The piriformis is part of the deep hip musculature that rotates and abducts the thigh. It is also an important hip stabilizing muscle. In approximately 15-20% of the populaton the sciatic nerve runs through the muscle. If the muscle is tight this can cause sciatic like symptoms. There is a very simple stretch that can help alleviate tightness in the piriformis.
Begin the stretch by sitting on a bench or other solid surface. A soft surface will make it more difiicult to maintain good posture. To begin stretching the left piriformis start by crossing the leftt ankle over the right knee as shown in the first photo. Once in position the left leg should remain relaxed.
The second step is to sit as upright as possible. When the spine is straight the stretch will be much more efective. If the spine is rounded the effeciveness of the stretch is decreased significantly or you may not be able to feel it at all. Once the spine is straight you may begin the stretch.
Begin by hinging forward from the hip joint while maintaining a straight spine. It is very easy to round the spine at this point. Bring the torso forward until you feel the stretch within the left hip/gluteal area. The conclusion of the stretch is shown in the second photo at the left. Individual flexibility will determine how far one can hinge forward.
In the last photo Bud shows good maintenance of the striaght spine and as a result is feeling an effective stretch. This stretch should be held for approximately 30 seconds. Then repeat on the right side.