The more yoga I practice, the more “issues” I seem to find with my body. I have particularly tight quadriceps. So I needed to find some easy poses to help relax those guys. Here’s what I found out. Bare in mind I look for poses that feel easy and good on my body. So if you’re a beginner – great! If you want to feel good – great!
First, how do you know if your quadriceps are tight? Try sitting in Hero’s Pose (Virasana),
or try to do a full Tree Pose (Vrksasana) where you pull your foot up to groin level.
If you have tight quadriceps, you will have a lot of pain in Hero’s Pose across the top of the thighs and also through your knees. That was one of my first clues. Also, if your quadriceps are tight, you will not be able to put your foot at groin level in Tree Pose. I can’t get my foot much above knee level and I always wondered why. Happy accident that I discovered this was also because of my tight quads as I researched this topic over the last couple of days.
So what do you do? I read a lot about yoga poses that I know are hard for me. I did not want those. I wanted easier; to start more slowly and ease out the tension. I kept searching. Here are the three things I found which I think will work for me. (We will see).
- Work on my posture! Bad posture will mess your body up! I tend to stand sitting back in my hips. I also have hyper-extended knees. These 2 situations put a lot of strain on the quadriceps. Standing correctly by stacking your bones and not letting your knees sit back if they are hyper-extended will immediately take the strain of that muscle. Of course this requires a lot of awareness of your body every time you move.
- I found a great exercise online called a block lunge. You will need at least one yoga block. Perhaps 2 additional ones if your hands don’t reach the floor yet. Basically you get into a lunge position but place a block under the thigh just above the knee. Gently put weight onto this area. This is much like using a foam roller. As you gently “mush” the quad it will eventually stretch. Hold this for as long or short as it feels good. Put as much weight onto the block that feels good. For more information on block lunges and a helpful video visit breakingmuscle.com . I was really surprised about this one. If you are not sure about the block perhaps foam rolling might help you out. Just that yogis tend to have more access to blocks!
- Hero’s Pose with block and strap. So full Hero’s Pose requires that you sit kneeling with your knees together and your sits bones on the ground between your feet. That is pretty much impossible for me right now. But it is possible to sit on a yoga block at the middle setting. Another help is using a yoga strap around my knees to keep them together until my muscles stretch out. This pose is now possible; and comfortable. You can find more information about Hero’s Pose at Yoga Journal’s website. Yoga Journal has tons of great information. Check ’em out!
Well, there you have it. A couple of simple exercises you can do to try and loosen up those quads. Go easy; be patient.
To your health.
Disclaimer: All articles written on Microyogi are opinions and not meant to serve as any kind of instruction for how to move your body. I am merely writing to serve as a means of trying to find my own answers. I am not a certified trainer or medical expert.