Yoga for Tired Legs: 4 Stretches for your Legs

yoga for tired legs

Yoga stretches are great for tired legs! These are 4 of my favourite yoga stretches for the legs. Plus, make sure to read until the end for a bonus self-massage!

Most of us know that feeling when we have been standing for a whole day and all we want to do is sit or lie down and rest our tired legs. If you work a job that keeps you on your feet or are an athlete that practices skiing, hiking or running (just to name a few), these yoga poses will be ideal for you to take post sports practice or at the end of a long day.

Our legs take us everywhere, so it is only fair we take our time to take care of them. By including these yoga poses in your routine, you will not only sooth tired legs, but you will also invite a sense of calm into your daily life.

All of these Yoga for Tired Legs postures are taken on our back, so you are welcome to stretch on the bed, just before you go to sleep! For these, you will need a yoga strap, but don’t worry if you don’t have one; you can substitute it for a belt, a tie or even a towel.

WARNING: all of these posture can be quite intense and challenging. Before taking these postures, please make sure you are able to do so. Check with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise. Beatrice Leone and Bea Yoga + Wellbeing cannot take any responsibility for any injury or adverse effects.

1. Figure 4

This posture helps keep the hips mobile by targeting many muscles around the hip, including a group of small but important muscles that helps to rotate the leg out from the hip. One of these muscles is the notorious piriformis muscles, often associated with discomfort going down the leg and confused with sciatica.

To take this stretch lie on your back:

  • Start with your knees bent and feet flat
  • Cross one ankle over the top of the opposite knee
  • You can remain with one leg down or lift them towards your chest
  • You can even reach through to hold the back of your thigh or shin
  • Remember to keep the head and shoulders down (we don’t want any extra tension!)
  • If needed you can bring a pillow or two under your head for support
  • Hold for 1 minute
  • Repeat on the other side

2. figure 4 twist

This is a great twist for our IT band (running down the side of the leg), the outer glute muscles and the piriformis. This is great for back pain and stiffness. In addition, you can use a tennis ball for some self-massage under the glutes and into the meaty part of the lower back of the side you are lowering to – so if you are crossing the right ankle over the left knee and lowering the legs to the left, add a massage ball to the left outer glute, followed by the lower back.

To take this stretch lie on your back:

  • Start from your Figure 4 position
  • Lower the legs to 1 side
  • if the foot of the crossed leg doesn’t touch the ground don’t worry, you can stay there or add some blocks under the sole of the foot for support.
  • You can reach for your ankle (as I am doing in the picture)
  • Relax your shoulders and face
  • Hold for at least 1 minute
  • Repeat on the other side

3. Hamstring stretch

A hamstring stretch is always a good idea! Your hamstrings (which are the muscles behind your thigh) are directly connected with the movement of your legs, pelvis, hips and lower back. From a fascial prospective and according to Tom Myers hypotesis we can’t look at the muscles as single and independent structures only as they more in connection with other tissue, affecting the rest of the body through fascial connections. You can learn more about the fascial lines here. In this case we are mainly looking at the superficial back line of the body.

To take this stretch lie on your back:

  • Use a yoga belt, tie, towel or trouser belt and pass it around the sole of one foot
  • Keep the other knee bent and the foot flat on the ground
  • Straighten the knee and take the foot closer to you, until you feel a pull at the back of the leg
  • To add a stretch to the calf you may want to try flexing the foot as well
  • Hold for at least 1 minute
  • Repeat on the other side

Want to make this stretch more active? Let’s try some PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching! Press the strap away from you with the sole of your foot, while at the same time you keep pulling the strap towards you, keep this contraction for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. This is a very effective way to increase active range of motion.

4. Adductor stretch

Yoga for Tired Legs

Just like in the case of the hamstrings, it is important to keep our adductors in good shape as they support the pelvis and the legs and will help in case of back pain, it may even improve balance!

To take this stretch lie on your back:

  • Use a yoga belt, tie, towel or trouser belt and pass it around the sole of one foot
  • Keep the other knee bent and the foot flat on the ground
  • Straighten the knee and take the foot closer to you
  • Take the leg out to the side until you feel a pull in the inner thigh
  • If you feel yourself tipping on one side bring the opposite foot to it’s outer edge and drop the knee slightly out
  • Hold for at least 1 minute
  • Repeat on the other side

You can try some PNF stretching here too!

A BONUS SELF-Massage!

Here is something extra to just the Yoga for Tired Legs… Did you know that back discomfort can be connected to your feet? We have already talked about that fascial back body line, plus the nerves in your lower back end at your feet. Not to mention, if you have walked a lot and your legs are tired, then your feet probably are too!

You can use a tennis ball or a firmer golf ball, depending on how sore your feet are. Remember, we don’t want to cause any added pain, so if your feet are already achy start with a tennis ball. Place the ball at the ball of the foot (that space between the arch and to toes) and move gently side to side, you can hold in one spot whenever you feel the need to. After a while do the same with the arch of the foot and move gently all around, stop for a few breaths whenever needed. Repeat again at the heel of the foot. Move to the other side.

A guided yoga for tired legs practice: Yin Yoga

Do you want to learn more about Yin Yoga? Read this for a short introduction.

Let me know when you try these stretches in the comments!

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