In the corporate world, the term “I.T. Band” conjures images geeks with glasses playing Guitar Hero or hunching over their computers and checking out some website that's far too cool for you or I to know about while ignoring your repeated phone calls asking how to restart your computer.Uh…I mean some adorable geeks with glasses who're helpfully waiting by their phones and only too delighted to help you locate the power switch so that you can restart your computer.

In the yoga geek world, I.T. (iliotibial) Band is the wide, thick band of fascia (I see you zoning out–stay with me!) that runs down the side of your legs between the hip (ilium) and the knee (tibia). It can get tight–really tight–and this can cause pain in both and the knee and/or the hip. It's also hard to stretch because it runs along the outer thigh (I promise this story really is going somewhere–stay with it!).

Last week after I taught, a student who is a runner came up and asked if I had any tips for her knee pain which seemed to be coming from her outer thigh and into her knee. After giving her the standard disclaimer about how I'm not a doctor…yadda, yadda, yadda…I suggested she try this I.T. Band release.

This week, she came into class–late, unfortunately, as everyone was already seated on their mat in the silent studio–and strode directly to the front.

“HEY!” She yelled, apparently forgetting she was wearing headphones with blaring music that necessitated this sort of volume, but the rest of us weren't. “GUESS WHAT?? I TOTALLY TRIED THAT I.T. BAND THING YOU GAVE ME AND IT WORKED!!!! MY KNEE DOESN'T HURT AT ALL!! SCORE!!!”

I high-fived her. The rest of the class seemed happy too–but not sure if that's because she then stopped yelling and the class continued.

Wildly curious? Mildly intrigued? Read on…

I.T. Band Release:
Grab a yoga block, a foam roller, or one of those foam block kid toys that look like yoga blocks. Alternatively, roll up a towel into a Tootsie Roll shape.

Lay on the floor on your right side with your bent elbow directly under your shoulder. Inhale and lift the hips up (you can place one foot on the floor if that helps), and place the prop perpendicularly under the leg half way between the knee and the hip.

Place the left palm on the mat to help support yourself. Inhale, steel your resolve, gird your loins, and when you are ready, drop the left hip forward (in effect “rolling” forward). Exhale, roll back. Repeat 10-12 times. Curse the day you were born, your mother, yoga, and this darn blog. Oh…and don't forget to breathe.

*This will always be intense, but if it's not good intense and you're using the block/roller, pad it with a blanket or towel. Or just switch to a rolled up towel.

Now it's time to do the other side! Repeat on the left.

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Let me know how it goes. I promise you that I have students that request this every single week. They LOVE it and as far as I know, they're not crazy.


Comments to "Yoga for the IT Band"

  1. Hanna

    September 16, 2012

    I’ve been trying this and it has helped decrease my knee pain. As always, thanks!

    • Sara

      September 19, 2012

      Awesome!! That’s so great to hear! Just remember not to shout it at your yoga teacher at the beginning of class while jamming to your iPod. Or do and report back 😉