Be kind to your hamstrings : )

Be kind to your hamstrings : )

Here are some great stretches for those hammies and some tips to stretch them with care!

It is important to remember that the hamstring group is composed of 3 muscles at the back of the thigh –  the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. These muscles can become tight in many athletes and is also very easy to over stretch if you are not careful.  Also if you have a disc injury ease into the forward folds first and use compassion with the spine, avoid the seated forward folds and instead lay on the back and bring the leg up to you with a belt.

1. Forward Bends – Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana), Standing forward bend  (Utttanasana)  *****  I like to warm up with half sun salutations, easing into the standing forward bend with the breath. *****

2. Wide Leg Forward Bends – Standing wide leg forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) and wide angle seated forward bend (Upavista Konasana)

3. Supine Poses – Great for lower back release and core stability too!  Lying on the back, bring your left leg up to your torso with a strap around the ball of the foot, or holding on to the back of the thigh, calf or big toe.  Feel the hamstring stretch and hold for 10 breaths, then move left leg over to left side to hover hold for 10 breaths, move over to the right side 10 breaths.  Make sure the lower back stays comfortable on the floor, strengthening those deep core stabilizers, and the right extended kneecap is facing the sky.  Then change legs…..  The supine poses are excellent for people with disc injuries and will help strengthen the core too!