Perhaps yogis’ favourite pose, downward dog is a full-body stretch that provides relief for tight hamstrings.
“A tight hamstring combined with an unhappy piriformis muscle can irritate and aggravate the sciatic nerve,” says Visram.
That’s where downward dog comes in. “Downward facing dog is an excellent hamstring stretch and also helps to align the entire spine with lengthening and strengthening the lower back,” says Sarah Bolen, a Halifax-based yoga instructor and host of Coral TV’s Surviving Yoga.
She recommends slightly bending your knees in this pose if you experience sciatic pain, to assist in tilting the pelvis forward.
If you want quick relief from sciatica, get into this pose and breathe a sigh of relief.
“The twisting position of half moon pose makes it a win for sciatic pain sufferers,” says Visram. “The twisting motion helps to open up and create space between the vertebrae, thereby decompressing the spine.”
Not only will you feel less pressure on your sciatic nerve while you’re in this pose, you’ll also strengthen the muscles surrounding it.
“The balance needed to complete this pose helps to engage and strengthen the lower back and core muscles,” says Visram.
Seated Spinal Twist
This simple, but effective, pose is a go-to for relief of sciatic pain, especially for those new to yoga.
“A simple spinal twist gives the piriformis muscle a mild, gentle stretch guiding it to release and lengthen,” says Visram.
Just don’t force your body into this pose.
“It is important to start slowly and intensify the depth of the twist gradually to avoid discomfort and pain,” says Visram.