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.
Modified Cow’s Face Pose
Not to be confused with cow’s pose, in this pose, knees are stacked on top of one another and hands are clasped behind your back – which means you’ll get a great deep hip stretch.
“The modified cow’s face pose is a great passive stretch to the external hip rotators,” says Visram. If you find this stretch too deep, you can always modify to make it a little easier. “The modified pose has one leg outstretched rather than crossed over.”
While this pose is guaranteed to give you a deep stretch (Visram says it’s the most effective piriformis and gluteus stretch) take it easy the first few times you try it. Going too deep will do more harm than good. “Its important in this pose to stretch within your comfort level,” says Visram.
You’ll know your form is correct if your “hips are level to the floor and square to the front of the mat,” says Visram. When in doubt, “use core strength to keep your torso tall.”
If you find this pose more painful than helpful, don’t force your body into it. Visram suggests trying reclined pigeon pose (laying on your back with your legs in a figure 4 position) to warm up and get your body used to the stretch.