Our legs, like every other part of our bodies, need some sort of attention and activity from time to time to stay strong, flexible, and not to mention healthy. That is why the phrase ‘’never skip leg day’’ exists, and many fitness, yoga, and health experts will continuously stress the importance of this process.
Taking care of your legs properly is not something hard to achieve, as you will soon find it out. Furthermore, reserving a few minutes every day for your legs could mean the difference between accomplishing your daily chores with ease and experiencing a series of muscle cramps every time you invest a little more effort than usual.
For this purpose, we have compiled a list of yoga poses and thigh stretches that will help you take care of your legs and improve flexibility.
If you are looking for an exercise to stretch your thighs or alleviate the build-up of pressure in your lower legs after sitting down for long hours at the office, this yoga routine is one of the best ways to accomplish these objectives. Similar to the Pyio home workout program, a fusion of yoga and Pilates that experts have been praising a lot, this exercise will help you define your lower body and increase your flexibility levels.
By performing it on a regular basis, your muscle legs – especially the thighs and hips – will be properly stimulated and exercised, so you will not feel as physically exhausted as after many hours of inactivity. It is amongst some of the easiest chair yoga poses to perform, so have no worries if you are a rookie.
First off, stand erect by adopting the Tadasana pose. While in this pose, lower your buttocks gradually, as if you were about to sit on a chair. Take a deep breath while gently extending your arms above your head. At this point, all you have to do is hold the pose for a few seconds, while trying to keep a continuous flow of breathing. Release whenever you feel your body has reached peak exertion.
While this is one of the easiest yoga poses, you should not force yourself to perform it by the book if you are a beginner because you will do more harm than good to your body. If you have just picked up yoga (or fitness, for that matter) as a hobby, make sure to lower your hips only as much as you are physically capable at the moment. Adjust the distance as you are gaining more experience and your body is getting used to your new routine.
Downward Facing Dog
Another great pose for stretching the thighs and improving flexibility is the Downward-facing dog pose. Also known as the Adho Mukha Svanasana, it is an ideal move if you plan to strengthen your toes, knees, ankles, while stretching the calves, shoulders, and the back in the process. In terms of improving your flexibility and range of motion, it will help your reach these two goals by lengthening the muscles.
Similar to the Utkatasana, this pose is very easy to pull off. Place your feet and palms on the floor, with the fingers spread out like a star. While doing this, bend your knees and try to keep them right below the hips. Prepare your body for the next steps by taking a deep, long breath.
As you are slowly exhaling, gradually lift your hips upwards, while straightening out your knees, and place the weight of your body on the palms and soles of the feet. While doing this pose, you should make sure to gaze directly between your toes.
Do not let your head hang between your arms, otherwise you might risk hurting yourself. Again, if you are a beginner, maintaining the pose for 15 seconds to 30 seconds is enough, so do not attempt to push your body beyond its limits.
Straight Bent Leg Stretch
This is another stretch exercise that will keep your thighs (and other leg muscles) in top shape. First off, sit down on the ground, keeping one leg as straight as you can. Keep the other leg bent upwards, making sure that the sole of the bent leg is in direct contact with the inner thigh of the straight leg – it is less complicated than it sounds, trust us.
Now, gently but firmly bend forward starting from the hips, right up until you are experiencing a subtle stretch. Hold this position as much as you can. As soon as you feel that the tension is easing up, try leaning forward. Hold this position for a few minutes, then repeat it with the other leg.
Standing Thigh Stretch
To perform this exercise correctly, you will need to stand between two chairs of the same height. Grab the chair in front of you, and place your foot on the one behind you, making sure it is positioned just above your knee. After properly securing the pose, try lifting your pelvis region upward, right until you feel a slight stretch in your tight.
Hold this position for as long as you are physically capable (or about 20 to 30 seconds) and repeat the exercise for three times per leg. If you feel uncomfortable resting your leg on the chair behind you, you can use a pillow or a towel as a makeshift pad.
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Another great thigh-stretching exercise is the revolved head-to-knee pose. This exercise will not only stretch your thighs but also enhance your overall flexibility levels by stimulating the hips, hamstrings, and calves. For starters, you will have to sit right in the center of your mat and put your hands just a short distance behind your back.
After securing the position, lean back gently, stretch your legs as much as possible and move your left foot towards your right thigh. This is the easy part. From this point onward, things get a tad more complicated:
- Move your right hand toward the adjacent leg, keeping your palm extended in the direction of your toes.
- Tightly grasp your right foot with your right hand. If you are not physically capable of doing this yet, do not worry, there is an easy workaround for beginners: stretch your hand as far as you can and grasp your leg at your natural stopping point.
- Next, position your hand over your head and down toward your right foot. Optionally, try to turn your head towards the ceiling, but only if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Try to remain in this position for 4-5 deep breaths at the most. After doing so, release your left arm, bring up your torso, and get your legs back into a neutral position.
- Repeat the same routine with the other leg.
Standard Inner Thigh Stretch
This routine is one of the simplest thigh stretches that you can perform. This exercise tones and strengthens your legs, while improving your flexibility. Here is what you will need to do:
- Stand up, screw your feet firmly into the floor, and adopt a wide stance.
- As you are shifting your body downwards, bend your knee until you feel a slight stretching sensation somewhere in your left inner thigh.
- Hold this position while maintaining a steady breathing Afterward, shift your weight on the opposite side and repeat the same routine with the left leg.
If you feel like this exercise is not doing the trick for you, you can try out the deep inner thigh groin stretch.
Virabhadrasana II – Warrior Pose II
The Warrior pose works your legs in their entirety, but your inner thighs will benefit the most from it. This pose might look simple to the naked and untrained eye, but in reality, it stimulates the muscles that usually do not get much attention while we are going about our daily chores or working at the office. Another aspect that makes this pose special is the different workouts your legs get simultaneously, meaning it covers a wider range of muscles than your typical yoga asana.
As for the exercise itself, it is the definition of the phrase ‘’simple to learn, hard to master’’. First off, widen your legs until the space between them reaches a distance slightly bigger than the one between your hips. Next up, twist your right heel, making sure the toes are pointing outwards – you can use your left heel to gain some measure of stability. For this pose, you have to carefully align your left heel with the right foot.
Once this is done, gently lower your hips, while stretching your arms out until they are aligned with the shoulders. Gaze forward and take a few deep, but firm and slow breaths and hold the pose for as much time as you can.
Nowadays, most of us lead sedentary, atrociously inactive lives spent either at the office or slacking off on the couch at home. As a result, some body parts – the legs in general and the thighs in particular – get way less attention than they should. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do at home that will help you break this bad habit. While these stretches and yoga exercises might pose some problems to beginners, they can be easily mastered with some care and dedication.