This subject is really close to home due to my super tight hamstrings. Years’ of running and weightlifting have left me needing to really target my hamstrings so I’ve added some specific stretches recently to help with flexibility. If you have the same issue, stay with me for my Top 5 Yoga Poses For Super Flexible Hamstrings!
1) Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
From all fours, spread your fingers and press through your palms. Tuck your toes and lift your tailbone towards the sky, lengthening the spine and drawing the shoulders down and back. When you’re ready, work towards straightening the legs by pushing your heels towards the floor. Pedal your feet and walk out the ankles to sink more deeply into the stretch.
2) Intense Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Begin by standing with your feet together, hinge from the hips and fold your upper body forward towards your toes. If you can reach the floor, put your palms flat. If you can’t, hold onto opposite elbows and create a cradle. Relax your head and neck and hold for a count of 10 breaths. To exit the pose reverse the folding action by slightly bending the knees and coming back to standing.
3) Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)
From a low lunge position, drop the back knee to the floor and straighten out the front leg. Flex the feet so the toes are pointing upwards. Begin to hinge from the hip and fold your upper body forward towards the straight leg. Hold the pose for a count of 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.
4) Supine Leg Extension (Supta Padangusthasana)
Lie on your back with your legs straight on the ground. Take one leg and extend it towards the ceiling keeping it straight and your foot flexed. Take a yoga strap (a dressing gown belt will do if you don’t have a strap) and loop it round the bottom of the raised foot. Holding the strap with both hands walk them towards your foot to guide the leg closer into your body. Hold for a count of 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.
5) Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
From standing, toe heel your feet apart so they are wider than hip distance. Hinge from your hips, fold forwards keeping a flat back and place your hands flat on the floor (you can modify this by altering your foot position wider and narrower depending on how it feels for you but keep your leg straight). Aim to take the crown of your head to the floor bending your elbows to allow. Hold for a count of 10 breaths.
So there you have it, 5 hamstring hacks that will have you on your way to flexible legs! The more you can incorporate hamstring-specific poses into your practice and the more often you do them, the sooner you will notice increased flexibility. It doesn’t have to be all of them everyday but just a little perseverance on a couple of them will reward you with effortless bodily mobility. Try it and delight in the noticeable difference!