Why Paradoxical Piriformis? Piriformis is known for having one action. How does that same action or contraction produce a stretch?
After doing yoga for many years, I had known pigeon pose was good for stretching your piriformis. Now, I am taking medical anatomy and can conceptualize all the things I had learned before. A few months ago someone struck a good question that I did not have the answer to.
In pigeon pose, you are in hip external rotation, abduction, hip flexion, and knee flexion. How can piriformis be stretched in pigeon pose if piriformis is an external rotator?
Answer: Piriformis is an external rotator in anatomical position. Once you add hip flexion into the mix. Piriformis becomes an internal rotator based on how it pulls on its insertion point, greater trochanter of the femur.
Here is a video that show this.
Here is a good link that explains this in more detail.