By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Causes of sciatica can stem from several things. Spinal disc herniation is one of them. This occurs when the soft center of a spongiform ring of cartilage between spinal vertebrae bulges out. This effectively tears the tougher outer ring.

The nerve is no longer protected and gets compressed. A herniated disc occurs usually from some rotational movement. Students with spinal disc herniation must be more cautious than others with any poses involving rotation of the spine.

Sciatica can set in during late pregnancy in some women due to the uterus pressing on the sciatic nerve. Women who already have sciatica before getting pregnant will suffer an increase in symptoms during their pregnancy.

For anyone with sciatica and especially pregnant women, it is important to keep a slight bend in the knee during any forward fold. As mentioned previously, it may be best to avoid these types of poses. If the student is comfortable doing these poses, make sure they are modified to avoid further pressure on the sciatic nerve roots.

Poses suggested for sciatica suffers are the cat-cow pose and pelvic rocks. Have students’ alternate arm and leg raises while focusing on breathing. These poses and the pelvic rocks can be done several times a day to alleviate symptoms.

The pigeon pose also helps to open the hips and stretch the muscle in the gluteal region, the piriformis muscle. Both the locust pose and the cobra pose effective stretch the sciatic area, improving circulation and lifting pressure.

All students should be continuously encouraged to listen to their bodies. This is even more essential for students with sciatica. Remember to make sure that they only push each pose as deep as it comfortable for them. Yoga students with free range of movement are able to push their limits.

Sciatica sufferers, however, must take care not to further damage their backs or cause additional pain. Remind students to continue to regularly practice their yoga poses even after pain is gone. Regular yoga exercises maintain health all around for a higher quality of life.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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