By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

More and more people are seeking out yoga for relief from their pain and ailments. Yoga has become a real option to the doubting public. This will result in yoga instructors seeing more students in their classes with disorders such as sciatica.

Sciatica is the name of a class of symptoms, which result from compression of the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve, or the sciatic nerve itself. The symptoms that result from this compression are most often pain, numbness or tingling. These symptoms usually occur in the back, legs, and buttocks, but can appear elsewhere in the body.

Other symptoms can include weakness in these muscles and problems with control and coordination. More often, than not, the symptoms occur on just one side of the body.

It is important to remember that sciatica is just the name for the symptoms. The causes can be more complex. As a yoga instructor, you must get the whole story from your student with sciatica. When you know the cause of their sciatica you can more accurately instruct them about which yoga poses will best benefit them.

Due to the delicate nature of the nerves in the lower part of the spine, yoga poses must be done carefully and correctly. Certain asanas (Yoga postures), which include straight-leg forward bends can often aggravate sciatica and should be avoided. However, any asana can be modified for the specific needs of the student. Forward folds can easily be modified by allowing the knees to bend.

Encourage students with sciatica to be patient and steady with their yoga practice. The areas around the sciatic nerve and nerve roots must be strengthened and stabilized.

Through specific sequences of poses and moving properly between poses, circulation is improved in the pelvic region. Simultaneously the muscles are strengthened. This approach will effectively begin to relieve the sciatica symptoms, resulting in less pain and freer movement.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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