Yoga Stretches for Sciatica: 8 Poses in 8 Minutes for Back Pain Relief


Have you considered trying yoga stretches for sciatica pain relief?

Let’s start with what the sciatic nerve actually is. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, starting at the spine base and running right down through your thigh and calf muscles to your foot.

The average person has about a 40% chance of experiencing some sciatica pain throughout their lives. It might not be a chronic pain, but you could have trouble with it. Sometimes it’s as simple as tingling in your legs or weakness in your knees.


  • Pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve in the lower back, buttock, back of the thigh, and/or calf.
  • Fatigue, numbness, or loss of feeling in your legs and/or feet.
  • An electric, tingling, burning, pinching, or pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness that can cause your knees to buckle when you stand up from sitting.
  • Foot drop: a condition in which you are not able to flex your ankles enough to walk on your heels.
  • Reduced reflexes in your Achilles tendon and knee.


Sciatica pain can be caused by herniation in your lumbar spine – this is the part of your spine that curves inward, near your lower-middle back. This is serious and you should consult a doctor about this immediately. However, nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock (behind the gluteus maximus) that can affect the adjacent sciatic nerve when it there is a muscle spasm or strain, tightening or swelling.


If you’ve had the pleasure of taking a yoga class, you know how beneficial it can be for relieving almost any kind of back pain. In the case of sciatica pain specifically, yoga time and again has proven to provide that relief. However, on those days when you’re really feeling the pain of a pinched sciatic nerve, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, hop in a car, drive to a yoga studio, get your much-needed relief, and then have to drive all the way home again.

Thanks to the Internet, however, more and more yoga teachers are recognizing the need to provide classes online. You can now can get the same value for less than half the cost of an average yoga class in the comfort of your living room.


standing back twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

This is a great pose for people who aren’t bendy enough to start with some of these other poses. Put your foot up on a chair, and place the outside of your opposite hand on your raised knee (left hand to the right knee or right hand to left knee). Place your other hand on your hip. Turning your upper body while keeping your hips facing forward hold the position for thirty seconds, then switch. Don’t push past where your comfortable.


Knee raise, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lying on your back draw one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Push down with your knee and pull up with your hands. Keep your shoulders on the floor.


two knee twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lie on your back. Splay your arms to form a capital “T.” Keeping your shoulders on the floor, turn your knees out to one side. Keep your shoulders on the floor. Hold the position for a minute, then alternate sides.


single knee twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Lie on your back. Keeping one leg straight, bend one knee to a 90° angle, place the opposite hand on that knee. Turn to face the arm still on the floor. Keep both shoulders on the floor.


twisted lunge, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

This is a trickier pose but really opens your hips. Step one leg forward, bend at the knee. The other leg should stay out behind you. Try to keep your feet one leg’s length apart. Turning your back, place your opposite elbow on the outside your bent knee. Bring your palms together. Hold for thirty seconds.


seated twist, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend on the leg at the knee and place it on the outside of the other knee. You can keep the leg straight or curl it up, whichever is comfier. Put one hand flat on the floor behind you, place your opposite elbow on the outside of your bent knee. Turn to face behind you, keeping your legs pointing forward.


cat pose, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

Super easy. Get on your hands and knees. Bend your back down and lift your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Breathe and hold for ten seconds. Return to a flat back, then tuck your chin into your chest and raise your back. Hold for ten seconds and release. Do this for a minute or two.


child pose, yoga for sciatica, sciatica stretches

The easiest pose on this list. Get down on your hands and knees, then rock your seat back onto your heels, leaving your hands on the floor in front of you. Hold for as long as you like. Don’t fall asleep like this, your legs won’t forgive you.

Give these yoga stretches a try whether it’s in the morning before work or in the evening as you’re winding down. You should feel a noticeable benefit; for even more back and sciatica pain relief, you can sign up for the Relieve Your Back Pain yoga class with Michelle Berman Marchildon for $5 or purchase a site-wide subscription for unlimited access to classes designed with pain relief in mind.

Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.


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