4 Yoga Poses to Soothe Sore Muscles Post-Workout

Two local Bikram yoga experts share a simple routine for easing those tight calves and hamstrings after a killer circuit.

By Allison Jones January 28, 2015

You know the feeling: you torched your body like a boss in yesterday's barre class, burpee challenge, or kettlebell sesh—and now you can barely sit down without wincing. Maybe you've bounded back into workouts thanks to your New Year's resolutions, or tried a new class via Fitmob, but however you managed it, you're sore as hell. We tapped Leah Shirley and Julie Yates, owners of Bikram Yoga SE Portland for their go-to poses to get you back to fighting form—or just make getting out of your car a little easier.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana)

WHY: "This posture will stretch the back of the legs, calves and hamstrings as well as deep into the hips and spine." 

HOW: Stand with your feet 4 feet apart, heels in one line and feet very slightly pigeon toed. Bend forward from your low spine, legs straight with thigh or quadriceps muscles contracted. Place your hands on the floor. Keep your thighs contracted if possible and take three deep breaths.

If you are more flexible you can grab the outside of the feet and bend your elbows toward your shins and pull to increase the stretch, keep your legs straight, thighs contracted and body weight forward on the toes. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

WHY: "Backward bends are crucial to the health of our spine. The compression and release of the muscles that surround the vertebral column with increase the blood flow to the spine as well as the buttocks relieving tension from tough workouts."

HOW: Lay on your stomach with your legs together. Place your hands right under your shoulders or armpits, fingers facing forward with hands invisible under the shoulders. Squeeze your legs together and press your feet against the floor, hip muscles contracted, lift your upper body from the floor keeping the naval down. Use your back strength to lift with only a little weight in your hands while keeping the elbows at a 90 degree angle. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds.

Stretching pose (Paschimotthasana)

WHY: "This posture will again stretch the calves, hamstrings, hips, and spine while comfortably seated on the floor."

HOW: Sit with your legs stretched out forwards.  Bend your knees and grab your big toes with your middle and index fingers. Lift your chest and straighten your spine. Take a deep breath here. With your spine straight begin to straighten the legs keep your feet flexed. You will feel the back of the legs, hips and spine stretch. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds. 

Pigeon Pose (Eke Pada Rajakapotasana)

WHY: "Many of us experience tight hamstrings from regular workouts but it's important to stretch the hips and the quadriceps, or thigh muscles, too. These may be just as tight as the hammies we just tend to feel it less."   

HOWStart on all fours, pull the right knee up close to the right hand and angle the foot to the left. Stretch your left leg back place the top of the foot down. Slowly sink your pelvis down to feel a stretch on the back of the right hip and the front of the left hip and quadricep. Take three deep breath or hold for at least 30 seconds.  Repeat with the left leg forward and right leg back.

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