For all intents and purposes, this is a glute and piriformis stretch, which opens up the hip rotators. However, it is also a yoga stretch known as “double pigeon.” Stand how you normally stand and look down at your feet. Are your toes rotated out to the sides? If so, this is the stretch for you! It’s a chicken and egg scenario, but having tight hip rotators is correlated with turned out feet. Both can contribute to a narrowing of the sacro-illiac joint, which can cause back pain, sciatica, and all kinds of other problems. The hip rotators can also become tight with running, ballet, cutting movements, and really anything if you’re not keeping proper foot/ankle/hip alignment, or if you supinate your feet.
Most of us will not look like this when we do this stretch. This guy has pretty flexible hips, which is seen by how well he can rest his knees on his feet. For most of us there will be a significant gap between where the feet rest, and how close we can get the knees.
Sit on the ground and bring your right shin perpendicular to your body. It’s a slightly more extreme angle than when you sit with your legs crossed. Once you have that, try to bring your opposite shin to stack directly on top. This is tough! You want the knees and feet directly stacked. Make sure to flex the feet in order to protect your knees. Try to sink the left knee down toward the right foot as much as possible. Chances are you’re feeling it quite a bit at this point. If this is the case, stay here and take 20 deep breaths. If you feel like you can go further, round your spine and lean forward over your legs. When you’ve completed 20 breaths, switch to the other side.injury prevention, rehab, sports medicine