Help for the Hammies
We’ve had a few clients in the past few months that have very tight hamstrings, which can lead to low back, knee, or hip problems. There are many stretches out there, but not all of them get to the root of the problem. As always, one of our favorite ways to address this problem, off the massage table, is yoga.
Uttanasana is a posture that not only stretches the hamstrings, but releases the tension at the root of the body where the ligaments of hamstrings attach, and releases the connective tissue, along the back side of the body, that run through the hamstrings.
When we look at the hamtrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) and the associated ligaments in this picture, we will see that they attach at the bottom of the pelvis, the sacrum, and the bones around the knee. So if the hamstrings themselves are tight they will be pulling on all of these areas, causing possible structural misalignment, tension, and/or pain.
In order to address any muscle group to affect deep change we must always also address the connective tissue that surrounds each muscle fiber. From the point of view of the connective tissues in the hamstrings, we can see that the fascial (connective tissue) line that runs through the hamstrings also run along the whole back side of the body from the head to the bottom of the feet. So we use a pose that releases that fascial line as well as releasing the muscles themselves. As Dr. Brian Abelson put it “Bottom Line: You can try treating a hamstring injury with all the right techniques (ART,Graston, Massage etc.) and find that you still have not resolved a chronic problem you need to consider, and treat, the fascial interconnections.”
Uttanasana is great for stretching and releasing the hamstrings and the fascia of the back body. Not only does it release the hamstrings, but also the hips, calves, neck, and shoulders. In addition to those benefits, this posture can increase circulation to the brain, pituitary, and thyroid glands. To take it to the next level, we throw in the variation of the “hip tip” to release muscles and fascia around the tailbone, the root of the body and spine.
Direction for Uttanasana
Directions for Uttanasana with a Hip Tip
This posture can be done daily, before or after working out. For the alternate version with the hip tip, best to only do twice per day so as to avoid relapse (where the body works to maintain homeostasis by tightening and closing the area opened through the postures, thus causing pain in the area). We hope you and your hamstrings enjoy!
CMT, CYT and Certified Emotional Freedom Practitioner
QRA Practitioner and Ayurvedic Intern
Detox and Diet and Lifestyle Consulting
Sweet Life Natural Health
Mikyö Martin is a certified massage and yoga therapist, and uses Quantum Reflex Analysis, Emotional Freedom Sessions, and the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in her practice. She focuses on natural detoxification, nutrition, and removing mental, emotional, and physical blockages so that you can experience greater levels of health and joy.
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