Hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles running along the backside of the thighs connecting the pelvis to the knee. These muscles are used for flexing knees and extending hips in our day-to-day activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs, jumping, squatting, coming up standing from sitting postures, etc.
The tight hamstring is a common complaint every other people are facing and addressing these days, and it usually occurs owing to non-activity, repetitive movement, or poor posture. Marathon runners, for instance, who don’t stretch their hamstrings on regular basis, end up suffering from hamstring pull-in dire need of yoga or some other forms of exercises to regain and enhance hamstring flexibility. On a similar note, non-active persons spending most of their time sitting and working or leading sedentary lifestyles will have tight hamstrings resulting in back pain or sciatica, making room for hamstring flexibility through yoga or work-outs.
The purpose of yoga is to create space in the body and in some postures, allowing muscles to get deeply relaxed stretches like stretches for hamstring flexibility. Apart from very common yoga postures like Adhomukhasvanasan (downward-facing dog) and Utanasana (Full forward fold) for hamstring flexibility, below are postures for releasing and relaxing tight hamstrings ensuring hamstring flexibility.
- Stand straight with feet together in Samasthiti.
- Join palms in namaskar mudra behind your back in between shoulder blades and reach as high as possible.
Try out other options for shoulder blades and arm flexibility if you find the above ones tough:
- Make a fist with both hands joining them behind the back. OR
- Grab elbows with an opposite hand behind the back. OR
- Interlace your fingers behind your back and straighten your elbows.
- Swing right leg back, turn right toes out and left toes in, facing mat’s backside.
- See that your hips are squared facing straight in front of you. Keep space between both legs, with the right toe facing forward and the left toe facing the mat’s top left corner.
- Inhale, take a deep breath, and expand your chest up.
- Exhale slight twist on the right side and fall forward on right leg. Touch belly to the thigh, chest to knee, and chin to shin. Stay for 5-8 long breaths.
- Keep right knee very slightly bent.
- Make sure both legs are active by pulling them towards each other without moving them.
- Keep pressing your palm behind the back.
- Inhale, bend your right knee and lift yourself up. Stay in position & turn to the mat’s front side by turning the left toe out & right toe in.
- Repeat same from left side coming back to Samasthiti.
- Sit with legs straight and back upright also known as Dandasana or staff pose ensuring hamstring flexibility.
- Inhale, raise the chest up with hands over heads parallel to each other.
- Exhale, bring hands to feet, grabbing big toes with the first three fingers.
- Inhale, tuck tailbones in, raise head & chest up.
- Exhale, fall forward belly & chest on the thigh, chin to knee, and look at the big toe, elbows should be bending outside of knees. Stay for 8-10 breaths.
- Try to straighten your knees to the best capacity. Point toes with knees straight, go deeper and flex toes for hamstring flexibility.
- Tuck tailbone in but without hunching the upper back.
- Inhale, come back to the seated staff pose of Dandasana & practice this for hamstring flexibility.
- Lie on hands by thighs and legs straight.
- Inhale, raise leg at 90 degrees, grabbing right toe with the first three fingers.
- Directly raise the right leg up straight & grab the toe with fingers.
- Bend the right leg at the knee, bringing it close to the chest. Grab toe with fingers & straighten the leg.
- Loop strap around right leg sole, grabbing strap with the right hand.
Point toes forward & pull them back simultaneously using your right arm.
- Press left palm on left hips.
- Exhale, lift your shoulders off the floor, trying to pull your right leg towards you touching chin to knee. Stay for 5-6 long breaths.
- Inhale, rest forehead & shoulders back to floor, taking right leg to right side, making sure left hip is still pressed down with left palm. Gaze to left shoulder.
- Exhale, bring right leg back up at 90 degrees, holding right feet heel with both hands. Lift shoulders off floor & touch belly and chest to right thigh and chin to shin.
- Inhale, release leg down.
- Repeat on left side.
Improving hamstring flexibility is slow process, forcing of which tends to tear away muscle. It’s advisable to take support, do passive stretching if required and gradually work on improving hamstring flexibility.
Diya Yoga is Yoga Alliance-certified RYS200 school located at the beautiful beach of Arambol, North Goa, India. Our yoga teacher training (YTT) course merges ancient Vedic knowledge with modern yoga asana styles taught by highly trained Indian and International teachers. We deliver comprehensive theoretical and practical training programs during a 25-day structured course. After completion of the 200-hour YTT course with Diya Yoga, you’ll emerge as a confident teacher with enhanced skills, ready to share your knowledge and experience with wannabes. Chase your dreams and make them happen!