Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by compression or irritation of one of the spinal nerves, and/or the sciatic nerve itself. These symptoms, found in the lower back, glute, leg, or foot, can include pain, tingling, numbness, or loss of muscle control.
Tight muscles are often, but not always, to blame for these symptoms. Lengthening the muscles and releasing tension can create space around the nerves and ease pain. Try these yoga poses to release the lower back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings, and relieve your sciatic pain.
Child's Pose - Kneel on a mat or towel (knees together or apart) and allow the tailbone to relax back toward the heels to release the lower back. Walk the fingertips out to lengthen the spine and rest the forehead on the mat or a block. Soften the belly and hip flexors to allow yourself to fold forward. Hold for 6-10 breaths. Relax the body on each exhale.
Lotus Prep Pose - Sit up tall with legs extended out straight. Bend the right leg in parallel to your mat with foot flexed. Bend the left leg in, place the left ankle on the right knee, again foot flexed. Relax both knees toward the floor to release the hips and glutes. To assist place pillows or blocks under one or both knees to allow the muscles to relax further. To deepen the stretch place the hands in front of the legs and lean forward. Hold for 6-10 breaths. Repeat on opposite side.
Downward Facing Dog - From child's pose, keep the hands where they are, flip the toes under, and push the tailbone up and back to lengthen the spine. Keep the shoulders relaxed away from the ears, soften the space between the shoulder blades, and work the heels toward the mat to lengthen the back of the legs. Notice if the heels can work further down as your hamstrings soften and lengthen. Focus on lengthening the spine and the back of the legs. Hold for 6-10 breaths.