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Healing Yoga Sequence: Restorative Yoga Poses For Piriformis Syndrome

(Tummee Reference Yoga Sequence)


Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans


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Healing Yoga Sequence: Restorative Yoga Poses For Piriformis Syndrome: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions

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  • Seated Forward Fold Pose Two Chairs
    A. As students generally come to class commuting from a distance, it is always advised to settle the body before the start of any yoga sequence.

    B. Here, seated in Seated Forward Fold Pose with the Chairs is a great way to connect with the breathing process as well as for the lower back and hips to relax.

    C. Sit here comfortably resting the head on the chair in front taking the breathing in a synchronized way to relax the entire back and hips.

    D. Resting the body in a forward bend will not put pressure on the sit bones taking the attention to just the breathing.

    E. Stay for about 10 breaths.
  • Mountain Pose On Tiptoes Arms Flow (Tadasana On Tiptoes Hasta Vinyasa)
    A. Moving with the practice, please ensure that all the poses are not done in a flow, they are done slowly taking rest in between the poses.

    B. Come to stand in Mountain Pose. In a smooth flow of inhalation, raise the body upwards balancing on the toes. Stretch the entire leg muscles as you stretch upwards.

    C. Using a Chair for support is essential. Hold the chair while placing it in front of you.

    D. Breath going up and remain in Mountain Pose On Tiptoes (no need to raise the arms) for about 10 breaths.

    E. Feel the calves, hamstrings, back of the knee, and soles of the feet stretch. Stay stretching deep as you exhale.

    F. Release and repeat again if need be.

    G. A great way to stretch the lower body muscles right from the hips to the tips of the toes. It opens as it stretches without overdoing the stretch. It builds energy in the feet preparing for the other poses in the sequence.
  • Chair Pose Arms Forward (Utkatasana Arms Forward)
    A. Release from Mountain Pose on Tiptoes and exhale to go into Chair Pose Arms Forward.

    B. Using a Chair for support is an option. Stay bending the knees and trying to take the hips down keeping the comfort of the body.

    C. Feel the stretch at the hips and the buttocks (gluteus maximus) while here. Remain breathing in a rhythm.

    D. Stay for 10 breaths at a stretch or stay for 5 breaths, release, and repeat with the second round.

    E. Holding on to a chair in front is an option. A great pose to open the hamstrings while stretching the gluteus maximus and the piriformis muscles.
  • Bear Pose
    A. Release and come to relax in Mountain Pose.

    B. From Mountain Pose, Exhale and go down lowering the hips in Bear Pose.

    C. You could choose to use support from a Chair in Front. Stay feeling the stretch at the hamstrings, the gluteus maximus and piriformis muscles.

    D. Exhale and go lower with the hips and remain for 10 breaths or break it in two reps. Feel comfortable when here and don't overstretch the muscles mentioned above.

    E. It is always good to listen to the body and respect it if there is discomfort by releasing from the posture.

    F. A nice way to avoid overstretching the muscles while still allowing it to open up and build strength and flexibility.

    G. Stretching the arms out is not the primary focus here. Focus is more towards the hips. This pose will also reduce the stiffness at the lower back allowing from more flexibility.
  • Prop Chair
    Using a Chair for support is an option if students require.

    Working on restorative yoga poses does not necessarily mean using props. They can be done even without props, but taking care to avoid overstretching or overstraining of the weak or stiff muscles.
  • Hare Pose Preparation (Sasangasana Preparation)
    A. After the practice of Bear Pose, release and come to kneel on the floor.

    B. Kneeling on a blanket to support the knees can be considered. From the kneeling pose, raise the torso and come to sit on your toes.

    C. Holding the heels sit in Hare Pose Preparation. The idea of this practice is to encourage fresh blood circulation to the soles of the feet and the sciatic nerve.

    D. While seated here, remain for 10 breaths pressing the hips closer to the heels and exhaling to stretch the torso in front creating a stretch to the lower back and the hips. Pull yourself forward as you hold on to your heels and feel the stretch at the soles.

    E. A great way to work from the toes upwards towards the piriformis muscles. Targeting just the main muscles should not be the only way to heal the body, but to intelligently work on using all the lower body muscles and stretching them brings overall healing and comfort.

    F. When you release from the pose, is when there will be fresh supply of blood to the muscles. This is what brings healing along with stretching.

    G. Release and sit in Staff Pose, placing the blanket below the hips for support.
  • Half Pigeon Pose Variation (Ardha Kapotasana Variation)
    A. From Staff Pose:

    Inhale - and take the right leg behind bending the knee. You could raise the hips and take the leg behind if there is pain while moving the legs.
    Exhale - bend the left leg at the knee in front of you.
    Inhale /Exhale - settle the hips comfortably.
    Inhale/Exhale - sit in Half Pigeon Pose Variation
    Inhale/Exhale - stay for 6 breaths, extending the spine up while feeling the stretch in the gluteus maximus of both the legs.
    Inhale - release from the posture.
    Exhale - sit in Staff Pose extending the legs out in front.
    Inhale - take the left leg behind
    Exhale - bend the right leg in front
    Inhale/Exhale - sit in Half Pigeon Pose with the other leg.
    Inhale/Exhale - stay for 6 breaths, extending the spine while making sure the hips are comfortable.
    Inhale - release
    Exhale - sit in Staff Pose extending the legs out.

    B. This internal and external rotation of the hips is a great way to pay attention to the side of the hips that has the inflamed piriformis muscles. While one side rests the other side stretches at the buttocks. This gives room for healing with the inflamed muscles.

    C. Stay here for longer and see how the static posture greatly helps with the deeper tendons and tissues in the healing process.
  • Half Cow Face Pose Variation Forward Bend (Ardha Gomukhasana Variation Forward Bend)
    A. From Staff Pose:

    Inhale - bring the right thigh over the left thigh
    Exhale - sit comfortably to adjust the hips.
    Inhale - extend the spine
    Exhale - come in a forward fold to sit in Half Cow Face Pose Variation Forward Bend.
    Inhale/Exhale - press the chest on the thighs and remain breathing.
    Inhale/Exhale - to stay for 6 breaths.
    Inhale - release
    Exhale - sit in Staff Pose
    Inhale - bring the left thigh over the right thigh.
    Exhale - sit comfortably
    Inhale - extend the spine
    Exhale - come in a forward fold stretch.
    Inhale/Exhale - to stay for 6 breaths.
    Inhale/Exhale - release and sit in Staff Pose.

    B. A great pose that stretches the hamstrings and the upper hips while paying close attention to the piriformis muscles and the sciatic nerve. When you release from the pose, the fresh supply of blood to these muscles happens healing in the process the symptoms. The forward bends will stretch the muscles more and when in static position, the deeper tendons and tissues are addressed.

    C. Breath in and out while in the posture as that is what brings the additional support in the healing process. If discomfort is seen in this posture, then seated on a cushion is a great alternative, but not a yoga block.
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Note: Above yoga sequence is for educational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional and/or a licensed yoga teacher or yoga therapist before starting any exercise regime, including yoga.

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