The hamstring is any of the three tendons at the back of the knee that are contracted by three posterior thigh muscles. Inflexibility in the hamstring can therefore cause serious leg injuries, such as tears and inflammation. By keeping hamstrings flexible through a wide range of motion, many of these injuries and ailments can be prevented. Hamstring flexibility is not only important to athletes such as runners and cyclists, but it is also important for people working desk jobs, for daily activities like walking, and for battling symptoms like lower back pain. Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility in the hamstring. The following are 10 yoga poses that can help with tight hamstrings.
Each pose will have a rating of ease and effectiveness. The “ease” rating rates how easy it is to do the pose correctly, and without potentially aggravating a muscle. The “effectiveness” rating rates how effective it is in stretching the hamstrings.
1. The Down Angle Pose
While in a tall sitting position, press the soles of your feet together and drop your knees to the side. Keep your back flat and hold your feet with your hands, activating the abdominal muscles. Slowly lower your torso towards your feet, leading with your chest and while maintaining a straight back. Continue to lean until you feel your hamstrings resisting the motion. Hold that position in resistance for a bout five breathes as you relax into the stretch, then try to press a little farther. Slowly release the stretch and repeat.
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