For athletes out there such as runners, hockey players, cyclists, or even those individuals who tend to stay sitting behind a desk all day, tight hips and hamstrings seem to be a common area of discomfort. What most athletes do not know, however, is that hips and hamstrings that are tight and full of tension can actually prohibit them from improving in their sport of choice.
So with that being the case, give the backs of your legs and your hips some much needed attention by practicing a few of these amazing yoga postures, perfect for the tight athletes out there.
A great pose to loosen up the hips and stretch out the back leg muscles is Lizard Pose. To get into this posture, begin by making your way into a low lunge. Make sure that both your hands are placed on your mat on the inside of your front leg and then slowly begin to walk your front foot out to the outside edge of your mat.
Begin to slide your back knee behind you so that your knee cap is behind your hip, bringing you as deep into the posture as you can. If possible, make your way down onto your forearms or onto a block to deepen the lunge. Hold the posture for at least 10 deep breaths, allowing your body to relax.
This is an incredible pose for stretching out your hamstrings as well as your shoulders. Begin by standing in the middle of your mat in Tadasana. Next, Step your left (or right) foot back so that your heel rests completely on the floor.
Make sure to keep your hips square, and then clasp your hands together behind your back. A more difficult modification here would be to bring your hands to prayer behind your back. With your legs straight, take a deep breath in and exhale as you lean forward from your hips with a flat spin.
Stay in the posture for at least five breaths before slowly coming back up to standing. Switch sides and repeat.
This incredible posture stretches the thighs, groin, hips, and shoulders. Perfect for athletes who include a significant amount of running in their workouts, Half-pigeon stretches out your hips and releases any tension caused by your daily workouts.
To get into Half-pigeon, start in a low lunge with your right foot forward and your back knee down. Next, walk your right foot to the left outer edge of your mat, allowing your knee and shin to come down onto the mat. Make sure your hips are squared off by sitting up tall before adding a forward bend into your pigeon, and then allow yourself to relax fully.
Half-pigeon may not be the most comfortable posture at first, but give it time and you will achieve significant benefits.
What are your favorite poses to release tension in your hips and stretch your hamstrings?