Yoga for Hamstring Stretch, Yoga Poses for Hamstrings
“Hamstrings” is the most common anatomical term used by anyone who knows anything about fitness. Hamstrings are a group of three larger group of muscles which run longitudinally behind, along the length of the thigh bone, the femur. These are a group of three very strong muscles which originate from below the pelvis – Ischial tuberosity- pass from behind the knee joint and two hamstring muscles end on the tibia bone and the end tendon of one latches on to the fibula of the lower extremities.
These three muscles receive signals from the brain through the Sciatica nerve. Hamstring muscles play very important role in the functioning of the knee joint; it facilitates the flexing of the knee, or the normal bending of the knee. This is made possible when the hamstrings contract pulling the lower part of the leg, the tibia and fibula bones, closer to the thigh or the femur bone.
The hamstring muscle exercises are designed to maintain the required tone in the muscles: neither too flexible, nor too tight. The normal tonicity of the hamstrings is essential for the efficient functioning of the joints, knee joint and the hip joint, which depend on it for their movement.
This group of muscles help in extending the hip joint. Extending of the hip joint is tantamount to swinging the straight stretched out leg backwards while standing. The action of extension increases the angle between the torso and the thigh which propels the body forward while running.
Simple activities like walking, running, jumping and climbing the stairs are executed with the help of the hamstring muscles. Hamstrings work in conjunction with the quadriceps for making these movements possible. Very tight hamstrings, or very flexible hamstrings, both can impact the quality of these activities so crucial to daily living.
Rotation of the lower leg inwards is made possible by the two hamstring muscles which end on the inside of the knee joint and the one which is attached on the outside helps rotate the lower leg outwards. Hamstrings also control or regulate the speed of a kick or a violent leg swing if undertaken. The hip extension function of the hamstrings aid the buttocks in standing up from a sitting position, also while coming out of the squatting position.
Yoga poses for Hamstrings – How They Work
Tight hamstrings can be a problem as they tilt the pelvis backwards by pulling the buttocks down towards the back of the thighs. This straightens the light natural curvature of the lumbar spine which can lead to lower back pain. Sacroiliac joint pain in case present can also be attributed to the tight hamstrings.
Moreover the tight hamstrings reduce the span of the stride while walking. Yoga poses for hamstrings help by loosening these muscles by stretching them from different angles. Sometimes the job of the gluteal muscles, buttocks, in case they are tight and stiff, has to be transferred to the hamstrings which leave them tight due to the over load of work.
Yoga asana for tight hamstrings provide the needed rest as intervals between alternate stretching of these muscles. Moreover yoga poses for hamstrings are also designed to strengthen the gluteal muscles, enabling them for bearing their part of the workload themselves.
Sometimes the hamstrings stay stretched for long on account of the pelvis being frozen in a forward tilt due to the shortness in the , which lifts the back of the hips up keeping the hamstrings constantly in a stretched position. This type of hamstring stretch can also causes tightness in these muscles.
All the hamstring muscle exercises including Yoga poses for hamstrings alternatively lengthen the muscle groups which are keeping the pelvis tilted forward. All the back bending yoga asana for tight hamstrings work by extending the psoas muscle along with lengthening the quadriceps. These muscles are majorly responsible for fixing the pelvis in a forward tilt.
Hamstring muscles are built to facilitate movement; remaining sedentary for longer periods can also tighten this muscle group. Sprinkle the longer sitting session with occasional breaks where one is required to stand up and walk. Getting habituated to standing while working is one of the cardinal principles coming from the leg stretcher yoga or yoga for hamstring stretch.
Yoga poses for hamstrings provide two types of stretching: dynamic and the static. Static lengthening is achieved by keeping the muscle stretched to its maximum capacity for longer duration, as when one holds the final position of Uttanasana for at least a minute. Static stretching is normally done towards the end of the session on the yoga poses for hamstrings.
Dynamic stretching takes place when one repeats the normal motion which the hamstrings are supposed to facilitate – walking, running etc.- without reaching the maximum limit of stretching of the muscle involved. Thus dynamic stretching forms the part of the warm up sessions before one starts the main course of the exercises on hamstring stretch, as a warm up for the yoga hamstring stretch beginners.