You know the feeling, after a long bike ride, hike, or running a marathon — sore legs that seem like they can’t even move. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or simply on your feet all day, yoga can help alleviate those tired and sore muscles, increase circulation, and reduce feelings of aching and stiffness.
The number one reason yoga works to help sore legs feel better is that it increases flexibility and mobility. When we engage in physical activity, our muscles contract and become tight. While this is a necessary process for building strength and endurance, it can also lead to those stiff and achy feels. Yoga helps to stretch and lengthen your muscles, which can alleviate feelings of tension and soreness.
In addition to increasing flexibility and mobility, yoga can also help sore muscles recover by improving relaxation and reducing stress. When you’re stressed or anxious, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can lead to inflammation and muscle tension. Practicing yoga can help to reduce your cortisol levels, which can in turn lower inflammation and improve circulation to your sore muscles.
Yoga also typically involves deep breathing and meditation, which can also help to calm your mind and promote relaxation throughout your body. This can be especially helpful if you’re experiencing soreness as a result of stress or tension — like if you’re dealing with a busy work schedule where you’re always on your feet.
If you’re new to yoga and you’re trying to reduce soreness in your legs, it’s important to be gentle and listen to your body as you practice. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid intense or high-impact poses. While yoga can be an effective way to alleviate soreness, certain strengthening poses can cause increased pain or strain. Avoid poses that put excessive pressure on your legs until your muscles have had a chance to recover. Choose gentle, restorative poses. Try practicing poses that focus on relaxation and gentle stretching.
- Use props for support. Props such as blocks or blankets can provide added support and help you achieve proper alignment in your poses. By using props to you can ease into the poses and avoid putting excessive strain on your legs.
- Take breaks as needed. If you start to feel pain or discomfort, take a break or modify the pose to make it more comfortable for you. Remember that yoga is a personal practice, and it’s important to listen to your own body and honor your limitations.
Many of the primary yoga poses focus on stretching and strengthening the legs, hips, and lower back, which are common areas of soreness for many people. These poses can help to loosen up tight muscles and increase blood flow to affected areas, which can reduce inflammation and promote healing.
But the best type of yoga for sore legs is Restorative, Gentle, or Yin yoga. In these types of yoga, basic primary poses are held for longer durations, and there is no intense movement or strain involved.
It’s important to use the correct alignment to avoid injury, so if you’re new to practicing yoga, you may want to start by taking a class with a certified yoga instructor. At MyYogaTeacher, you can practice in the comfort of your own home along with the guidance of a professional teacher.
To relieve soreness and tension in your legs and help them recover, try starting with the below yoga poses for quick relief.
With your hands and knees on the floor, push your hips upward until you are balancing on your hands and feet, and your body resembles an inverted “v” shape. Reach your heels toward the floor, stretching your hamstrings and activating your thighs. Keep your head between your arms, lengthening your side-body as you stretch. Stay here for several breaths.
From a standing position at the top of your mat, slowly move one foot back and position it parallel with the edge of your mat, and your other foot pointing forward in a wide-leg stance. Inhale and stretch out both your arms parallel to the ground. As you exhale, bend at your hip and place the fingertips of your forward-pointing arm at the outside of your forward-pointing foot. Rotate your torso and extend your back arm so that it is pointing straight up. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Stand at the front of your mat, feet hip distance apart. Exhale and bend forward from the waist, with your knees slightly bent and touching your hands to the floor in front of your feet. Inhale and exhale, allowing your torso to extend without rounding your back. Lengthen and soften your neck, and let the muscles of your thighs and lower back open and release any built-up tension. Hold the pose for 1-2 minutes.
From Downward Dog, you can transition into Low Lunge by bringing your left foot forward and bending your left leg at the knee. With your right leg behind you, gently kneel on your right knee. Inhale as you reach your arms up over your head, parallel with your ears. Expand your chest, lengthen your spine, keep your chin level and your gaze focused forward in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
Place a folded blanket parallel against a wall. Sit sideways in the middle of the blanket, and turn yourself toward the wall, lifting your legs up and propping them against the wall. Lay back comfortably, rest your head and neck on the floor, and fully straighten your legs. Spread your arms out to your sides with your palms facing up. Allow your chest, abdomen, and pelvis to completely relax. Breathe evenly and mindfully while holding this pose for 5-8 minutes.
Online Yoga Classes – Live & Interactive
Get 2 free private yoga sessions and 2 weeks of unlimited group classes with authentic yoga teachers. No credit card required when you sign up today!
Golfing can be a physically and mentally demanding sport, but did you know that practicing yoga can help improve flexibility and performance on the go...Continue Reading
We know that yoga can help elevate your mental and emotional wellbeing, but it’s actually an incredibly efficient tool for improving your mobility for...Continue Reading
The new transformative 1-on-1 Hip Opening Series, specially designed to release tension and boost strength and mobility in your hips, is the perfect w...Continue Reading
Another exciting annual celebration is coming! The MyYogaTeacher team has prepared 4 days of really beautiful classes – free to you – in honor of Inte...Continue Reading
Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? This common gastrointestinal disorder affects millions of people worldwide and can cause discomfort...Continue Reading