By Faye Martins
How can we help students with tight quadriceps in our classes? Many Yoga poses can help to relieve tension throughout the body, including the quadriceps. The quadricep muscles are the large muscles in the front of the thighs. These muscles often become tight from athletic activities such as running, dancing, tennis and skiing. When the quadricep muscles are tight, the lower back may also be compromised. Tight quadriceps also shorten the front of the body and prevent the free flow of energy or prana from circulating easily. Incorporating Yoga poses into your practice that engender flexibility in the quadriceps will also help to open up the front of the torso, greatly enhancing your energy, sense of nobility, fullness and ease.
Crescent Lunge Pose for Tight Quadriceps
To practice Crescent Lunge Pose, warm up first with three to five full Sun Salutations and then come to the front of your Yoga mat in Tadasana. With your next inhale, begin to move through a Sun Salutation. As you come out of Downward Facing Dog, place your right foot up by your right hand and parallel to the sides of your Yoga mat. Place your left knee down on the mat. If your knees are sensitive, you may want to place a folded towel or blanket on your mat for extra padding. Keep your right knee directly over your right ankle in order to prevent injuring your knee. With an inhale, bring your arms to your sides and over your head with your palms touching. Extend your arms to their full capacity and keep your drishti or gaze on your hands. Feel your fullness. Breath deeply and hold for several breaths. With an exhale, bring your arms back to your side and move into Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the left side.
Bow Pose for Tight Quadriceps
Bow Pose is one of the most powerful Yoga poses for opening up the entire front side of the body. It also invigorates the adrenals and kidneys by flushing them with fresh oxygen, blood and nutrients. Before practicing Bow Pose, it is important that you are warmed up. Please practice several rounds of the Sun Salutation and several standing poses in preparation for Bow Pose. When you are ready, come to your Yoga mat in a prone position. Rest for a moment with your head turned to one side. When you are ready, take a few deep breaths and with an inhale grasp your ankles. Depending on your level of flexibility, you may feel an immediate stretch in your quadricep muscles. You may not need to go any further today. If you need more of a stretch, push your ankles against your hands while lifting your chest off the floor. Lead with your heart. Feel the stretch through the entire front side of your body. Hold the pose for three to five breaths and release. Repeat two more times.
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