EP 45 - Hamstrings

45: 3 Ways to Engage the Hamstrings

Vinyasa yoga has often been criticized for over-stretching the hamstrings as the practice tends to favor forward bends over backbends. Add in the modern-day desk job, sitting with knees bent and hips bent for hours a day–we often see some dysfunction in the hamstrings. In this episode, we break down the hamstrings in terms of isometric, eccentric and concentric work that we can do in a yoga class. Considering muscular action in this way can be very helpful in creating new variations and sensations in the body, and restoring healthy function to the hamstrings.

In This Episode

  • Where are the hamstrings and what do they do?  (6:36)
  • Hamstring tension that comes around from a desk job that requires sitting on the hamstring tendon all day (8:04)
  • From an Ashtanga Vinyasa background, there is some debate about the higher ratio of forward bends to backbends, and hence overly-stretched hamstrings (16:09)
  • Nat’s ability to fold forward reduced as she sits (18:20)
  • Low back pain and the hamstrings (20:14)
  • What are isometric, concentric and eccentric muscle contractions? (26:13)
  • Isometric hamstring contraction in (34:20)…
    1) Tadasana
    2) Laying Supine
    3) One-Legged Downward Facing Dog
    4) Bird Dog
    5) Transition from One-Legged Down Dog to Warrior 3
    6) Warrior 3
  • Eccentric hamstring contraction in (47:13)…
    1) Forward Fold (Uttanasana) lowering really slow
    2) Flowing slowly in and out of parsvottanasana
  • Concentric hamstring contraction in (55:13)…
    1) Standing on one leg, flex knee then extend hip (tap knees)
    2) Standing on one leg, flex knee then extend hip, then lower chest to Warrior 3
    3) From Down Dog, squeeze knee to chest and heel to butt, then push back to Down Dog extend hip without losing flex knee
    4) Table top – one leg up, put a block in the hamstring and hold it with the bent knee

Resources & Links

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