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Yoga Instructor Training - Yoga and Sciatica

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
May 30, 2008
Causes of sciatica can stem from several things. Spinal disc herniation is one of them. This occurs when the soft center of a spongiform ring of cartilage between spinal vertebrae bulges out. This effectively tears the tougher outer ring. The nerve is no longer protected and gets compressed. A herniated disc occurs usually from some rotational movement. Students with spinal disc herniation must be more cautious than others with any poses involving rotation of the spine.

Sciatica can set in during late pregnancy in some women due to the uterus pressing on the sciatic nerve. Women who already have sciatica before getting pregnant will suffer an increase in symptoms during their pregnancy.

For anyone with sciatica and especially pregnant women, it is important to keep a slight bend in the knee during any forward fold. As mentioned previously, it may be best to avoid these types of poses. If the student is comfortable doing these poses, make sure they are modified to avoid further pressure on the sciatic nerve roots.

Poses suggested for students with sciatica are the cat-cow pose and pelvic rocks. Have students' alternate arm and leg raises while focusing on breathing. These poses and the pelvic rocks can be done several times a day to alleviate symptoms.

Yoga has many poses (asanas). With proper guidance asanas can relieve pain. The pigeon pose helps to open the hips and stretch the muscle in the gluteal region, the piriformis muscle. Both the locust pose and the cobra pose effective stretch the sciatic area, improving circulation and lifting pressure.

All students should be continuously encouraged to listen to their bodies. This is even more essential for students with sciatica. Remember to make sure that they only push each pose as deep as it comfortable for them. Yoga students with free range of movement are able to push their limits.

Sciatica sufferers, however, must take care not to further damage their backs or cause additional pain. Remind students to continue to regularly practice their yoga poses even after pain is gone. Regular yoga exercises maintain health all around for a higher quality of life.

More and more people are seeking out yoga for relief from their pain and ailments. Yoga has become a real option to the doubting public. This will result in yoga instructors seeing more students, in their classes, with disorders, such as sciatica.

Sciatica is the name of a class of symptoms, which result from compression of the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve, or the sciatic nerve itself. The symptoms that result from this compression are most often pain, numbness, or tingling. These symptoms usually occur in the back, legs, and buttocks, but can appear elsewhere in the body.

Other symptoms can include weakness in these muscles and problems with control and coordination. More often, than not, the symptoms occur on just one side of the body.

It is important to remember that sciatica is just the name for the symptoms. The causes can be more complex. As a yoga instructor, you must get the whole story, from your student, with sciatica. When you know the cause of their sciatica, you can more accurately instruct them about which yoga poses will best benefit them.

Due to the delicate nature of the nerves in the lower part of the spine, yoga poses must be done carefully and correctly. Certain asanas (Yoga postures), which include straight-leg forward bends, can often aggravate sciatica and should be avoided. However, any asana can be modified for the specific needs of the student. Forward folds can easily be modified, by allowing the knees to bend.

Encourage students, with sciatica, to be patient and steady with their yoga practice. The areas around the sciatic nerve, and nerve roots, must be strengthened and stabilized.

Through specific sequences of poses, and moving properly between poses, circulation is improved in the pelvic region. Simultaneously, the muscles are strengthened. This approach will effectively begin to relieve the sciatica symptoms, resulting in less pain and freer movement.

Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He is an author of many books on the subject of Yoga and has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org
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