[Image taken from here]
Yesterday afternoon, I went for my first official acupuncture session at the TCM place near where I live (I had previously tried acupuncture during a recent open house at this place; see this post).
The whole session was quite pleasant; I lay on the table for about half an hour with needles stuck in various meridian points on the elbows, hands and knees. The entire time, I was either looking up at the ceiling or closing my eyes. I felt very relaxed and calm afterwards. But I am unable to tell whether this state of being relaxed came from the acupuncture itself or from simply lying on the table and not doing anything for half an hour. In any case, I'll take what I can get :-) In some ways, I feel that the whole experience is like an extra-long savasana, plus needles, of course.
Before the acupuncture session, the acupuncturist held my left foot at various angles, and told me to exert pressure against his hand. He then concluded that I have a tight left IT band. Interesting. I have always associated tight IT bands with outer knee pain rather than inner knee pain. And I also realized that there seem to be very few postures in Ashtanga that actually stretch the IT band. There's Utthita Trikonasana in standing. There's also Ardha Matsyendrasana, but one has to get to second series before one can get the benefits of that posture (if you follow the series, that is). The lotus postures and their variations in primary presuppose that one already has fairly open IT bands, so they're not that helpful for me (in any case, I'm modifying all the padmasana variations on the left side in primary, so this is really a moot point anyway).
I suppose one possibility is to do certain hip/IT band openers outside of practice; things like threading-the-needle pose, for instance. I also know that the so-called pigeon pose is helpful for some people in this regard, but I distrust that pose (I think the risk of compromising the SI joint and knee is too great in that pose).
Anybody out there know of any ways to stretch/open the IT band?