The Fire Log Pose, or Agnistambhasana, is an excellent stretch for targeting the piriformis muscles where sciatic pain originates.
(Pronounced as "AAHG-nee stahm-BHAHS-anna")
In some yoga schools, you may also hear this pose called Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana or "Downward Facing Half-Lotus Pose" since it's essentially bending forward while in the Half-Lotus sitting posture.
This posture works intensely on the hips and hamstrings. If you have chronic hip pain or very stiff hips that make it difficult for you to sit on the floor, then do this pose while sitting on a chair instead. Sit up straight on the front edge of your chair. Tuck your tailbone in and down toward the seat of the chair. Hold your torso and chest up by engaging your abdominal muscles. Lift up your right foot, bend the knee and rest the outside of the right ankle on the top of your left knee. Keep your left foot on the floor with your left ankle directly below your left knee.
Now keep your right foot active by extending through the right heel so that you're making a 90-degree angle between the top of your right foot and your right shin. Then place your palms on top of your knees and extend your sternum as you gradually bend forward from your waist slowly. Keep your shoulders back as you bend forward as far as you can. Hold it for up to a minute and then switch your feet and repeat these steps on the other side for the same amount of time.
If you can sit on the floor, then proceed with the rest of these steps as follows:
Sit up straight on your yoga mat. Cross your legs to come into Half-Lotus Pose.
If you need an easier variation of this pose that is more gentle on the knees, then you can also sit with your left ankle under your right knee while the right ankle rests on top of the left knee. Alternatively, you can also sit in Sukhasana, or the Easy Sitting Pose.
Keep both feet active by extending through your heels. Do not point your toes.
When you allow your right hip to descend down to the floor, your right knee will be able to come down more. Tuck your shoulder blades deeply into the back. Let your shoulders descend down and away from the neck.
Place your hands on the ground in front of you. Exhale as you continue lifting your sternum up while bending forward from the waist. Slowly walk your hands forward while looking straight ahead. Do not crunch your belly together as you bend. Instead, elongate the front torso while bending from the hips.
Bend forward while looking in front of you until you can't go further. Inhale as you lift the chest and exhale as you bend a little deeper on each breath. When you are very flexible, then you can eventually place your forehead on the ground in front of you with your arms extended straight on the floor.
Hold this posture for a minute or longer. Inhale as you sit back up and then cross your legs the other way to repeat the posture on the other side for the same amount of time.
Agnistambhasana (a.k.a. Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana)
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