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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News Image Credit:

If you are experiencing that burning and pinching pain in mid-lower back, buttock, back of the thigh and calf as well as numbness in your legs and feet, you may have sciatica.

Sciatica is commonly the pain that is caused by irritation of your sciatic nerve. This irritation is caused by either compression in the lower spine — which could include a herniated or bulging disc — or bone changes such as spinal stenosis, or muscle tension and unstable joints.

Here are some yoga asanas to soothe sciatic nerve pain from simple cat/cow to reclining hand-to-big-toe poses that will align, lengthen, and strengthen your lower back. It is important to practise with caution especially if you’re in pain. Move slowly and mindfully. If you feel a sharp pain, stop immediately. If you have any medical concerns, consult your doctor before practising yoga.

Cat/Cow

Simple and gentle poses to stretch the spine and loosen back muscles

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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News
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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Simple and gentle poses to stretch the spine and loosen back muscles.

Start on your hands and knees, hip distance apart. Hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale arc your back, lift your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling and gaze upwards. Let your belly sink toward the ground. This is Cow. Exhale, round your back, press your belly towards your spine, and tuck your head towards your chest. This is Cat. Continue these movements, slowly and gently, for ten deep breaths.

Bird Dog Pose

This pose stabilises the spine and strengthens the core and lumbar spine muscles.

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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Start from all fours with knees hip-width apart and your palms flat on the mat directly below your shoulders. Engage your core. Lift your arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you. Keep your hips squared to the ground, your leg level with your hip and foot flexed. Hold for a few seconds then return your hands and knees to the starting position. Aim to complete 5 strong repetitions on each side, 10 repetitions in total.

Sphinx Pose

Stretches the lower back, chest and shoulders

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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Lie on your stomach with legs straight out behind you. Place your elbows under your shoulders and your forehands on the floor as you lift your chest up of the floor. Engage your core. Press your hips and thighs to the floor. Lengthen your spine while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Hold this pose for 10 to 20 seconds.

Locust Pose

This pose strengthens the lower back and promotes healthy circulation in the lower hip area

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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

This pose strengthens the lower back and promotes healthy circulation in the lower hip area

Lie down on your stomach, arms straight alongside your body. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Exhale as you raise your head, upper torso, arms and legs away from the ground. Rest your weight on your front pelvis, belly, and lower ribs. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Breathe in and out.

Reclining Pigeon Pose

Tight hips can contribute to lower back pain. This pose stretches hip rotator and flexor muscles and IT band.

Lie on your back with bent knees, feet about hips width apart. Cross your right ankle over your left quad, (in the shape of a “4”). If you want to go deeper, lift your left leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your left leg and gently pull towards your chest as you press right knee away. Breathe deeply through the nose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch legs and repeat.

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

This gentle hamstring stretch helps to open the hips and reduce low back pain

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Yoga with Nerry at the Gulf News Head Quarter studio, Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

This gentle hamstring stretch helps to open the hips and reduce low back pain

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. On your exhale, bend your right knee and gently bring it closer to your chest. Wrap the yoga strap or towel around the ball of your right foot. Hold the two ends of the strap with each hand. While inhaling, gently push your right heel straight toward the ceiling. Keep your left leg, buttocks, and shoulders pressed against the ground. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat the process or the left leg.

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Releases tension in the lower back while also lengthening and strengthening your spine

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. On exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. Extend your left leg on the floor, keeping your right knee drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out on the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing down. Take your left hand to your outer right thigh. Exhale as you drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Turn your head to gaze toward your right fingertips. Keep your shoulder blades planted into the mat and away from your ears. Hold the pose for 20-30 breaths. On inhalation, slowly come back to centre, bringing both knees to your chest, then repeat on the opposite side.

— Nerry Toledo is a Dubai-based yoga instructor. She conducts regular give-what-you-can community classes with the goal of making yoga more accessible for everyone. For schedules and locations, go to www.nerryfit.com