This stretch is a modification of the classic pigeon pose (done in a lunge position). It’s great for tight hips, and also works as a preventive stretch for the knees.
The iliotibial band (IT band) is the connective tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the pelvic bone to the top of the shin bone.
‘A lot of the time when people have knee issues, it’s not because they have weak knees, it’s because their IT band is tight,’ says Mandy Ingber, a Los Angeles-based celebrity yoga and fitness instructor and the creator of the DVD Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy. (Jennifer Aniston is a client, and appears in the DVD’s introduction.) ‘This stretch will lengthen the IT band to improve your physical performance.’
Whether you’re an athlete or someone who spends a lot of time sitting at a desk, you can benefit from this stretch.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Cross your right foot over your left knee, with your right knee sticking out to the side. Keep your right foot flexed to maintain the integrity of the knee. Reach behind the hamstring on your left leg and hug it toward your chest as you open your right knee. Hold from 30 seconds to two minutes on each side depending on flexibility. Tip: Keep your head flat on the floor by tucking your chin down.