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6 key benefits of Private One-on-One Yoga Lessons for Improving Hamstring Flexibility
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Causes of Lack of Flexibility in the Hamstrings
A sedentary lifestyle, particularly one involving long hours of desk work, is a major contributor to the lack of hamstring flexibility. This is because sitting keeps the hamstrings in a shortened state, leading to progressively shorter and stiffer muscles. Additionally, inadequate exercise habits, including insufficient stretching or warm-up routines, can cause hamstring tension. Overusing the hamstrings in certain sports or activities can also lead to stiffness and reduced flexibility. Furthermore, the natural aging process causes muscles to lose elasticity and shrink due to changes in the collagen within the muscles, significantly decreasing hamstring flexibility. This issue is exacerbated if regular stretching and appropriate exercise are not maintained.
Self-Diagnosis - Are Your Hamstrings Flexible?
Yoga Poses to Improve Hamstring Flexibility
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose):
Uttanasana is an effective pose for stretching the hamstrings and softening the back. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, fold your torso forward. Slightly bending the knees can ease the pressure on the hamstrings and gradually decreasing the bend can help improve flexibility. Place your hands on the floor, or hold your ankles, shins, or thighs. Perform 5 deep breaths and with each exhale, fold further forward.
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend):
This pose allows you to focus on stretching one hamstring at a time. Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg and place the sole of the right foot against the inner left thigh. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, fold your torso toward the left leg. Grasp the toes of the left foot with both hands, or place your hands as far down the leg as possible. Repeat 5 deep breaths on each side, deepening the pose in a relaxed manner.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend):
This pose not only increases the flexibility of the hamstrings but also that of the inner thighs. Stand with a wide stance, toes pointing slightly inward. Keep your spine straight as you lean your torso forward. Place your hands on the floor, bending your elbows for a deeper stretch. In this pose, maintain a relaxed state in your neck and shoulders while taking 5 deep breaths.
Benefits of Improve Hamstring Flexibility
Improved Posture and Reduced Back Pain:
By increasing hamstring flexibility, an anterior pelvic tilt is promoted, which can improve posture. A correct posture can reduce the load on the back and decrease lower back pain commonly seen with long periods of desk work.
Enhanced Athletic Performance:
The hamstrings play an important role in running, jumping, and sudden stopping movements. Improving their flexibility can lead to better efficiency in these movements, enhancing performance in sports and daily activities.
Improved Blood Circulation in the Lower Limbs and Injury Prevention:
Increased flexibility improves blood flow. Since the hamstrings are one of the major muscle groups in the lower body, their flexibility can speed up muscle fatigue recovery and reduce the risk of injuries caused by stress or muscle tension.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to soften the hamstrings?
The time it takes to improve hamstring flexibility varies from person to person and requires regular practice with proper technique. It might take several weeks or even months to see a significant difference. It is important to practice consistently and with patience.
Can I still improve my hamstring flexibility if I have a history of back pain?
Yes, with proper guidance and gradual progression, individuals with back pain can work on improving hamstring flexibility. It is important to ensure that exercises are done with the correct form and possibly under the supervision of a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor.
Should I practice yoga poses for hamstring flexibility every day?
While daily practice can be beneficial, it's important to allow the body to rest. Balancing days of intense stretching with days of rest or gentle movement is key to allowing muscles to recover and grow stronger.
"Senior Class is taught based on classical Hatha Yoga which typically involve gentle physical postures (yoga poses) and breathing techniques. Better balance, stronger bones and better breathing can be achieved after a period of time practicing yoga." by Luly Lai