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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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