The IT band, or iliotibial band, is a thick band of tissue that runs along the outer side of the leg from the hip to the knee. It helps stabilize the knee during movement, but if it becomes too tight, it can cause friction and irritation in the knee joint. This can lead to a condition known as IT band syndrome, which is a common overuse injury among runners and other athletes. To prevent IT band tightness, it is important to stretch the IT band regularly and to strengthen the muscles around the hip and knee joints.
Lucky for us, there are many yoga asana that provide a good stretch to the IT band:
IT Band Stretch - Lay on your back. Place a strap across the ball of right foot and extend the leg up to the sky. Extend left leg. Place both straps in the left hand. Invert the foot in the strap so that the pinky toe edge is reaching up into the strap (sole of the foot faces left). Keep both hips on the mat and tip right leg to the left so the right foot hovers over left hip. To increase intensity, pull foot toward left shoulder. Repeat on left leg.
Revolved Half Split - Set up in a lunge with right foot forward. Stack hips over left knee and extend right leg. Place blocks beneath the hands on their highest height and keep the spine long. Place a block outside of the right ankle bone, touching it. Place left hand on block and reach right hand behind you to revolve into a twist. Press block into ankle and ankle into block with toes pointing up. Repeat on left leg.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matseyandrasna) - Begin seated with legs extended. Cross left leg over right thigh and ground left foot. Bend right knee and place outside of right foot near left hip. Rotate torso to the left, Place left hand down behind hips, and hook right elbow outside of left thigh. Gaze over left shoulder. Repeat on the other side.