Monday, July 8, 2013

Low Back Tightness or Sciatic Nerve Pain?

One of the joys of being pregnant is this pesky low back and sciatic nerve pain I have been experiencing when I am not on top of my alignment. This week I am going to be focusing on clearing up low back pain and sciatic pain. What is so cool about an alignment based practice is you can use your alignment on and off the mat to not only stop your low back from hurting but from preventing it in the future. Like I said above with my growing belly pulling my body out of alignment I experience this low back and sciatic nerve pain. It is so clear to me that this happens when I forget about my alignment. Then ill do some yoga poses and practice the alignment when I stand and sit and its gone.

There is a way of standing that I like to call "hurt back pose". This pose looks like feet turned out (think first position in ballet), tailbone way scoped under so the bum is flat, and hips leaning forward. Another version of "hurt back pose" is feet turned out, weight shifted to one leg that is very straight or hyper extended, the other knee bent and one hip sticking out more. This pose has often been established over a long period of time, like years and years. So it might take you more then one class to get this into your body. It helps to identify what version of the "hurt back pose" you do, and then when you find yourself doing it a little alarm should go off in your head and then you can implement your new alignment for a healthy + happy low back.

Tadasana- feet parallel second toe in line with ankles and knees
Tadasana put block between thighs. Squeeze block between thighs, this will establish muscle energy in your legs. Once the legs are engaged roll your inner thighs in back and wide, this should make your block move more toward the back plan of your body and cause your bum to stick out. This should also take the top of the thighs back. There is a little bony protuberance on your lateral upper thigh (the greater trochanter. We want this to be over the ankles and in line with the shoulders and ears. In the"hurt back pose" when the hips are leaning forward the greater trochanters are way forward, you might be surprised how much you have to move your thigh bones back to get this alignment. Practicing by a mirror or with a friend can be very helpful. Once you've got this scope your tail down to create tone in the low belly and stability in the low back. We want the top of the sacrum to move in and up creating a lordosis curve in the low back and the lower part of the sacrum to scope down to create this toning.
Tadasana put block between shins. With the arches lifted squeeze the block and your shins toward the midline to cultivate muscle energy in the legs, just like before move your thighs in back and wide, top of the thighs back so the greater trochanters are over the ankle and then root the tailbone down just enough to tone the low belly and hold that stability in your back you have so gracefully created.
High Runners Lunge hands on the floor draw feet toward each other to tone abductors then move the inner thighs in back and wide, top of the thigh lifts a ton and then little scope of the tailbone to tone low belly. We are all different. I have to scope my tail bone alot in this pose because I am extra flexible and can collapse in my back however some one stronger/stiffer and often male probably just needs to scope a tiny amount. Remember we really want that sacrum going in and up in the low back so if your low back is rounding like a cat don't even worry about scoping your tailbone instead just keep sticking your inner thighs back.
 High Runners Lunge- Lunge
Low Lunge back knee stays on the floor, hands on the floor. Engage muscles of legs, draw inner thighs back, press down on knee and isometrically drag back knee forward. The back knee shouldn't move instead the top of the thigh should move back creating space in the SI joint. Again scope your tailbone the appropriate amount for you.
Low Lunge manual shins in one hand on floor other hand on outer front shin, spread your toes and press shin toward the midline as you widen thighs and rotate them toward the back of the room. Keep the back thigh lifted by doing that isometric work.
Low Lunge hands on floor reaching out toward 11 o'clock shins in, thighs back and wide, appropriate scope of tailbone
Supta/ on your back
Laying on your back extend one leg up use strap and pull whole leg and ground head of femur bone into hip socket. As you pull in also extend your foot back into the strap. For this version don't have your leg perpendicular to the floor instead have it more forward ~ 45 degree angle.
Root femur bone laying on back both feet on floor. Lift one leg up towards the sky perpendicular or forward NOT CLOSER TO YOUR FACE THEN PERPENDICULAR. Interlace hands behind thigh that is lifted and press thigh forward into clasp hands. You can stay here or extend bottom leg out straight engage that leg toes point toward sky inner thigh rolling towards the floor more then the outer hip.
Supta Pigeon- supta matseyndrasana
Supta pada A- B strap
Parsvotonasana hands on wall
DD hands on wall same alignment in legs we have been working with. Tone legs, draw inner thighs back, move top of thigh back, scope your tail bone under an appropriate amount for you
L handstand at wall
Handstand at wall hands shin distance from wall, kick up bend knees to a 90 degree angle soles of feet on wall. I love this variation because its hard to banana and stick the hips forward. Engage muscles of legs, draw inner thighs toward wall butt stick out towards wall, scope tail bone up toward ceiling and appropriate amount to tone belly. oh and SMILE
Pasarita Padotonasana twist. there are 2 ways to do this pose. One is keeping hips squared and one is letting the hips turn as you twist. In this version let the hips turn as you twist. I don't teach this one very often but keeping the hips squared can aggravate a sensitive sciatic nerve.
Bridge 3x to hip the different muscles we will space feet differently. Make sure your feet are parallel no ballet turned out feet. For all three bridges draw feet isometrically toward each other, mover inner thighs toward floor creating a curve in the low back then scope tail bone extending knees toward front of room and rooting down through feet.
  1. Feet touching
  2. Feet hip distance apart
  3. Feet much wider then hips
Gallapers twist this is supta pada c with the bottom leg in a quad stretch. For this version we will have the top foot with the straight leg on the wall a few inches from the floor back leg bent holding onto the back food for a quad stretch. Press your foot into the wall as you kick your back foot into your hand.
Partner root thigh bone as described a few poses back. Same thing but the partner will manually adjust the bottom leg so the thigh moves in. Then the partner will hold the inner spiral on the bottom leg with one hand and put the other hand on the sole of the lifted leg and have the partner extend the foot into partners hand as the hand pushes down into the foot. Thank you partner.
Shavasana or Supported Baddha Konasana

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Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...