Yoga has been known to cure several bone and muscle pains in the human body. It also helps in maintaining our mind, body, soul balance. While there are various yoga routines belonging to different school of thoughts, there are specific routines that are practiced to target particular ailments and body areas.
Our hamstring, the posterior part of our leg from below the hips till the knee, is one such part of the human anatomy that is very important to our daily movements and activities. For runners, it is not uncommon to have tightened hamstrings. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Let us talk about a few easy yoga postures that can help you loosen up your hamstring muscles effortlessly.
Uttansana – Standing Forward Bending Pose
Standing forward bending pose gives you the opportunity to deepen the stretch to your hamstrings and loosen them up. Some may tell you that it’s okay to bend your knee if it feels uncomfortable, but that may make the pose less effective. Keep in mind that you don’t have to touch your toes or place your palms on the mat if it feels uncomfortable. The goal is to give a nice, long stretch to the hamstrings. Hold for 10-20 breaths and raise back up.
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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog
This yoga pose affects several parts of your body, including arms, legs, spine, hips, calves, as well as your hamstrings. Bear in mind that the point of this pose is not to get to your heels but to place your body comfortably in this posture ensuring that you feel a nice, long stretch in your calves and hamstrings to loosen the muscles.
Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bending Pose
Much like Uttansana, the seated forward bending pose allows you to get a deep stretch along your hamstrings. It is best to use a strap for more traction if it’s uncomfortable to bend your entire body to hold your feet. Irrespective of how far down you can lower your torso, keep your spine straight and elongated.
Skandasana – Side Lunge
In order to effectively loosen up your hamstrings, you must remember that there are three set of muscles that form the hamstring, and that you need different types of movements to work on all the three parts. Side Lunges focus on your inner upper thighs. Don’t worry about achieving a full squat. As long as you feel the stretch and the heat, you are doing good.
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Anantasana – Sleeping Vishnu
As easy as this looks, a Sleeping Vishnu requires you to balance your entire body on one side, keeping it totally straight, and aiming to touch your toe with your fingers. If reaching your toe seems uncomfortable, use a strap against your foot to keep your leg straight and stretched towards the sky. Aim at keeping both feet stable and thighs engaged throughout the posture.
Yoga is about working through your body movements while you keep focus on your breathing and flow from one posture to another. Avoid forcing your body into doing something that feels uncomfortable. Use props whenever required. And, above all, seek guidance from a certified practitioner to deepen your yoga knowledge.M/p>