If you suffer from tight legs (quads, glutes, hamstrings & hips) then these yoga poses are for you! Tight legs can often trigger pain in the lower back too as well as hinder mobility in strength training activities like squats, toes to bar and lunges. We use our legs all the time, so it’s important that you look after these muscles and allow them to stretch and recover.
Try to practice these movements regularly (after workouts/at the end of your day) and you will soon see a huge improvement in flexibility, mobility, plus maybe a bit of pain relief too!
Yoga for tight legs – our top postures
1. Standing forward fold
Stand upright in Tadasana, feet hip distance apart. Inhale to lift the arms up above the head, lengthening the spine and reaching through the crown to gain space between the vertebrae. Exhale to to swan dive forwards, hinging at the hips whilst keeping length in the spine, brining the chest towards the thighs, before dropping the crown of the head towards the ground letting the neck hang long and loose. Feel free to cradle the arms, take a slight bend in the knees if needed and rock side to side, back and forth. Stay here for around 10 breaths.
2. Head to knee
Come to seated, legs straight out in front of you. Move the fleshy bits out from underneath your bum so you can feel your sit bones are in contact with the ground. Bring the sole of the left foot in to the right thigh and square the body off to face the right leg. Flex the toes back towards you rather than pointed. Inhale to lift the arms and body up through the pelvis, creating long neutral spine, arms above the head, lifting upwards through the crown. Exhale as you keep a long straight spine and fold forwards over the right leg , first bringing the chest toward the thigh, then finally dropping the head towards the knee. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat other side.
3. One leg king pigeon pose
Come to your hands and knees. Bring the right leg in front of you bending at the knee and placing its down on the ground at a 45 degree angle towards the right, front, corner of the mat. Slide the left leg backwards as far as you can go, toes untucked. Make sure the hips remain left and square the front of the mat. The aim is to get the right bum cheek to the floor and the left hip should rest on top of your right heal. Use blocks as required. If you are comfortable stay here. If you would like to increase the intensity of the stretch allow the body to fold forwards towards the ground in front until you are completely flat on the ground. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
4. Cow Face pose
Come to seated, legs straight out in front of you, then bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Slide your left leg under the right knee and placing the left foot to the outside of the right hip, sole facing upwards. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the knees vertically, and placing the right foot to the outside of the left hip, sole facing upwards. Hips should be level and you should be sat evenly on the sit bones, use a block if not.
If you wish to add the arms – Inhale to lift your left up above you, turn your palm to face the wall behind you. Exhale as you bend at the elbow, reaching backwards before you slide the hand down between your shoulder blades.
Inhale to take your right arm straight out to the side, parallel to the floor. Rotate your arm inwardly, then exhale as you ben at the elbow and try to grab your left hand. Use a strap to bridge the gap at first. Also try to keep a straight back as leaning forwards only increase the distance your hands have to reach. Stay here for 10 breaths, then release the arms and the legs and switch to do the other side.
From a high lunge, inhale to straighten the front leg, lifting the body upwards slightly to find length in the spine. Exhale to fold forwards over the right leg, brining the chest towards the thighs, before dropping the crown of the head towards the knee. Stay here for around 10 breaths, the repeat on the other side.
Come to your hands and knees, step your right foot forward between your hands. Left knee should remain on the ground with the top of the left foot on the ground. Flex your right foot, coming up onto the heel and extending your toes back toward you, and begin to straighten your right leg as much as you comfortably can. Keep your hips square and stacked over your left knee. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, begin to fold over your right leg. Keep drawing your right heel back while reaching your chest forward, and draw your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat other side.
From standing come down to a squatting position. yo make want to take your feet out a little wider and even turn the feet out slightly rather than having toes pointing directly forwards. Aim to have the heals flat to the floor if you can. Inhale to lengthen though the spine and bring your hands to prayer position in front of you, use your elbows to encourage the knees to go outwards. Stay here for 10 – 15 breaths. Again feel free to add movement, bounce or rock side to side to get deeper. This stretch is not only a great hip opener, but also helps release tension in the lower back.
From down facing dog (below) exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the right knee over the heel. Then lower your left knee to the floor and, keeping the right knee fixed in place, slide the left back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your left foot to the floor. Now, place the right hand on the inside of the right foot and nudge the right knee out sideways, sink deeper into the stretch. if you are comfortable stay here, if you want to take the pose further see if you can lower down to your forearms to get deeper. Stay here for 10 breaths. Repeat other side.
From dragon, come back up on the hands keeping the legs exactly where they were. With your right leg forwards and your left leg long on the ground, reach back with your right hand, whilst bending at the left knee, reaching for your foot and brining the heel towards the buttock so that you feel a stretching the front of your left leg. If you are comfortable her, you can take the pose further by returning back down to your left forearm and using the right shoulder to keep pushing the right leg outwards for a deeper groin strecth at the same time. Stay here for 10 breaths , then repeat on the other side.
Want to try one of our classes?
If you are new to yoga, or just would like to try to practice more regularly with company, then why not pop along to one of our classes. We have various levels and styles of classes from the more strength focused Yoga for Fitness classes, to our very chilled Restore & Recover gentle yoga sessions, or if you are looking for something in the middle why not try our Stretch & Tone class. Full timetables , price and class details can be found here.
We also offer 1-2-1 sessions and private bookings for those who would like something a little more personalised. Read more here.