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eunice

hamstring stretch

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Hi Candace!

When I do a sitting forward fold, I feel a lot of the stretch/strain (i can't tell the difference) on my lower back. My lower back tends to curve out, so I'm very focused on keeping it straight, with my belly aimed for my upper thighs. I have a micro bend in the knees, and I try to keep my chest up.

But I feel most of the pressure in lower back and I don't feel any of it in my hamstrings. Do you think maybe I'm too focused on tilting my hips out and belly to the thighs?

YogaByCandace likes this

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Does your pose look like this?

569e05e3888a6_ScreenShot2016-01-19at4.44

Use a strap, sit on a blanket and don't worry about folding over too far. Reach forward with the top of the rib cage, focus on tilting your tail bone outward (attempting to keep back aligned properly). Tilt from the hips.

Use a mirror or have someone watch you or take a photo and compare your back to the back in this image. 

Try "legs on the wall" which will guarantee you a straight back while stretching the hamstrings.

Better advice will come from others

YogaByCandace likes this

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When I first started doing yoga the pose shown by Larry above was completely ineffective for me. Now it works if I sit on several blocks, but I still don't find it hugely useful. To begin with my hamstrings where so tight that even sitting on a block my pelvis was tilted backwards from vertical, putting the force of the stretch on the low back.

An effective way I have found of stretching the hamstrings derives from the link at the bottom of Larry's signature. Find an object you can put your leg on while standing. It's height should be such that when you straighten your leg you start to notice a stretch before the leg comes totally straight. This could be a table, chair or staircase for example. You may pack underneath the foot using blocks, books etc to fine tune the height.

Put your leg up on said object while standing with your knee bent, you should not feel a stretch to begin. Slowly straighten the leg until you *just* begin to notice a stretch. Hold this position until the sensation goes away then straighten it a little more until the sensation comes back. Repeat. Don't force it and don't hyper extend the knee.

YogaByCandace likes this

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The seated forward fold works both the hamstrings and the backs of the hips which kind of connect to the low back, so it doesn't surprise me that you feel something in the low back. However, I think it's important for you to discern whether you're feeling a stretch or a strain - and only you can say which is which. It could be that your hamstrings are more open than your hips/low back area so that's where you feel it when you do that stretch.... it does sound like you're doing it correctly, although maybe with a blanket under your bum and the use of a strap as Larry suggested may be useful, but I have a feeling it's that your low back/hips are tight in relation to your hamstrings. Give rag doll pose a try and see where you feel it. It's a similar pose just that you're standing and it's passive instead of an active stretch. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful - I feel like I haven't answered your question at all, haha, but those are my initial thoughts.

robert likes this

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