IT Bands | 14 Days of Peace
From Travis Kā’eo
An in-depth look into practice
To the Hatha yogis (pronounce hot-ha) tension in the body is nothing more that stagnant energy – or energy that has been welled up in one spot for far too long. This practice is the practice of moving that energy to energize the body as a whole.
Everything in the body is connected. The body is a perfect symbol of unison and a reflection of the ultimate goal of yoga – to unite your individual self with the eternal self. In order to do this, you must first be willing to release the blockages, to let go of what keeps you from the flow.
Hatha Yoga is a system of yoga that uses the body to first find unison physically and then move into the vaster plane of mental union. If you imagine the flow of energy in the body as water, than the points of tension are like dams – holding that water in one place while the rest of the body gets less. Over time, the more dams we create, the less water actually flows in our body and we get held in energetic stagnancy.
This practice today is geared towards moving that energy through you in a common area of blockage – you iliotibial bands, more commonly referred to as you IT bands.
This muscle runs from the outside of your knee cap region to the outside of your hip. When is gets shortened or ‘tightened’ it becomes difficult to fully extend your leg straight. If this is a common problem in your life or someone you know, this is the region of your body you would benefit from working on. However, even if it is relatively loose, you will find at some level there is tension. This is because we use our legs to walk day after day and because of this there is a constant load placed upon our leg muscles. This system of removing blockages is undoing the load, or more eloquently, returning our body to homeostasis.
Our body wants to be free. Nobody enjoys not being able to stand up easily due to back pain or not being able to pick a dustpan off the floor due to leg pain. Our body wants to be free – this practice is simply giving your body what it longs for.
Our mind is no different. Our mind becomes blocked when we choose not to see things as they are. Perhaps when we choose to avoid sadness and cling to happiness. When we displace fault on to other people for an action that was entirely ours, or even when we narrow our mind to one belief system and the inevitable hierarchy of superiority that stems from this.
Just as we move to release blockages in our body, we must do the same with our mind.
Let go of limiting beliefs, unneeded expectations and unwanted judgements. Clear your mind and let presence flow.
This is the true purpose behind the physical practice – so as the blockages clear from your body today, let the same be true for the holding patterns of your mind.
There’s no need to think too much about it – feel it, move with it and let it move you.
- Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balāsana)
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Śvanāsana)
- Ragdoll (Uttānāsana)
- Mountain Pose (Tādāsana)
- Backbend (Annuvittaāsana)
- Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandāsana)
- Upward Facing Dog (Ūrdhva Mukha Śvānāsana)
- Equestrian Pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)
- Half Splits (Ardha Hanumānāsana)
- Warrior II (Vīrabhadrāsana B)
- Extended Side Angle (Utthita Pārśvakonāsana)
- Reverse Warrior (Pārśva Vīrabhadrāsana)
- Half Pigeon (Eka Pādā Rājakapotāsana)
- Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottānāsana)
- Supine Twist (Jathara Parivartanāsana)