Here is a “quick guide” that you can save to your phone with 5 of the best yoga IT band stretches. Stretching the IT (iliotibial) band can be difficult with conventional stretching as it is not elastic like a muscle. However, yoga has a whole class of twisting poses that can be very effective at releasing tension. In Twisting Forward Bend, Eagle and Reclining Eagle Twist, we use the leverage of the other leg to stretch the IT band and in Revolved Low Lunge and Half Spinal Twist, we leverage the arm to deepen the stretch. Incidentally, these poses are also great for releasing tension in the TFL.
SOME TIPS FOR EACH OF THESE IT BAND STRETCHES
- Twisted Forward Bend. If you can’t reach the mat with straight legs, you can bring your bottom hand to a block. Look down, straight ahead or up to the sky.
- Eagle. If you can’t wrap your toes around the back of your ankle, you can rest them on the mat. And you can touch the backs of your hands together if you can’t wrap your hands twice.
- Revolved Low Lunge. Try to bring your palms together at the centre of your chest. For the advanced version, tuck your back toes and lift your back knee off the mat.
- Half Spinal Twist. If you have the flexibility, you can bring your left foot back to your right hip. Inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale into the twist.
- Reclining Eagle Twist. It’s ok if your legs don’t wrap around twice. And don’t worry if your knees don’t come all the way down. Just try to keep both shoulders flat on the mat.
Let me know what your favourite IT band stretches are or if you have any variations or modifications to add.