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
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.