Tight Rotator Troubles
When a tight piriformis presses down on the sciatic nerve,it can lead to piriformis syndrome, which creates a radiating pain in the buttocks, down the back of the thigh, into the leg and foot.
And if this rotator is especially tight, it can pull on the sacrum, affecting the functioning of the sacroiliac joint (the joint between the sacrum and the pelvis).
When the sacroiliac joint is dysfunctional, the lumbar (lower) spine can also be adversely affected.
So if your forward bends are limited, or if youre experiencing piriformis syndrome, its a good idea to continue to work on your hamstrings, but also include a few rotator stretches in your regular asana routine (see instructions on p. 90).
A note of caution: If the leg pain is great and/or persists,it is advisable to seek the treatment of a qualified health professional.
Walk the Walk
Walking has a phase called the swing phase in which you are, in effect, standing on one leg: One leg is the support leg and the other is swinging forward but has not yet touched down. Because gravity tends to pull down on the pelvis, we need the
action of the rotators on the standing leg side to hold the head of the femur and the pelvis together in a stable position. Rotators tend to get tight when this action is exaggerated, like when you run or dance.
In order to understand this concept, try an experiment. Place your fingertips on the front of your pelvis, slightly to the side of the bony prominence called the ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine). Walk across the room and notice how these bony landmarks are held virtually level in relationship to the floor this is because the rotators are holding the pelvis stable while youre walking.
Now, keeping the hands as they are, raise the right leg in front of you as if you are about to take a step. Allow the left hip to sway to the left. The pelvis is now tipped downward on the right as the right rotators are relaxed. Place the right foot the other side