Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation
There is a large and complex group of muscles that work together to support the spine, help hold the body upright and allow the trunk of the body to move, twist and bend in many directions..
The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock, behind the gluteus maximus. It runs diagonally from the lower spine to the upper surface of the femur, with the sciatic nerve running underneath or through the muscle. The piriformis muscle helps the hip rotate, turning the leg and foot outward.
Structurally, your psoas muscles are the deepest muscles in your core. They attach from your 12th thoracic vertebrae to your 5 lumbar vertebrae, through your pelvis and then finally attach to your femurs. In fact, they are the only muscles that connect your spine to your legs.
Your psoas muscles allow you to bend your hips and legs towards your chest, help to move your leg forward when you walk or run, and flex your trunk forward when you bend over to pick up something from the floor. They also stabilize your trunk and spine during movement and sitting as well as support your internal organs and work like hydraulic pumps allowing blood and lymph to be pushed in and out of your cells.
In relation to your yoga practice, the piriformis is responsible for the following movements. External rotation of the hip and leg, as well as abduction when the hip is flexed. This takes place in Bound Angle pose commonly known as Butterfly, Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe pose (standing or reclining), and Warrior 2.
Pigeon Pose, also known as Figure 4 is a beautiful stretch to release the piriformis.
There are many variations you can try to find the one that fits your needs.
If you have any questions regarding these variations, please be sure to reach out to Micki and she would be happy to schedule a 30 minute self care session with you!