So many people come to yoga as beginners with very tight hamstrings. If unaddressed, that tightness can significantly limit the ability to move. Spend some extra time in your home working on your hamstrings because that will reap benefits in many other poses as you continue to progress through yoga, learn more intermediate poses, and develop your strength and flexibility.
Key points covered in this video:
✔️ It’s ideal for practicing the hamstring stretches when you are warm. Do not roll out of bed cold in the morning or after long periods of sitting, and try to work on stretching your hamstrings deeply. It’s best to do it when you’ve had a hot shower, had a little walk, did other yoga poses, or took that extra time to do a warmup.
✔️ Understand that the hamstrings work best with long, gentle stretches. Unfortunately, a 10 or 15-second stretch will probably not add up to improvement in the length of the hamstring. So I encourage people to start with a minute and build up to two minutes over time.
✔️ Practice your stretches without pain. When your body feels pain in a muscle, it reacts to that by trying to guard and protect the muscle, which means the muscle will contract and hold itself to protect from injury. So any time you push a stretch into the pain range, the muscle is doing the opposite of stretching by contracting and holding. Set up your positions to have a sense of stretch, but don’t push so far that you actually go into the pain range.
Enjoyed this episode?
Watch Yoga for Posture Improvement – Easy Iyengar Yoga Tip with Julie Gudmestad.
Julie has devoted her professional life to integrating the healing benefits of yoga with her medical training as a physical therapist. She has combined decades of patient care experience with 40 years of yoga teaching to develop a unique teaching style. She teaches workshops throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, often focusing on the anatomy of asana or the therapeutic applications of yoga. She owns a combined PT and Yoga studio in Portland, Oregon, and has published over 45 articles and columns in publications such as Yoga Journal and Yoga International.
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