, hip, or back injuries or limitations, working with a qualified yoga teacher who can help you modify the pose or suggest alternative poses that are more appropriate for your body is essential.

Namaste rockstars!

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Ren Labelle

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