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How to Heal a Pinched Nerve with Yoga

by
author image Tabby Biddle
Tabby Biddle, M.S. education, is a writer/editor living in Santa Monica, Calif. She specializes in health and wellness, women's issues, personal growth and empowerment. Her work has been featured by The Huffington Post, "USA Today" and the "Los Angeles Times." Ms. Biddle has 20 years combined experience as a writer/editor, yoga teacher and yoga therapist, yoga business owner, outdoor adventure guide and athlete.
How to Heal a Pinched Nerve with Yoga
Yoga practice helps heal a pinched nerve. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pinched nerve is most commonly caused by injury, obesity, overuse, poor posture and stress. Yoga, a practice of gentle stretches (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama), has been shown to be effective in healing a pinched nerve by relieving pressure on the nerve and restoring the mind and body to a calm and peaceful state. TYoga is for everyone. In other words, you do not need to be an expert or at any particular fitness level to receive the benefits of the practice.

Step 1

Lay out your yoga mat in a quiet space. Turn your phone, television and radio off so you will not be interrupted or disturbed. Lay your mat where you have plenty of space to stretch your body.

Step 2

Lie down on your back with your legs stretched out long and your arms a few inches from your sides. Close your eyes and take three long, slow and deep breaths, letting out a sigh or any other sounds that want to release on the exhale.

Step 3

Raise your arms over your head and feel the stretch at the sides of your body. Breathe–inhaling and exhaling five deep breaths. Continue to stretch your body long and notice where you feel release and relief.

Step 4

Draw your right knee toward your chest as you inhale, and hold your knee with your fingers interlaced for three deep breaths. On your third exhale, draw your right knee over (with your left hand) to the outside of your left hip for a twist. Your right arm should remain outstretched to feel a wonderful release in the right shoulder and upper chest. Breathe deeply for five breaths. When finished, come back up to center and release the right leg out straight. Breathe.

Step 5

Draw your left knee toward your chest as you inhale, and hold your knee with your fingers interlaced for three deep breaths. On your third exhale, draw your left knee over (with your right hand) to the outside of your right hip for a twist. Your left arm should remain outstretched to feel a release in the left shoulder and upper chest. Breathe deeply for five breaths. When finished, come back up to center and release the left leg out straight. Breathe.

Step 6

Draw both knees in toward your chest and gently rock from side to side, massaging your lower back and tailbone area. If it feels good to you, you can also turn your head from side to side, releasing any tension in your neck and upper back. Do this for at least one minute.

Step 7

Release your legs out straight so that you are lying on your back with both of your legs outstretched and your arms a few inches away from the sides of your body (palms face up). Close your eyes and breathe deeply for three breaths, allowing any sighs or other sounds to release on your exhale. After three deep breaths, begin to breathe naturally. Let go of trying to control anything, and lie quietly resting for at least five minutes.

Step 8

Roll to your right side into a fetal position and then slowly press yourself up to a seated position. Sit quietly for a few breaths. Notice how you feel in your body. Notice the quality of your mind. Transition slowly to standing and take your yoga peace with you into your next activity, whether it be work, home or sleep.

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