Yoga and Sciatica


Sciatica is pain felt chiefly at the back of the legs and often in the buttocks. It is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatica pain is sometimes felt in the lower back and hip region. Often sciatica is caused by Piriformis muscle aggravation and this places stress on the sciatic nerve that runs thru that muscle group. Much of this pain can be relieved by Yoga. Yoga has been utilized to prevent future sciatica attacks. In fact after two back-to-back attacks of sciatica I found in my research that Yoga created a more balanced muscle tone. In turn this muscle condition alleviated some of the stress causing my sciatica.

One fact I discovered was that if practiced correctly Yoga could reduce sciatica pain levels. This is primarily because Yoga employs various stretching methods that will impact the muscle groups that are the cause of sciatica.

Listen to Your Body!

On of the premises’ of Yoga is that you have to listen to you body. You must not attempt any of the Yoga exercises that put too much strain on your body. If you feel pain when trying a Yoga pose you should stop. Most poses allow you to gently ease into the proper posture. Do no force your body to go beyond any position that causes excessive pain.

Yoga is a personal practice-that is each person responds in a different manner to each yoga pose. One of the most helpful poses for sciatica is Supta Padangusthasana or Big Toe Stretch. This Yoga pose is performed while lying on your back.

Sample of beginning of Yoga Big Toe Pose

Big Toe Yoga Pose Position 1

1. Lie on your back with legs outstretched. If your head does not rest comfortable on the floor place it on a folded towel under your head. Bend your right knee and hug it into your chest.

Second position of Yoga Big Toe Pose

Big Toe Yoga Pose Position 2

2. Place a strap or belt around the ball of your right foot. Hold the ends of the strap with each of your hands.

Yoga Big Toe Position 3

Big Toe Yoga Pose Position 3

3. Inhale and raise your right leg up toward the ceiling while straightening the leg until it is perpendicular with the floor. Walk your hands up the strap until it your arms are fully extended. Keep tension on the strap while performing this action.

4. NOTE: it is important to keep both sides of your buttocks equally on the floor

5. Your left foot should remain flexed and that leg should be pressing towards the floor.

6. Hold this position for 5 breaths. As you become comfortable with this exercise increase the hold to about 10 breaths.

7. To end the exercise bend the right knee back to your chest and extend the right leg parallel with left leg. Rest with your hands at your sides breathing deeply.

Big Toe Yoga Pose Variation

Big Toe Yoga Pose Variation

8. Once you are comfortable with this exercise and feel no pain while performing the pose, you can add this more advanced VARIATION.

9. Grab the strap with your left hand and place your right arm on the floor extending from your torso. Then gently move your left arm to the left and hold for several breaths.

This is just one of a dozen yoga poses that will positively impact your sciatica pain levels.

More Yoga Information

More detailed instructions as well as individual videos are available with the “Sciatica Pain Relief Guide” Just click on RECOMMENDED READING for all the details of that system.