By Bhavan Kumar
“Ha” translates to sun. “Tha” means moon in Sanskrit. Hatha Yoga translates to the balancing of opposites. Hatha is the balance of movement and stillness. It is the balancing of activity and rest. When practicing a practitioner will bend backwards and forward in fluid movement. Deep breaths in and out stimulate the function of internal organs. Even breathing is a hallmark of Yoga training, along with stretching the body and keeping still in a pose.
Hatha Yoga teacher training programs should always address skeletal health. Yoga instructors should make students aware of the fact that any student of any age can develop problems with his or her bone health. We may perceive bone health as a problem for our elders, but that is a deception only, and sometimes it is youthful arrogance.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatica is the longest and largest nerve in the body. It starts in the lower back and goes down the back of the leg. Sciatica is a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. The problems that result in sciatica can be spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, Piriformis Syndrome, and the list goes on.
Sciatica is a sharp pain that radiates from the back down the legs, through the buttocks, and even to the knees and ankle. It is common in people with problems of the lower back, office workers, drivers, as well as obese or elderly people. It can also come from spending too much time sitting. Exercise, stretching, and Yoga can help relieve the pressure of the spine.
Hatha Yoga for Problems with Sciatica
When practicing Yoga postures (asanas) the emphasis is on alignment of the skeletal posture and the spine. A person with sciatica will need to strengthen or lengthen the spine and its supporting muscles. Stretching into poses will easily lengthen and stretch the entire body, leading to better posture overall. Holding the poses helps solidify and support all the muscles of the body. When the entire back muscles are strengthened, they work together to prevent the compression of the spine that can result in sciatica.
Asana practice will also stretch the legs and hips. This will result in greater flexibility of those areas that are important for mobility and posture. A strong foundation helps the legs carry the body and takes the weight off the spine. Yoga will also help loosen the upper back muscles, particularly the trapezius muscle. Strengthening the core abdominal muscles will help to take pressure off the sciatica nerve.
Breath awareness is important when performing asanas. Deep breathing helps to relax tight muscles and reduce any inflammation.
Suggested Asanas for Sciatica
• Downward facing dog
• Half moon pose
• Shoulder stand
• Mountain poses
• Tree pose Side stretch
• Corpse pose
• Torso twist
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Bhavan Kumar is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.
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