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PNF Stretch: Piriformis

Beginner I
A tight piriformis muscle can lead to tension and pain in the legs, hips and lower back, so releasing this key muscle can provide immense relief, as well as a wonderful feeling of improved range of motion. The piriformis is a muscle that externally rotates the leg. Along with it, you will be stretching the remaining external hip rotators, low back rotators and gluteus maximus.
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Comments

Existing Comments

PianoWire
January 29, 2021
Comment:

This was totally inaccessible to me. I can't come close to straightening a leg up toward the ceiling. I tried with straight leg 30 degrees off the floor (about as far as I can go without bending the knee), and I tried bending my knee. Either way, the only stretch I could get was through my calf and hamstring. What do you suggest for those of us who don't have the flexibility of a yoga teacher?

David Procyshyn
February 8, 2021
Comment:

If you're hamstrings are too tight to bring you leg past 30 degrees, you can bend your knee slightly - just enough so you can bring the leg into a more comfortable position. Then put a bit of effort into trying to straighten the leg as you pull it toward you. Work within your ability, of course. It's ok if you only feel the stretch in your calf and hamstring - that is where you are tightest! Make sure you're breathing and move in and out of the pose when you need to. Also, pause the video if you ever need a break. :-)

MaryRose Metcalfe
April 10, 2020
Comment:

David. I have a stained Piriformis muscle. Would this exercise harm this strain?

David Procyshyn
April 11, 2020
Comment:

It depends on how recent the strain happened. If it's within that last few weeks, you may want to avoid this or do it very gently and see the effects. If it was longer than that, the muscle may be ready to stretch. Either way, go easy on it. Perhaps just start with a simple stretch (not the PNF method) and see if itfeels ok.

luram
April 6, 2020
Comment:

I just restarted this challenge after taking a couple days break and did a short vinyasa practice before to warmup, and i have to say, I am amazed at how much i can already see these stretches working. Not only do i notice increased bodily awareness, but I am finding that these PNF exercises are helping me find/access more space within my yoga practice in general. i am finding myself jumping to the front of the mat from down ward dog with more ease and it feels way less forced now. so much more space in my body. this piriformis stretch felt SO good too.

MaryRose Metcalfe
April 2, 2020
Comment:

Thanks David. My Piriformis on the right is just about healed now and this exercise and my physio is helping.