3 poses for a healthy IT band

When it comes to your IT band, not all yoga poses are cre­ated equal. Some lengthen the IT band’s mus­cu­lar at­tach­ments, and oth­ers will re­in­force their strength and sta­bil­ity. The fol­low­ing poses will help you get to know your IT band—and help heal and pre

Yoga Journal - - PRACTICE WELL -

To feel the IT band in your body, try ... PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA Wide-Legged Stand­ing For­ward Bend, vari­a­tion

The twist­ing mo­tion in this unique vari­a­tion will help you feel the ori­gin and in­ser­tion points of your IT band, from the out­side of your hip to your knee, pro­vid­ing a deep stretch in your glutes, lat­eral ham­strings, lat­eral calf mus­cles, and an­kles.

HOW TO Step your feet 2–3 feet apart and hinge for­ward un­til your hands touch the ground, keeping a neu­tral spine. If you have trou­ble touch­ing the floor, place your hands on a block or a chair. Walk your hands to the right, al­low­ing your whole body to re­volve so your feet and head face away from their start­ing points. Stop when your hips and thighs reach their max ro­ta­tion. Your right leg will be in front of your left. Hold for 5–10 breaths, then re­peat on the other side.

If your IT band is hy­per­mo­bile, try ... VASISTHASANA Side Plank Pose

If you have a hy­per­mo­bile body type, iso­met­ric poses that boost sta­bil­ity are key to help­ing build strength and keeping your IT band safe. This pose will ac­ti­vate the lat­eral sta­bi­liz­ers of your hips, in­clud­ing the glu­teus max­imus, medius, and min­imus, while also prompt­ing your ten­sor fas­ciae latae to sta­bi­lize your IT band. Both legs work equally hard in this Vasisthasana vari­a­tion, mak­ing it an es­pe­cially pow­er­ful hip strength­ener that im­proves IT band sta­bil­ity. HOW TO Lie on your left side, plac­ing your left fore­arm on the ground and driv­ing your scapula to­ward your hip. Line up your feet with your shoul­ders. Ac­ti­vate your outer foot so that your an­kle stays strong, ris­ing up into Side Plank Pose. Lift your right foot away from your left so your feet are hip-width apart. Hold for up to 1 minute, then re­peat on the other side.

If your IT band feels tight, try ... ANANTASANA Side-Re­clin­ing Leg Lift, vari­a­tion

If your IT band and hips feel tight (read, if Child’s Pose makes you sweat), you’ll want to im­prove the mo­bil­ity of the mus­cles con­nect­ing to your IT band, which will help main­tain their strength and en­hance their range of mo­tion.

HOW TO Lie on your left side and stretch your left arm out up along the floor, par­al­lel to your torso. Bend your left el­bow and sup­port your head in your palm. Keep your right hip par­al­lel to the left, rais­ing your right leg as high as pos­si­ble with­out ro­tat­ing your hip. Then, flex your right hip for­ward, keeping it raised. (Your toes should never point to­ward the ceil­ing.) Slowly lower your right foot to the ground with­out ro­tat­ing your hips. Then, lift your right foot off the ground again, tak­ing 30 sec­onds to re­turn it to its start­ing po­si­tion. Each leg lift should take ap­prox­i­mately 1 minute. Do 3 on the left side, then re­peat on the other side.

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