Sciatica and Yoga

Sciatica is the pain caused by irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve which passes between the muscles of the butt and then into the thighs. I don’t want to explain what it is – refer to the article on wiki.

Some of the reasons for Sciatica are a herniated or bulging lower lumbar disc or by what is called the piriformis syndrome. The priformis muscle extends from the side of the sacrum to the top of the thigh bone at the hip joint, passing over the sciatic nerve along the route. When this muscle, if short or tight, is stretched, it can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve.

An excellent source for using Yoga as therapy for Sciatica is Back Care Basics by Mary Pullig Schatz.

It is important to identify the particular cause of sciatica in your case and seek appropriate help or therapy. A great thing about Yoga is many of the postures routinely work on your back and spine and keeps you healthy and fit. We don’t realize the benefits until we practice consistently. I keep stressing the point about people who attend my classes say they feel great and enjoy the week or so. They then lapse the practice only to see the problems recurring and they are back to a ‘What’s happening’ state. A little more concerted effort in practicing Yoga routinely makes a BIG difference in one’s health.

If Piriformis syndrome is the cause of your Sciatica, then twists (seated and lying) could be beneficial. Twists, such as the spinal twist – Matsyasendrasan – lift up the lower back, creating space and loosening the tight sacrum region. This is exactly the space where the sciatic nerve and the piriformis overlap. Twists also help to lengthen (or increase flexibility) of the piriformis over a period of time, thereby lessening the stress.


  1. Namaste, Yes. I did review a few books from the site. They were nice translations, simple to understand, not very bulky. Thus you could get the gist of the texts fairly easily and quickly.

  2. Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

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