Have you ever had a pain out of nowhere and it seems impossible to get to? There are places in your body that are very difficult to reach, even for a massage therapist. Though ice and heat may very well help, there are other things you can do besides waiting impatiently for the pain to cease. Try a few simple yoga poses!
Here are five poses that just may fix your predicament.
1. Reclined IT Band Stretch With Strap
The Iliotibial band is a very important and hard to stretch area of connective tissue. It runs from the outer knee all the way up to the gluteus maximus and connects to the tibia. Runners often pull or injure this area and have knee problems because of it. Cyclist and weightlifters also are susceptible to hurting the IT band. If you have ever had an injury or pain here, then you know how hard it is to stretch it out. This stretch will need a strap, such as the Theraband, as a prop.
Begin by lying flat on your back, take the band in both hands and place it so it runs across the ball of your foot. Take your right hand to secure the left hip to the floor, not lifting the back or bottom from the ground. With the strap in your left hand, pull the right leg over toward the left side of the body, keeping the leg fully extended out with no bend in the knee. Hold the pose for about 8 to 10 breaths, pulling over further as it starts to loosen up. Keep in mind that even if you aren’t feeling pain in this area, it rarely gets stretched so you will feel a deep stretch that kind of feels like an ice-cream headache in your hip. That soreness is ok, but if you start to feel a sharp pain, you are taking too deep of a stretch, so back out.
2. Standing Pigeon
This pose will help stretch out the piriformis muscle which connects the legs to the spine and can be the culprit that causes the pain some feel in sciatica. This standing pigeon pose will stretch out that area. Begin pose in a standing position with feet hip distance apart.
This is a balance pose so you will need to lock gaze into place, focusing on a spot on the floor about 3 or 4 feet in front of you on the ground. Engage the core; tuck your tailbone and lock your left leg into place creating a strong base for you to balance. Pick the right foot off the floor and cross it over to the left leg in a figure 4 position. Rest the right ankle just above the left knee on the thigh. Bend the left knee and lean back through the hips into a modified chair pose position. Take the hands together at the heart or if you need help with balance place a hand on a wall next to you. Take 8 to 10 breaths in this position and feel the nice stretch.
3. Eagle (Arms) Pose
If you have pain underneath your shoulder blades, you can know how difficult it is to reach, even for a massage therapist. It feels like they have to dislocate the whole shoulder blade to get near it and I would rather just do it myself. Eagle pose is just the pose to help.
Begin this pose with your arms reaching out forward in front of you, parallel with the ground beneath you. Bend your left arm and sweep the right arm under it. Wrap the right arm around the outside edge of the left until your hands meet. Lift your elbows away from the floor and move your hands away from the face. Take 8 to 10 deep breaths then switch sides.
4. Thread the Needle
Another great pose for that pesky upper back and shoulder blade area is the thread the needle pose. Start the pose on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips. Reach the left arm out as far forward as it will stretch, then thread the right arm under the left. Rest your right shoulder and right cheek on the floor, relax your hips and close your eyes. Take 10 to 12 breaths in this pose and feel that stretch to that hard to reach area that seems to plague people quite often.
5. Yoga Toes
Our feet take a beating each and every day. They have to hold up our entire body weight and often get scrunched into tiny, tight shoes for endless hours each day. Feet need to stretch out, too, and this pose is ideal for feet that take a beating.
In a seated position with your legs extend out, take the right foot across the left thigh. Let the right foot hang over the thigh so you can move the foot around without restriction. Hold the right ankle with your right hand so the foot is secured. Thread your left fingers in between your toes. For a few breaths, just sit there and breathe. Imagine the breath is running through the space between your toes. Then allow your foot to relax completely, letting it hang limp. Use the left hand to circle the right foot around in a clockwise circulation, then rotate counter clockwise. After several cycles, remove the fingers and just feel that glorious feeling of space between your toes. A happy foot makes for a happy person. Be good to your feet and they will be good to you.
Just because certain spots are hard to reach it doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Try out these five simple yoga poses and you will soon find that with a little ice, rest, and attention, you’ll be feeling great in no time!