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PNF Stretch: Piriformis

Beginner I
(16 Reviews)

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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.


  • Strap


  • Hips
  • Flexibility
  • Legs and Feet
  • Lower Back


  • PNF
  • Yoga for Athletes
  • Yoga for Runners
  • Yoga for Back Care
Valerie Toby
February 26, 2023

This is useless if the leg cannot stay straight. Like if you just massage your butt with an Acu-hump massager without stretching, progress is also difficult.

January 29, 2021

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?

Comment Replies

David Procyshyn
February 8, 2021

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

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

Comment Replies

David Procyshyn
April 11, 2020

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.

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