This pose is ostensibly meant to be a piriformis release but its stretch of the quadriceps tendon is equally useful. There are strange things going on with our quadriceps. This massive group of four muscles, all connect to the shin at their base while one of them connects to the pelvis and the three others attach to the leg. The quadriceps function mainly as an extensor of the knee but also give a little assist to the psoas in flexing the knee when standing or walking.
When we are upright the quadriceps shouldn’t be doing anything to help us stand up. Our bones are supposed to hold us up and our muscles are meant to move us. The piriformis, the star of the piriformis release video above, should help a bit in the standing game but is often pulled out of alignment and function due to an overworked and tension filled quadriceps (among other things).
When the quadriceps sinks forward pulling the thigh bones forward out of vertical, and the pelvis into its habitual tuck, a great deal of pressure is put on the tendon of the one quadriceps muscle (rectus femoris) that attaches to the pelvis. It is easy to actually ask this tendon to support the entire weight of the upper body which doesn’t do anyone any good.
This quadriceps tendon is the cause of a great deal of misery for many people in yoga. It manifests with a feeling sort of like a taut cable or rope at the top of the hip seizing during core work.
So why this post with this video? Often it is this tendon of rectus femoris that you feel when you assume this Frog Belly shape. The idea of the pose is be a piriformis release, shutting it off so that it can’t do anything. This often goes along with a deep sensation in the groin that may be associated with the quadriceps tendon. Everyone is different and feels everything differently. Check it out for yourself and see how it feels.