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Effective Yoga Stretches For Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

Effective Yoga Stretches For Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

Sciatic nerve pain comes from a tenderness of pain along the sciatic nerve. It will usually show up on one side of the body, although there are sciatic nerves running down each each leg. They are connected at their core to several nerve roots that come from the spinal cord. The sciatic nerve runs between layers of your glutes and the deep muscles of the back of the thigh, down the outside edge of your leg and down to your feet.

What Is The Sciatic Nerve?

As the largest nerve in the body, when it becomes agitated, you’ll experience the symptoms in many ways. Nerve pain, weakness, and tingling can be felt in the buttocks, back of the thigh, and into the toes. In over 70% of the cases of sciatic nerve pain, it’s the tightness of muscles that causes pain, also known as the piriformis.

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Yoga is an ancient practice combining poses and movements which nurture the body. Some of these poses offer sciatic nerve pain relief. Yoga also has the ability to help you manage the pain through various poses that invoke positive energy.

Why Yoga Helps Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain

If your sciatic nerve pain is due to piriformis, there are gentle yoga poses that offer sciatic nerve pain relief. They can align, lengthen, and strengthen the back. Yoga is capable of managing and reducing problems that are caused by herniation, often reducing it. Gentle poses that include basic asanas include the half spinal twist and downward-facing dog. These poses align your spine as well as lengthen and strengthen the back. Be gentle with these poses, working on them progressively for a few minutes every day.

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Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)

This yoga pose will give the piriformis a mild stretch, encouraging the muscles to lengthen.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat in front of you.
  2. Take your right foot, put it under your left knee and around to your outer left hip. The right knee should be pointing forward.
  3. If your left sit bone is lighter on the floor than your right, lean into the left sit bone. This will be the stretch you’re looking for.
  4. Hold your left knee with both hands. Hold the pose and breathe in deeply while lengthening your spine. Breathe out and relax the spine.
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other side. Try doing this three times daily on each side, holding the pose for 20 seconds at a time.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

This pose does many things for the body and the mind, including a deep stretch for the hamstrings and lower back. Any pose that incorporates a good hip stretch is going to help with sciatic nerve pain relief. Tight hamstrings are connected with a tight piriformis, which further constricts the sciatic nerve.

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  1. Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Put your knees below your hips with your hands a little bit forward of your shoulders.
  3. Spread your palms with index fingers turned out a little and turn your toes under.
  4. As you exhale, lift your knees from the floor. Keep them slightly bent with heels lifted off the floor.
  5. Focus on moving your tailbone away from your pelvis, pressing it lightly toward the pubis.
  6. Lift your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  7. When you exhale, push the top of your thighs back, stretching your heels down on to the floor. Make sure not to lock your knees.
  8. Press the base of your index fingers into the floor. Feel yourself lifting along the inner arms to the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades and widen them. Make sure not to let your head hang, instead keep it between your upper arms.

Raja kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Sciatic nerve pain can be reduced with yoga poses that “passively” stretch your hips. You want to use poses that create an external rotation of the thigh. The King Pigeon Pose is known as the king of hip openers and is the strongest of all the piriformis stretches. As it’s a deep stretch, when you try it for the first time, stay on the edge of the stretch and breathe. This is going to allow the piriformis to release.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, bring your right knee forward and out to the right.
  2. Bring your right foot forward also until the heel is aligned with your left hip. Your shin should be at a 45-degree angle. In order to protect your knee, keep your foot flexed.
  3. In order to stretch the right piriformis, lean your upper body forward, tuck the toes under and walk the left leg until it’s straight back. This will allow your right thigh to rotate out passively. The hip will naturally descend to the floor.
  4. Make sure your hips are level to the floor and square to your mat. If your hip doesn’t reach the floor, use a blanket.
  5. Do this pose on the other side. Hold the poses for a few minutes, using your breath to go deeper into the pose.

Featured photo credit: Earl McGehee/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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