Welcome to the Yin Yoga Forum
Bernie wrote:I was recently asked this question, "which asanas do you reccomend while or after having/had a lumbago respectively sciatic pain???"
Here was my response: let me ask you first a couple of questions: are you the one feeling the pain? And, have you had it checked out yet with a professional? (How do you know that the sciatica is caused by the lower back?)
Lumbago is a general term used to describe lower back pain, often sharp sudden pains, but also the term is applied to any lower back pain. Unfortunately, lower back pain can have many different causes. Sciatica is often felt through the legs: it can be caused by lower back disorders (among many other causes) but you seem to imply that you (or a student) are experiencing both lower back and leg pain…is that it?
Often (but not always) sciatica caused by lower back disorders is due to some disc herniation, and the bulging of the disc presses against the spinal nerves, in this case the roots of the sciatica nerve. If (and I stress "IF!") this is the cause, then some therapeutic yoga postures could include Sphinx and Seal poses, to help push the herniation back to its normal position and thus relieve the pain.
Strengthening the core of the body can also help: but it should be done intelligently. Many people have overdeveloped stomach muscles and not strong enough side stomach muscles (the obliques) and back muscles. Crocodile and Side plank can help here. Balancing Cat (also called Bird Dog) and Awkward Airplane can help: in all these the lower back is kept neutral.
Hope this helps.
Bernie wrote:To be sure, you can ask your doctor what he/she thinks about you doing yoga. I am not surprised that you got a bit of a "shrug" response: lower back pain can be somewhat mysterious. Very often doctors just shrug: they just don't know what is causing it. This is unfortunate, and it does mean that you will have to take responsibility for figuring it out.
There is a web site that Paul Grilley turned me onto called the Burton Report. It is created by a very experienced and respected doctor who has spent several decades investigating back pain. Check it out and see if it helps you.
As far as doing yoga: try it. Go gently and really pay attention to the sensations during, and in the days after your practice. We do know that all tissues need to be mobilized in order to get nutrients to flow, but how much mobility the tissues can take is variable and you'll have to judge this for yourself. No-one can give you a magic formula for it. Along with mobility, stability is also desired, both for the muscles and the connective tissues. Thus my suggestion of some core strengtheners.
ps - Awkward airplane: come into "Balancing Cat" (from all fours, stretch your right leg backwards and your left arm forwards) and then move your right leg to the right and your left arm to the left: you'll feel like an airplane that is not quite flying right - ie: awkward. Do both sides.