Are you looking for ways to strengthen your hamstrings? If yes, then you should try yoga.
Yoga has been proven to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and posture. In addition, it also helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a practice that originated thousands of years ago in India. It involves stretching poses, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. Today, yoga is practiced worldwide by millions of people.
There are many types of yoga: Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini, Power Vinyasa, Yin, Hatha, Restorative, etc. Each type focuses on different areas of the body.
For example, Ashtanga yoga focuses on strengthening the core muscles, balancing poses, and slow moving. However, restorative yoga focuses on relaxing the mind and body.
What Are Some Benefits Of Stretching Your Hamstrings In Yoga?
Strengthens the hamstrings. Yoga can help improve hamstring strength and endurance. This helps reduce back pain, knee pain, lower limb injuries, and injury risk.
Improves balance. Yoga improves balance because it trains the brain to pay attention to the center of gravity.
With proper training, this will help individuals maintain their balance while standing, walking, running, jumping, climbing stairs, or any other activities where they need to be balanced.
Enhances flexibility. Yoga helps increase flexibility because it increases muscle length and loosens up tight muscles.
This allows the joints to move more freely. The increased range of motion may help with athletic performance, prevent injuries, and ease chronic joint pain.
Relaxes the mind. Yoga helps relax the mind and body because it calms the nervous system. It also reduces stress levels and anxiety.
Reduces symptoms of depression. Research shows that yoga can help alleviate depression caused by stress, fatigue, illness, physical problems, and trauma.
What Poses Can You Improve Hamstring Flexibility?
There are several yoga poses that you can do which will help you to gain more flexibility in your hamstring area.
In our list below you can see several of the best ones you can do to achieve this goal.
Just remember that each pose should be held for at least thirty seconds if you are truly intent on stretching those hamstrings and gaining the flexibility you desire.
So, let's get started!
This pose is called “Standing Forward Bend”. To begin this pose, stand straight with your feet together.
Then slowly bend forward until you feel comfortable doing so. Hold this position for 30-60seconds before returning to an upright position. Do this pose three times per day.
Ado Mukha Svanasana
Also known as "Downward Dog", this is an effective thigh stretch for sore muscles. In this pose, place both hands on the floor behind you. Next, step your right foot out towards the left side so that your heel points to the ceiling.
Move into downward dog pose. Once in position, lift your hips off the ground and hold this position for 30–60 seconds. Repeat this pose 3 times.
In this pose known as “Seated Forward Bend” sit on the floor with your legs bent. Your knees should be directly over your toes.
Now press your palms down on the floor next to your chest. Slowly lean forward and allow your head to fall backwards onto your arms.
Keep your body relaxed throughout the entire exercise. Hold this pose for about 30-60 seconds. Repeat this pose three times daily.
In Trikonasana, or “Triangle Pose”, lie flat on your stomach with your arms underneath your shoulders and your palms facing upwards.
Lift your head, neck, and upper back off the mat. Try not to arch your back. Instead, keep it flat.
Bring your elbows under your shoulders and raise them up so that your forearms form a triangle shape. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.
The pose above is known as “Reclining Big Toe Stretch”. Lie face down on a mat with your arms resting by your sides.
Place one leg straight out in front of you and then cross your opposite knee over your top leg.
Slowly lower yourself down until your bottom touches the mat. Remain here for 5 minutes. Repeat this pose twice daily.
If you want to stretch your hamstrings even further, try Prasarita Padotanasan. This pose is called “Extended Leg Forward Fold”.
Sit on the floor and bring your knees toward your chest. Lean forward and fold forward from your hips until your torso rests on your thighs.
Let your arms rest by your sides. Stay in this position for five minutes. Repeat this pose 2 times daily.
To stretch your hamstrings, even more, try Parsvottonasana. This pose is known as “Hindrances Leg Pull Backstretch”.
Standing tall, extend your right arm overhead while bending your left leg slightly. Turn your left foot outward and turn your left ankle inward.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Switch positions and repeat on the other side. Repeat this pose 2-3 times daily.
Uthita Hasta Padangustasana
Also known as the “Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose”, Uthitada Hasta Padangustasana stretches your hamstrings.
Stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Reach your left arm upward toward the sky while keeping your palm facing down.
Keeping your arms straight, reach your right arm over your left shoulder. Cross your left arm over your forehead and touch the tip of your nose with your left elbow. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat this pose once daily.
This pose is also known as “Monkey Pose”. It will help to stretch your hamstrings.
When you look at a picture of this pose you might notice that it looks a bit like the splits, and in reality that is exactly what this pose is.
It is not something a beginner should try but rather something to work towards.
You should start by being in a kneeling position, and slowly extend one leg forwards while trying to keep the knee straight. If you are not proficient in this pose this is enough for a beginner.
As you become more flexible you can transfer your weight to your palms and extend your back leg while also keeping the knee straight.
It is important that you keep your hips squared while you are doing this pose, this is so that you do not injure yourself while doing the Hanumasana pose.
This pose is also known as the firefly pose, and it starts with you sitting on the ground with both legs extended in front of you.
Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Bring your left thigh next to your right knee and place the sole of your left foot against the inside of your right knee.
Wrap one arm around your right knee and hold it tight. Place the other hand behind your head and rest your hand there. Hold this position for three slow breaths. Repeat this pose about two times per day.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Slowly bend your right knee and place it on top of your left thigh.
Your shin should be perpendicular to your body and the knee should be directly above the ankle. The left knee should be bent 90 degrees and the left toes should point forward.
Lean backward until there is no longer any tension in your lower back. Hold this pose for five long breaths. Repeat this pose twice daily.
This pose is also known as the wide-legged forward fold, and it is a great way to stretch those hamstrings.
Sit down on the flood and extend your legs as far as you can on either side of your body. Hold this pose for a few seconds before you attempt to fold over forward. Stretch out as far as you can
Also known as the half moon pose, this pose is an excellent hamstring stretch. Start in Tadasana (Mountain pose).
Extend one leg backward and cross your leg over your thigh. Keep your knees aligned with each other and extend your spine upwards. Hold this pose for 5 breaths. Repeat 2x daily
Also known as the side lunge pose, this pose works the outer hamstrings. Stand tall with feet together. Step your left foot out as far as possible.
Take a step forward with your right foot. Push off from the ball of your right foot and kick your left leg up into the air. Try to land softly on your right heel. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
This pose helps you build strength in your quadriceps muscles which are located between the hip and the knee joint. Do this exercise once daily
Also known as the sleeping Vishnu pose, this pose starts with your lying on your side.
Extend one leg up as high as you can and reach for it with the arm on the same side. Hold your big toe and hold this pose for about thirty seconds.
The above poses will help strengthen and lengthen your hamstrings. They are all easy to learn and can be done anywhere.
We recommend practicing them every day. Remember that it takes time and patience to be able to achieve some of these poses.
But if you stick to it, you will soon have flexible hamstrings that you can be proud of.