Tight hamstrings? If you're a runner or endurance athlete, the answer is yes. If you are active, but also sit for long periods of time for work, the answer is also yes. If genetically, you've always had an issue with flexibility, then the answer is, of course, yes.
The role of the hamstrings in the human movement pattern is to bend the knees and extend the hips. This means every step or stride we take, every time we lift something off the ground, the hamstrings do the work. Given the importance of these types of movements for athletes, hamstring flexibility is critical for optimal performance.
That's where these yoga poses come in.
Yoga is a great way to safely and gradually relieve tightness in the hamstrings. The combination of relaxed breath, alignment of the pose and time spent stretching makes yoga a perfect prescription for hamstring tightness.
Follow these guidelines for each pose below and you'll be touching your toes in no time:
- Start by slowly breathing in and out through the nose. Keep the breath flowing through the whole stretch.
- Stay in each pose for up to a minute.
- Perform the poses in the order below, as each builds on the previous.
- Once you feel a stretch, stop. Don’t try to force yourself deeper into the pose. You could end up over-stretching and hurting yourself.