For the past couple of weeks I have been feeling a bit of tension on the right side of my lower body. There is a twinge in my right leg from my hamstring through my hip and lower back. Not surprising that all of these areas are affected as they are closely connected. But it still surprises me when I feel this kind of thing because I do a lot of yoga (thank goodness for that!)
What’s up with all this lower body tightness?
Sitting for extended periods of time (like when driving, working at your computer and watching tv) causes tightness in your hip flexors and hamstrings. Your muscles are in a shortened position the whole time. After awhile this makes them tight and less responsive.
Tight hips and hamstrings are also a source of discomfort for athletes like runners, cyclists and martial artists. And this tension can predispose you to injury and may actually inhibit improvement in your sport of choice.
The muscles of your hamstrings and hip flexors are important for mobility and stability in your lower body. Healthy, happy hip flexors and hamstrings can help prevent hip, knee and low back issues. The actions of your hip flexors and hamstrings directly affect your lumbar spine. An imbalance in these muscles can cause strain and pain in your low back.
Long, lean and strong hamstrings and hip flexors extend and flex your legs more efficiently and with minimal strain on your lower spine. This improves the quality of your daily life and can help you excel in physical activity. All good reasons to show them some love.
Yoga for your hips and hamstrings
Here is a short yoga practice that targets the hips and hamstrings. These postures can feel intense so it’s important to tune in to your body. You want to feel something (find you edge) but back out if it’s painful.
Hip and Hammie Love
My friend Maureen asked for more explicit instructions so here you go – this one is a video!
Do all of the poses on one side and them move to the other, holding for 3-5 breaths.
- Low lunge
- Low lunge with a twist
- Half splits
- Half splits with twist
- Pigeon with a twist
(as you can see I’m still on a bit of a twisting bender … bonus!)