I love practicing yoga. I love strengthening and lengthening my muscles feeling an overall transformation every time I step off of my mat, and into my day. I do however, have moments where I wish my heels would drop further to the floor in Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog), or that it would be simple to get into Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (hand to big toe pose) with no problem. I know I am not alone over here in hamstring land, so I would like to emphasize the importance of treading lightly when it comes to our hamstrings. Many of us have tight hamstrings whether it’s from years playing sports, running, or lack of stretching. If our hamstrings are underused or overstretched, the muscle could tear easily during our yoga practice, causing a long journey of recovery.
The hamstrings are made up of 3 muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. This muscle group is located along the posterior thigh between the vastus lateralis (of the quadriceps group) and adductor magnus. The biceps femoris flexes the straight knee and externally rotates the lower leg when the knee is bent. The semitendinosus and semimembranosus make up the inner part of the hamstring originating from the ischial tuberosity. They both flex the straight knee and medially rotate the lower leg when the knee is bent. Tightness in our hamstrings limit poses such as forward bends and standing poses that require internal or external rotation. For example, in Virabhadrasana3 (warrior 3), the internal rotation of the thigh could feel like you’re corkscrewing through cement, thus irritating our sciatic nerve or lower lumbar spine.
When hamstrings are tight, the body will use other joints and muscles to compensate, putting unwanted stress on those areas, eventually causing injury over time. Yoga Tune Up® resuscitates our lifeless and misused muscles the safe way, bringing awareness to our bodies on an everyday basis.