The shooting pain of sciatica is often caused by misalignment of the vertabrae or pelvis and can be aggravated by tight muscles and inflexible connective tissues, conditions which manifest when the body tries to protect the injury by “holding on” and preventing movement in the area. With a gentle and relaxed approach to yoga poses that target this area, one can begin to realign the body and relieve pain.
Tortoise Pose (Kurmasana)
With the soles of the feet together, slide the hands under the calves, placing the palms on the tops of the feet. Move the feet forward so that the legs take a diamond shape and the elbows rest on the floor. Let the back round and the forehead come to the heels. Completely relax into the posture, rounding the back, stretching through pelvic region, and releasing the sacrum.
Breathe slowly, holding the exhale out for slightly longer than normal. There should be no muscular activity in the body. If the sciatic pain is in the low back, this pose should feel very soothing. If it runs through the leg beneath the buttocks, the groin stretch may be very intense. Try coming in and out of the pose a few times. Do not overstretch.
Bound Angle Pose (Badakonasana)
The soles of the feet come together in front of the pelvis with the hands bound around the toes. Pull the feet in close to the pelvis. Using the leverage of the hands, lift the heart forward and root the sit bones firmly into the floor. Try to let the knees relax naturally to the floor; never force them down.
This pose stimulates the nervi plexi of the coccyx and sacral area and deeply stretches the groin and hips, increasing circulation in the area. You may fold forward in this pose, leading with the heart and keeping the back flat, elbows on the thighs. This may ease pressure in the sacral area for those whose sciatica runs through the low back.