back pain, sciatica, Stretch exercises

4 Lower Back Stretches for Sciatica Relief

  • 1. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

(a) Kneel with your body upright and hips stacked over the knees. Take padding (a blanket or fold your mat so it is double thickness) under your knees if they are sensitive.

(d) Draw your hands up the side of your body until your thumbs reach your armpits. Hook your thumbs into your pits for support as you start to open your chest toward the ceiling.

(c) Maintain the position of your chest as you reach your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels. If you need a little more height, tuck your toes under. Otherwise, the tops of the feet can be flat on the floor.

(d) Bring your hips forward so that they stay over your knees.

(e) If it feels good, let your head come back, opening your throat. If that doesn’t work for your neck, you can keep the chin tucked instead.

(f) Release by bringing your chin toward your chest and hands to your hips. Firm your abs and support your lower back with your hands as you slowly bring your body to an upright kneeling position.

  • 2.Wide-legged Seated Forward Fold Pose

(a) Begin seated in Dandasana (Staff Pose), with the spine tall and the legs extended straight out in front of you.

(b) Take your legs as wide apart as you comfortably can, keeping the feet flexed and active so that the inner legs don’t collapse inwards. Your kneecaps should point straight up toward the ceiling and your heels should be rooting firmly into the ground. If your inner legs begin to collapse, it’s a sign that you’ve taken the legs too far apart.

(c) Place your fingertips on the ground in front of you, just between your legs. Maintain the length along the spine, keep your shoulders relaxed and your chest lifted. Inhale here.

(d) As you exhale, slowly begin to walk your fingertips forward until you find an edge that feels appropriate for your body. Avoid moving so deeply that your spine begins to round and your shoulders collapse; keep the emphasis on lengthening evenly through the front and back body.

(e) If it feels comfortable, you can come down onto your palms, forearms, or take your torso down onto the ground between your legs. Otherwise, simply remain on your fingertips. Take 10 to 15 breaths here.

(f) To come out of the pose, use an inhale to come upright, with your core engaged to protect your spine. If you like, you can bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as a counterpose for your legs, or bend both knees into your chest and hug yourself.

  • 3.Frog Pose (Mandukasana)

Before you get into position, consider placing a yoga mat or blanket underneath you to help soften the pressure of your knees on the floor.

(a) Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are underneath your shoulders and knees are below the hips. Stay here and breathe for three to five breaths.  

(b) Inhale and slowly move your right and left knee out towards the side as you exhale, stopping to hold and continue breathing whenever you feel the stretch. Depending on your flexibility, this step might bring a powerful stretching sensation to your inner thighs and groin area. Avoid pain and do not force your body into a deeper stretch than it’s ready for. 

(c) Continue opening your hips as you turn your feet out towards the side and flex your ankles so that your inner feet, inner ankles, and inner knees are touching the floor. 

(d) Slowly lower down to your forearms with the palms either flat on the floor or pressed together. 

(e) Stay here and breathe deeply for a count of 5 to 10 breaths or 30 to 60 seconds. Your breath, as in all yoga poses, is an excellent guide. If you’re pushing yourself too far in the stretch, your breathing will become shorter and more forced. If you can take long, slow, deep breaths, it’s an indication that the stretch is appropriate for your body.

(f) To release frog pose, slowly slide your knees closer together and return to the tabletop position. Alternatively, some people prefer exiting the pose by sliding their feet together on the mat and pressing their hips back into a wide-kneed variation of child’s pose.

  • 4.Side Lunge (Skandasana)

(a) Begin in Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana).

(b) Bend your left knee into a half-squat. Keep your right leg straight and flex your foot so that your toes leave the floor so you are resting on the right heel.

(c) There are a lot of options for arm variations. Keep your hands on the floor if you need them for balance. Otherwise, try bending your elbows and bring your hands into anjali mudra ​(palms together) with the left elbow inside the left knee in a kind of half Garland Pose (Malasana).

(d) Drop your hands to the floor for support and shift to the other side.