Holistic Hamstrings: Poses to stretch and strengthen these key muscles

We work a lot with our hamstrings in yoga, and we often focus very much on stretching these muscles. However, healthy hamstrings are not only flexible, they are also strong and agile. After all, these muscles are key to everyday activities like walking and squatting. This sequence offers a variety of hamstring movements. Yes, there are a lot of stretches, but you’ll also work on your stability and balance, strengthening your hamstrings, and eventually relaxing them.

Pro Tip: In the poses that provide stretch, focus the stretch on the belly of the muscle rather than the attachments (your hamstring attachment points are on your knees and sit bones). When you feel like you are pulling in any of these areas, pull back by bending your knees slightly and letting your core snap into place a little more diligently.

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From tabletop, walk forward with your hands about two handprints, raise your knees, and step back with your feet until your body shapes and the V shape is reversed. If you are unsure of the placement of your hands or feet, briefly roll your wrists under your shoulders in the Plank Pose and raise your hips to about the same height as your shoulders. Then lift your hips up and back in Down Dog. Continue lifting the weight of your torso and hips up and out of your wrists as you lower your heels towards the floor.

Note: Your heels may not be touching and you may need to bend your knees if your hamstrings feel tight.

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