Yoga for sciatica can help relieve pain experienced when there is pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs down the back and onto the leg. A number of yoga poses, such as the locust and bridge poses, can help ease the pressure and reduce pain. You need to be careful when practicing yoga for sciatica, though, as a number of poses can make the pain worse.
To do yoga for sciatica, start with the locust pose. The locust pose is a simple back bend that will strengthen your spine and relieve sciatic nerve pain. Lie on the mat on your stomach. If you need extra cushioning, place a blanket under your hips. Put your arms at your sides with the palms facing up. Your forehead should be on the floor. Point your toes together.
As you breathe out, lift your legs, arms, and upper body off of the floor. Hold the toes pointed together as you stretch and lift through the legs. Push your arms up toward the ceiling, keeping them straight. Hold the pose for a minute and then breathe out as you release. You can keep your legs on the floor if lifting them hurts.
Another good yoga pose for sciatica is the bridge. To do the bridge pose, lie on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet and knees together. Position your feet so that they are close to your buttocks.
Breathe out and push your arms and feet into the floor as you roll your spine up. Your buttocks and lower back will lift off the floor. As you continue to roll up, your thighs will become parallel to the floor. Grasp your hands together under your spine so that your shoulders are balanced correctly. Hold the pose for a minute and then roll back down slowly.
You will need to avoid a number of poses when doing yoga for sciatica and may need to adjust some poses. For instance, try the downward dog on bended knees instead of straight legs. You may also want to bend your knees when doing a standing forward bend to reduce pain and pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Instead of doing a seated forward bend, which can make sciatica worse, try a modification. Sit on the floor with both legs extended. You may want to place a blanket or pillow under your buttocks. Bend one leg in toward the mid-thigh of the other and then bend forward. If you still experience pain when bending one leg during a seated bend, skip the pose altogether.