The muscles of the hamstrings must always be strong, flexible, and well heated for any type of physical activity. A well-trained hamstring maintains good posture, secure knees, and gives better training performance.
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Although the hamstrings are involved in all the complex exercises for the lower body, it is necessary to do additional isolation exercises because, for example, squatting or deadlifting is not enough to maximally develop these three muscles at the back of the knee. But to build strong legs, you also need them to be flexible and functional. We are bringing you ten yoga poses to open up your hamstrings.
10 Hand To Big Toe Pose
Start with standing in Mountain Pose with your feet together. Move your weight to your left foot, and drag your right knee up toward your chest. Hold your big toe with your hand and, if possible, extend that leg (but only if your flexibility allows you). Make sure your spine is straightened, and your core engaged. For an advanced version, your eyes should gaze in another direction (over the left shoulder). Hold this position for five deep breaths, then gently release. Be sure to modify this pose in a way your body feels comfortable.
9 Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Enter this posture by lying on your back. Bring your right knee towards your chest, and then gently extend your leg. If you are flexible enough, you can hold your big toe and pull your leg closer to your chest. If not, hold your calves, or behind the knees, and try to keep your leg at a 90-degree angle. You can even use a yoga strap to pull your leg closer to you. Hold this posture for five to six deep breaths, gently release, and repeat on the other side.
8 Staff Pose
This posture looks easy, but it is incredibly useful for people with tight hamstrings. Start by sitting on the floor with both legs in front of you. Make sure your sitting bones are correctly placed, and that they are not tucked underneath you (you can even use your hands to bring them out). Your back should be straight, and your hands placed on the floor next to you. If your back is not straight, bend your knees a little. Hold this pose for 20 seconds, and focus on your breathing.
7 Warrior III Pose
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Bring your arms in front of you. Try to keep square hips all the time and find your balance. Keep this posture for five deep breaths, then gently bring your leg down, and your torso straight up. Repeat on the other side as well.
6 Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Start with your feet apart, with your hands on the hips. Raise high through your whole torso and fold over your legs. Place your hands flat on the floor. Try to go deeper into the position, bringing your head as closes to the floor as possible. Make sure you don`t arch your back, and that your fold is from your hips. With every exhale, try to go deeper in the position, and align yourself properly.
5 Forward Bend
Begin this posture by standing with your feet firm on the ground. That is called Mountain pose. With inhale, reach your arms to the sky, and with exhale fold your upper body. Fold from your hips, and don`t arch your back. Push your chest (not forehead) towards your knees. If this pose is to difficult for you, bend your knees, but keep your back straight. Hold your big toes and breathe. With every exhalation, try to go deeper into the posture. Come out of the pose with a firm and activated core.
4 Extended Triangle Pose
Begin at the top of your mat in a Mountain pose. Step back with your right foot and shift your body to the side. Make sure your right foot is looking outwards, and your left foot fingers are looking slightly inwards. Shift your weight towards your right foot, and bend from the hips and grab your big toe with your right hand. Your left hand should be up in the sky, and your gaze is directed towards your left hand. Stay in this pose for five deep breaths and gently release. Repeat on the other side as well.
3 Dancer Pose
We are going to start this posture in Mountain pose as well. Keep your knees unlocked. Shift your weight to your left leg while lifting your right leg. With your right arm, grab the inner side of your foot.
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Bring your torso in front of you while pulling your leg as high as possible. Make sure your holding leg is firm and stable. Stretch out your left arm in front of you, and keep your gaze on the left hand. Release gently, and repeat on the other side.
2 Intense Side Stretch Pose
Begin with standing in the Mountain pose at the front of your mat. Step back, with your right foot. Keep both of your feet directing forward. From that position, fold from the hips and try to reach your left leg with your chest. Go deep as much as your flexibility allows you, but don`t bend in your spine. Make sure your knees are not entirely locked. Take five deep breathes, then slowly come up, step forward with your right leg, and then repeat the entire process on the other side.
1 Seated Straddle Pose
Begin with sitting in the Staff pose with your feet in front of you. Make sure your spine is long and straight. Open your legs on each side as much as you can, but make sure you don`t lose a good form of your back. Now, bend from your hips and try to push your chest towards the floor without compromising your back. If you are flexible enough, grab both of your big toes with your fingers and pull yourself on the floor. Keep this posture for five deep breathes, and then gently release and bring your feet back together.
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About The Author Nikolina Bilić (6 Articles Published)
Nikolina is a freelance writer, based in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. She is specialized in entertainment, lifestyle, and travel articles. Creative, open and cheerful personality helped her in pursuit of her long-lasting dream – writing. She finished Law School, on the University of Osijek, Croatia, and worked as a legal consultant for City Government, for almost six years, before she quit her job, and become a full-time freelance writer. Her hobbies include photography, piano playing and dancing.
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