What are you being taught???? And what is the actual knowledge of your expert teachers???
First read this…
From the article….
“As far back as the 5th century BCE, doctors and sufferers alike have tried a host of imaginative remedies, from leeches and hot coals”
Yes, it’s imaginative….. yet it is actually still practiced and actually deals with the root cause from the fundamental basis looked at through a lens that is of ayurveda and yoga knowledge instead of a western science lens looking only at symptoms. What is really imaginative is to take something out of its context (yoga) without its foundation and then apply it to the conceptional world that it is not from.
The simple question remains, where was Western science back in the days of yoga? What was known back then because the entirety of yoga as well as the basis and paradigm of Indian knowledge was not Western/Modern knowledge? Simply put, the Western paradigm of knowledge did not even exist. Why do we believe that we are far advanced in our knowledge today comparatively? Or that we can just apply our own conceptual knowledge onto something without actually knowing it as it is? Maybe that should be looked at and that a thorough study of something should be done to understand it properly? Maybe this is the limit to the writers knowledge or maybe this is because it is being written to the general public as an audience which cannot comprehend this without the actual study of it. Maybe the second thing one should question is why would you not educate and create a growing awareness of the real fundamentals rather than sell magazines to the naive masses of the same old same old Western science concepts? Or is the purpose to destroy completely what has already been very much destroyed? And what is the reason why?
There is a host of other research studies on the effects of “imaginative remedies” still practiced in Ayurveda and works in its own scientific paradigm and hardly understood or even worse when it is invalidated by Western (noneducated in the paradigm) science. This is also the paradigm in which Yoga is in and from. Not Western science.
Please try to understand that most of the above links are also an attempt to do Western-based research in Ayurveda to try to make it validated to the Western/Modern scientific world thru their own lens which is not really possible as it is an entirely different paradigm and does not work in the paradigm of the West as explained in other posts I have written on this blog. It is even how thesi in Ayurveda are written today. Easiest is to try to write articles of what is the basis of the concepts of Ayurveda being used in different diseases and giving the basis of the disease and how to be treated or doing a case study like some of the ones above.
But first, for the point of this blog post, we would have to understand sciatica from the foundational knowledge of what yoga comes from, this is the same knowledge that Ayurveda is from. It is not different in any way or form.
You are not going to find this in Yoga International or anything being taught by “experts” in the West because everything in that article linked at the beginning of Yoga Journal is solely a Western exercise and Western science view put onto ‘yoga’ which asana actually has no basis in and also completely falls apart if we do that much like I just explained about researching Ayurveda thru the lens of Western research templates. If one was to have the actual knowledge it would also show the massive limitations of Western thought and that causes a lot of other problems which is the conversation to have in a different post.
From a Yoga and Ayurveda basis:
The differential diagnosis of sciatic is important with its treatment. Sciatica falls under the disease catagory that is called a vata vyadhi or a disease of vata. Categorically there are 20 of these vata vyadhis. There is no “sciatica’ in this paradigm. Vata Vyadhi is an umbrella of 20 different kinds of diseases of vata. One of which is gridhasi. The modern concept of sciatica would then fit into gridhasi but grdhasi is a larger container and it does not fit into the container of sciatica. This is another understanding that has to be had with this and points out a major flaw which maybe written about in a following article about the differences of the paradigms and the limitations of trying to understand one thru the others lens without ever trying to actually know that other paradigm. Within Gridhasi then there is different types.
There are two types, vata/kapha and purely vata.
There is also the deeper differential in the diagnosis that would be possible with the addition of ama or the addition of pitta.
Each of these are treated differently.
If ama is there it needs to be dealt with first before anything can be done. Like in every disease. Do anything with oil and you are going to create more disease.
In Gridhasi, Vyana and Apana Vata are especially vitiated out of five types of Vata. Gait, extension, flexion, lifting etc. are part of the functions of vyana vata. The hampered movements indicates Vyana imbalance. Causes and site of sciatica show apana imbalance. Though Vata is a prominent dosha, sometimes Kapha is the primary dosha imbalanced, but independently cannot produce sciatica without vata involvement. Pitta is the least involved dosha. Sometime when burning sensation is present pitta may be involved as the primary dosha. More-so, tendons are the secondary tissues of the blood tissue. Ligaments are also the mulasthana of muscle tissue and the secondary tissue of fat. Blood, muscle, and fat can be seen as imbalanced in sciatica as well. Agnikarma or that burning by coals is actually one of the treatments that is done in imbalances of ligaments which is further to show why agnikarma is used in sciatica and does work… as per actual knowledge of Ayurveda and proper details in the actual treatment, not just burning yourself with hot coals (ha ha ha ha how absurd those old ancient people were). And yes, this same knowledge is in the basic knowledge of Yoga because it is all based in understanding of Prana and the imbalance of it. Not at all impingement of the sciatic nerve which will be cured by opening the hip joint in stretching postures that we are calling yoga.
Agnikarma has been mentioned for disorders of Snayu (ligaments and tendons), Asthi (bone), Sandhi (joints).
Yoga knows of 10 pranas, ayurveda uses 5 of them. And this is the very fundamental basis in all asana. It is not Western science based, there is nothing in Western science that understands prana and no context for it. None. We try to make a correlation but it is once again taking something from its context and applying a different lens to it that has no context for it. Where is this taught in modern Yoga? It is not.
If modern yoga wants to use texts to validate itself, we would have to look at Hatha Yoga Pradeepika. In it, throughout it, there is mention of the doshas. There are the shatkarmas also which are dealing with those same doshas within that same context that it shares with Ayurveda. Kunjal Kriya is nothing less than the very lightest Vamana treatment done in Ayurveda, and explained in Ayurveda texts. There is no difference in the knowledge base. Only naive and uneducated Western ideas have created such things.
The pathogenesis of sciatic is first and foremost low or variable digestive fire and vata aggravation and/or kapha aggravation with a weakness of the seat of apana. Vitiated dosha(s) with the weakness of blood, muscle, fat tissues, nerve, tendons, ligaments, veins, they are all involved.
Since the agni (both jathara and bhutaagni) are disturbed. This also can have ama involved.
For vata type, first the stage of the disease needs to be diagnosed. Without knowing this one might create a deeper complication of the disease. The first line of treatment is langhana or fasting but it must be light because of vata being the main cause. Fasting does not mean to go without food, that also is a Western interpretation. Langhana actually means to lighten. So just eating less quantity or lightening up the qualities of the food is done based upon the individual (as everything is). Oiling, steaming/sweating, light purgation, basti (which does not correlate to enema but it is all we can translate it to), agni karma, and bloodletting are the following treatments depending upon the diagnosis of the INDIVIDUAL.
But first the aggravating factors must be taken out of the picture for if this is not done no treatment will work. If there is ama present then oiling is totally contraindicated as ama and oil have the same qualities and oiling when there is ama will create a deeper complication of the disease as stated earlier. The causative factors, besides what is the pathogenesis written above, is the excessive intake of vata provoking substances (also in the season like eating a whole bunch of kale excessively in the summer time when vata is aggravated because it is popular and sold as a superfood), excessive exertion (can even be too long of walks or hikes and not just exercise, too much sex) to one’s capacity (which is different for each individual), improperly sitting or lying in weird positions (or even your modern asana practice can be the very cause of your sciatica), vega dharana or the suppression of the natural urges (which I have written a post on here but the science behind this needs to be understood), and lastly….. improper treatment of Ayurveda practices like telling everyone to do sesame oil enema without any sort of knowledge of the details as to when it is contraindicated or doing that sesame oil enema when there is ama present, or improper purgation in the same manner and a host of other things in improper treatments…. yes, they will cause disease when done without the proper knowledge).
For kapha type added onto the vata signs of problems with gait, pain, stiffness, and the pulsations in the hip, back and leg there is also lethargy, indigestion, nausea, indifference to food, paralysis, and heaviness.
So I ask you, what is doing a bunch of postures going to actually do if someone has improper digestion and possible ama with aggravation of vata without proper look and attention to diet that is not further aggravating to vata and lifestyle of the same, which excessive focus on asanas to open the hip can also aggravate vata even more? No knowledge of the foundations of seeing the disease thru the lens of Yoga or the “concepts” of ancient Indian knowledge, just one applied idea of opening the hips and trying to relieve the nerve being pinched through Western anatomy and exercise science.
What is being taught? What is being spread? And what happens to the real knowledge when this happens? And what is a “mindfully targeted yoga practice” when there is no real knowledge behind it? Just using foo foo spiritual flowery language.
In addition, in my 30 years of education and working with people with their bodies I know for a fact that a long hold stretches aggravate nerves and causing much more pain and problems rather than any solutions. Nerve impingement and adhesions and all sorts of other problems can be at the basis from a western standpoint but pushing into a joint that does not have the range of motion will cause more damage than anything else. Vata is aggravated with movement because one of the qualities of vata is mobile. Much like water, the body will find the range of motion in a path of least resistance or in English that means you will stretch where the weakness is (the chain breaks at the weakest link) and not what is causing the weakness or pain without having detailed kinesthetic ability and then the knowledge of it all to guide you.
Another way of explaining this by using western biomechanical example is that the right median nerve shortens when you move your right ear toward your right shoulder and bend your right elbow; it gets longer when you tip your head toward the left shoulder and straighten your elbow. What would be the cause of that nerve being in a shortened position with all the tissues surrounding being tight as well might actually not have anything to do with a focus on that median nerve but rather the position of the rib cage being posteriorly tilted (upper cross syndrome) and the shoulder due to the weight of the arm and its position to the ribcage in gravity and the effects that this has on movement of the upper part of the body. This is solely from a Western lens. Past the Western lens actually because just from the link for upper cross syndrome and anything you can see on the web you will find that there is nothing out there that would see the position you stand on your feet, and how you sit is going to create that upper cross syndrome… just exercises to try to fix it via neck exercises and such.
But to see this deeper, one with sciatica is going to have the results in their posture of imbalanced apana.
But let us review for a second to make it super super clear…..
1. Sciatic is first and foremost due to improper digestion to create it in the first place. If one is eating the prescribed diet as per yoga (whats that??? Paleo? Vegan? Look on the web about what a yoga diet is, see what you find in the disinformation for yourself), then this is not likely to occur.
Secondarily, the laws of exertion/capacity in yoga are not known in modern yoga because it is all based in Western exercise theory only, over exertion is key to most modern yoga. In Yogasana, when you break a sweat, your done. Opposite to Western exercise theory where you wanna sweat because that is what is healthy and after you break a sweat you are warmed up and now ready to really go for it. This has been explained in tedium here in other posts so I am not going to repeat it in greater detail than this. Except to say, to go past this point of breaking a sweat imbalances prana (vata) which will vitiate the agni as well.
2. The food intake and lifestyle that is vata provoking such as dry foods and rough foods as well as staying up late and other vata provoking things are at the cause as well.
A modern yoga practice with in most cases is over exertion constantly and especially in the summertime it is contraindicated, in general to health. Just saying. More so on this point… asana is not yoga and never will be.
3. The causative factors MUST be corrected or no herbs or treatment or stretching your butt as much as you want will actually help.
4. You can see the two types of sciatica generally as 1. vata type which is just a frazzled and fried dried out system and the second would be 2. kapha blocking vata type. Each needs to be treated appropriately as per this.
And lastly, for clarity, all the asanas that would be given for sciatica would be based on treatment to balance vata with a focus on apana and not a Western Physical therapy, opening up the hip to relieve a nerve. A focus on restoring agni would have to be part of it as well. If there is ama, what is stretching your hips and back going to do? Nothing. This shows the fundamental knowledge base that yoga is being taught as today. Even yoga therapy is only based in Western exercise theory.