Can you run a marathon but not touch your toes? You're not the only. Many athletes push their muscles to the limit without balancing the strength with stretch. And there are no shortcuts when it comes to lengthening balled-up muscles. It just takes regular practice and patience. So, let's get started. It's time to start a conversation with those hibernating hamstrings. Repeat these hamstring-opening poses daily and you will see improvement.Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Ã¢â‚¬Â¨
Tara's tip: When working on your flexibility make sure to breathe deep long breaths. Hang in there! Remember, a part of yoga is reigning in your thoughts when they stray away from the task at hand. Use your brain to your benefit by concentrating on the muscles as they let go.
Make your way in to a low lunge.
Drop your back knee to the floor and bring your hands up on your front knee for a good passive stretch in the front of your hip. Place your hands on the floor and straighten your back leg, lifting the knee, for a more active stretch. Hold for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. For a flexibility bonus, try bringing your forearms to the floor.
From a low lunge, bring your back foot in about a foot and turn your heel down to the floor. Square your hips to your front leg, and relax your torso over it. Breathe into your hamstring for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Bring your feet together. Bend your knees slightly and fold over your legs. Grab your calves to gently pull your torso closer to your legs with each exhale. Align your hips directly over your ankles. If you feel like you're tipping forward, that's probably about right. Hold for at least three deep breaths.
Start in down dog. Then lift one leg up, keeping the foot pointed down and hips square to the floor. Lift from the back of your leg, straight up through your heel as high as you can with good form. Hold for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Start in a low lunge. Flex your front foot and slide it out in front of you, going for the split. If you need more support, place your hands on blocks alongside your hips. Use the blocks as stabilizers to help keep your hips square to your front leg. Hold for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Lie down in legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani). Slowly open your legs to the sides. Breathe here for several minutes. Gravity will do the job lowering your legs closer to the floor for you. Your job is to breathe and allow it to happen!