yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches
Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
August 4, 2023 ·  5 min read

Yoga for Sciatica: 8 Poses in 8 Minutes for Back Pain Relief

Have you considered trying yoga stretches for sciatica pain relief? If you’re suffering from the pain of sciatica, like I have intermittently for years, you know just how much it can hold up your daily life and prevent you from doing the things you love. You may be able to find relief with this yoga for sciatica routine.

Let’s start with what the sciatic nerve actually is. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, starting at the spine base and running right down through your thigh and calf muscles to your foot.

The average person has about a 40% chance of experiencing some sciatica pain throughout their lives. It might not be a chronic pain, but you could have trouble with it. Sometimes it’s as simple as tingling in your legs or weakness in your knees.

What is sciatica?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Symptoms Of Sciatica

  • Pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve in the lower back, buttock, back of the thigh, and/or calf.
  • Fatigue, numbness, or loss of feeling in your legs and/or feet.
  • An electric, tingling, burning, pinching, or pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness that can cause your knees to buckle when you stand up from sitting.
  • Foot drop: a condition in which you are not able to flex your ankles enough to walk on your heels.
  • Reduced reflexes in your Achilles tendon and knee.

What Causes Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica pain can be caused by herniation in your lumbar spine – this is the part of your spine that curves inward, near your lower-middle back. This is serious and you should consult a doctor about this immediately. However, nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock (behind the gluteus maximus) that can affect the adjacent sciatic nerve when it there is a muscle spasm or strain, tightening or swelling.

Yoga For Sciatica

Before you begin using yoga for sciatica pain, consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise routine. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

If you’ve had the pleasure of taking a yoga class, you know how beneficial it can be for relieving almost any kind of back pain. In the case of sciatica pain specifically, yoga time and again has proven to provide that relief. However, on those days when you’re really feeling the pain of a pinched sciatic nerve, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, hop in a car, drive to a yoga studio, get your much-needed relief, and then have to drive all the way home again.

Thanks to the Internet, however, more and more yoga teachers are recognizing the need to provide classes online. You can now can get the same value for less than half the cost of an average yoga class in the comfort of your living room.

In addition taking online yoga classes for back pain, below are some of the best poses that the Yoga Download team recommend trying in the meantime.

The Standing Back Twist

standing back twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

This is a great pose for people who aren’t bendy enough to start with some of these other poses. Put your foot up on a chair, and place the outside of your opposite hand on your raised knee (left hand to the right knee or right hand to left knee). Place your other hand on your hip. Turning your upper body while keeping your hips facing forward hold the position for thirty seconds, then switch. Don’t push past where your comfortable.

The Knee Raise

Knee raise, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lying on your back draw one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Push down with your knee and pull up with your hands. Keep your shoulders on the floor.

The Two Knee Twist

two knee twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lie on your back. Splay your arms to form a capital “T.” Keeping your shoulders on the floor, turn your knees out to one side. Keep your shoulders on the floor. Hold the position for a minute, then alternate sides.

The Single Knee Twist

single knee twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lie on your back. Keeping one leg straight, bend one knee to a 90° angle, place the opposite hand on that knee. Turn to face the arm still on the floor. Keep both shoulders on the floor.

The Twisted Lunge

twisted lunge, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

This is a trickier pose but really opens your hips. Step one leg forward, bend at the knee. The other leg should stay out behind you. Try to keep your feet one leg’s length apart. Turning your back, place your opposite elbow on the outside your bent knee. Bring your palms together. Hold for thirty seconds.

The Seated Twist

seated twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend on the leg at the knee and place it on the outside of the other knee. You can keep the leg straight or curl it up, whichever is comfier. Put one hand flat on the floor behind you, place your opposite elbow on the outside of your bent knee. Turn to face behind you, keeping your legs pointing forward.

The Cat Pose

cat pose, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Super easy. Get on your hands and knees. Bend your back down and lift your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Breathe and hold for ten seconds. Return to a flat back, then tuck your chin into your chest and raise your back. Hold for ten seconds and release. Do this for a minute or two.

Child’s Pose

child pose, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

The easiest yoga for sciatica pose on this list. Get down on your hands and knees, then rock your seat back onto your heels, leaving your hands on the floor in front of you. Hold for as long as you like. Don’t fall asleep like this, your legs won’t forgive you.

We hope this yoga for sciatica routine helps you bring your sciatic nerve pain under control and get your life back on track!

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yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches