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8 IT Band Yoga Stretches [Relieve Tightness & Prevent Pain]

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a woman is performing Revolved Triangle Pose_it band stretches yoga_cover
Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer
Verified by Elyce Neuhauser
Yoga Expert, E-RYT 500, Certified Meditation Coach

Try these IT band yoga stretches to stretch & strengthen muscles around the IT band, as well as relieve associated knee pain.

Table of Contents

Is it safe to do a yoga workout if you suffer from IT band syndrome? Medical professionals often recommend yoga for IT band syndrome as a home management tool. 

Quick Glance Into IT Band Discomfort Relief

The iliotibial band (also known as the IT band) is a long, thick cluster of fascia, connective tissue, that runs on the outer side of each thigh, connecting the pelvic bone to the knee.

The primary action of this tendon is to stabilize the hip and the knee, and it stores and releases elastic energy while walking and running.

IT Band Syndrome

Overuse and repetitive activity of the IT band can lead to various unpleasant symptoms ranging from slight discomfort to severe pain.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is characterized by inflammation on the outside of your knee or hip. The irritated connective tissue may rub against the knee joint, causing extreme discomfort and pain. 

ITBS is most common in runners and cyclists but many athletes and those who exercise frequently are at a higher risk for ITBS, as prolonged repetitive activity often leads to inflammation. 

Since the iliotibial band is made of fascia rather than muscle, you cannot simply stretch it. So how can yoga help with IT band syndrome? Practicing yoga for IT band relief incorporates strengthening and stretching to improve mobility and flexibility in the muscles surrounding the area.

8 Yoga Poses For IT Band Syndrome [Beginner to Advanced]

Reclined Thread the Needle (Sucirandhrasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Reclined Thread the Needle_Sucirandhrasana__it band stretches yoga

This pose is one of the best IT band yoga stretches. It effectively stretches the outer hip and knee with a simple modification for more ease and accessibility. 

How to Do It: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee and open your right hip.
  • Keep your right foot flexed and press your right thigh away with one or both hands. 
  • If your hips are feeling open, you can lift your left foot off the ground.
  • Reach your hands around the left thigh and hold the back of that leg. Press the right knee away with your right elbow and bring the left knee closer to your chest.
  • Breathe evenly in that position for 3-5 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Tips and Modifications:

  • If this pose feels too intense, keep your bottom foot on the ground and continue to focus on opening your hip.

Reclined Cow Face Pose (Supta Gomukhasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Reclined Cow Face Pose_Supta Gomukhasana__it band stretches yoga

This stretch is a variation of the classic Cow Face Pose that may be more accessible for some people. 

How to Do It: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Cross your right knee over left, as if you were crossing your legs sitting in a chair.
  • Bring your knees to your chest.
  • Reach for your feet with the opposite hands. Keep your spine pressed into the floor and breathe evenly in that position for 3-5 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Revolved Hand to Toe Pose (Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Revolved Hand to Toe Pose_Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana_it band stretches yoga

This reclined stretch is an effective and versatile yoga pose for an IT band stretch. The intensity of this IT band yoga stretch can be easily adapted for both beginners and advanced practitioners.

How to Do It:

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Bring your right knee into your chest.
  • Gently draw the knee across your body to your left.
  • Extend your right arm out and turn your head to the right.
  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths and then return back to the center.
  • Repeat the pose with the left leg.

Tips and Modifications:

  • To intensify the pose, hold the pinky toe of your right foot with your left hand and extend your leg. Alternatively, you can modify the pose by placing a yoga strap around the ball of your right foot. Hold the strap with your left hand. 

Supine Twist with Quad Stretch (Supta Matsyendrasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Supine Twist with Quad Stretch_Supta Matsyendrasana_it band stretches yoga

A variation of Revolved Hand to Toe Pose, Supta Matsyendrasana opens the quadriceps and hip while adding intensity to the IT band stretch.

How to Practice: 

  • Once you’re established in your preferred variation of Revolved Hand to Toe Pose to the left side, bend your left knee.
  • Reach around with your right hand and hold the left foot.
  • Pull the heel towards your glutes, press your left hip forward, and even out your breathing.
  • Stay for 3-5 breaths and then return to the center.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Tips and Modifications:

  • The top leg can be bent or fully extended. Use your opposite hand to anchor down the top leg and deepen the IT band stretch.

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Cow Face Pose_Gomukhasana_it band stretches yoga

Forgo the upper body portion of Cow Face Pose and focus solely on the legs to stretch the hips and outer thighs. Crossing the legs and bringing the feet towards the opposing hips contributes to overall hip mobility. It is also an excellent stretch for your feet and ankles.

How to Do It: 

  • Start seated. Cross your right leg over the left, bringing the right foot towards the left hip.
  • Bend your left knee, bringing your left foot towards your left hip. Do your best to stack your knees on top of each other.
  • Breathe evenly in this posture for 3-5 breaths, or up to a minute, before repeating it on the other side.

Tips and Modifications:

  • If one of your sit bones is off the ground, elevate your seat onto a yoga block or firm cushion.
  • For a more accessible variation, keep the bottom leg extended.
  • To make this IT band stretch more intense, hinge from the hips into a forward bend.

Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Half Splits Pose_Ardha Hanumanasana_it band stretches yoga

This variation of Half Splits not only lengthens the hamstrings and calf muscles, it is also an effective yoga stretch for IT band syndrome.

How to Do It:

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Step your right foot in between your hands.
  • Shift your hips back until they are elevated over the left knee. Flex your right foot and extend through the right leg with the sit bones up and back. 
  • Swivel the heel left and right to activate your IT band.
  • Breathe evenly for 3-5 breaths.
  • Return to your hands and knees.
  • Repeat the stretch on the other side.

Tips and Modifications: 

  • If keeping your palms on the floor feels too intense, use elevated blocks.
  • If you want to include a deeper hip flexor stretch, move your front foot further forward, extending your front leg.

Cross-Legged Forward Bend

This variation of Standing Forward Bend offers a great stretch for your iliotibial band. This yoga pose for the IT band is accessible and beginner-friendly.

How to Do It: 

  • Standing upright, cross your left foot behind the right, on the pinky toe side of the foot. Hug the inner thighs together for stability. 
  • As you exhale, fold from the hips and bring your hands towards the floor or onto blocks. 
  • Keep your weight evenly distributed between both legs and feet.
  • Stay folded for 3-5 breaths. Uncross the legs before rising back up. Switch sides and perform this pose with your left foot in front.

Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Revolved Triangle Pose_Parivrtta Trikonasana_it band stretches yoga

This pose is one of the advanced IT band yoga stretches. This twisted variation of Triangle Pose shifts the focus from the hamstrings to the IT band. 

How to Do It:

  • Stand at the top of your mat; step the left foot back, turning it slightly outwards and rooting down through the heel. 
  • Square the hips to the front of the mat and bring your hands to your hips. 
  • Keeping your spine extended, fold forward from the hips, bringing your torso over your right leg. 
  • Anchor your hips and turn your torso to the right, reaching your left hand towards your right foot.*
  • If you are feeling steady and your shoulders are open, you may extend your right arm to the ceiling and look up.
  • After 3-5 breaths, lower your right hand, step your left foot forward, and return to standing. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Tips and Modifications:

  • *If you cannot reach the ground, place your left hand on your right shin or on a block (either on the big toe side or, if you are very flexible, on the pinky toe side of your foot).
  • If your hips or lower back are tight, slightly bend your right knee. 
  • If balance is an issue, you can place the left hand on a chair. Alternatively, you can place the left hand straight ahead against a wall, with the back arm extending behind you, instead of up to the ceiling.
  • You can also keep your right hand on your hip for more stability.


Here are a few more suggestions to relieve IT band syndrome:

  • Take rest days in between active sports participation.
  • Get regular massages for ITBS relief.
  • Don’t wait until you are injured. Incorporate IT band yoga stretches into your yoga practice as a preventative measure.
  • Try YogaGo, a yoga app, to customize your practice and find the best stretches for your unique body.
  • If pain issues persist, consult your physician.
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Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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