Join us for the hamstring challenge wherein each week we explore ways to safely stretch this important group of muscles…
The hamstrings play a key role in numerous yoga poses, most notably forward bends yet many other poses as well. Here we shall take a slow, careful look at how our hamstrings are performing.
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that cross the hip and knee joints and are responsible for walking, running, jumping, and many other physical activities. The hamstrings flex the knee joint and extend the thigh backward to propel movement.
Located at the backs of the legs, the hamstrings are the opposing muscles to the quadriceps. Because the hamstrings originate at the sitting bones, they are naturally stretched while sitting. However, long periods of sitting may affect how they function and lead to tightness. (Courtesy of Very Well Fit)
Week #1 Practicum:
Let’s start simple with this highly effective posture: Supported Pyramid Pose.
A Few Instructions / Options:
1. Place your foot on a chair, bench, step, box, or counter etc. You may also put a towel or pad on that surface to cushion the heel. The back foot may be pointed straight towards front foot or angled to the outside for greater balance. Over the course of the week you may progressively place the front foot on a higher platform. So you might start the week at a 30 degree rise and conclude at 60, 80, or even 90 degrees.
2. Inhale and stand erect as you raise the arms to the sky. Hold this eight seconds, and then exhale the arms down, or hold the pose as long at you wish and continue to breathe. Then do the other leg. Next try the same thing but angle the torso forward 15 or 30 degrees keeping a lengthened spine, lifting through the crown. Then do the other leg. And on the third round you may hinge the torso forward towards the extended leg, rounding the back (shown above). You may touch towards the shin, or anchor the hands on platform, if accessible.
3. Practice daily and monitor your progress through the week.
Note: The hamstrings are intricately and intimately linked with the glutes. To stretch the glutes try the first 90 seconds (or more) of this podcast.