Hamstrings are located in the back of your thigh. The hamstrings move your legs backwards and also bend them at the knee.
When you perform this action, they play an essential role in stabilizing your body. For all these reasons, it is essential to stretch and strengthen this muscle group!
Improving your hamstring flexibility is usually an incremental process that takes place over time, but it’s possible with regular practice.
Start slowly, and recover since a hamstring strain is the last thing you want. If appropriate, use props, be consistent, and you will see results.
Yoga Poses For Hamstrings
The poses below are arranged from easy to more challenging. The Easy/Beginner’s poses are unquestionably the place to start. The difficult positions assume that you already have a lot of mobility in this area.
Reclined Big Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana
Supta Padangusthasana is a gentle way to stretch your hamstrings and lower back. This position has been called “the perfect yoga pose for beginners” because it teaches you how to align your body’s alignment and to breathe properly.
There are many adaptations for Supta Padangusthasana, depending on your flexibility level. It is best to practice this with a strap nearby if you have tight hamstrings. You will have to repeat the pose at least once on each side.
Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana
One of the seemingly most simple yoga poses is also the best for hamstring flexibility. Uttanasana, or Standing Forward Bend, is a staple in both Sun Salutation A and B. To get its full effect, hold it for an extended period.
In this pose, the hamstrings are stretched in an anterior direction, so it's a good idea to warm up with a few more easy poses before you start holding this posture for longer.
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana
This posture opens up your hamstrings and spine in a natural way. By sitting on the ground and folding forward over your legs, you will feel like you are elongating every muscle in your body. Hold this pose for at least one minute. The forward fold asana is also among the best period cramps relief positions.
Seated Forward Fold is typically practised in Yin Yoga classes or at the end of class. You need to practice with humility and do not push yourself too far.
Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend – Prasarita Padottanasana
Prasarita Padotanasana is a wonderful hip-opening pose that is perfect for hamstring flexibility in both legs at the same time.
Because it is also an inversion, it can help detoxify, reduce headaches, relieve anxiety, and lower blood pressure, among other benefits.
You can also check out our complete article about hip opening yoga poses here.
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
A downward-facing dog is healthy and flexible for many parts of your body, including your hamstrings.
It is a fallacy that the goal of this pose is to get your heels to the mat. In an endeavour to achieve this position, some persons find themselves walking their feet closer to their hands. Don't do it!
Locust pose – Salabhasana
The locust pose is an exercise in the abdomen, the back, and the thighs. It increases stamina and builds flexibility as well.
Be patient while doing the pose, and you will progress over time to the full expression with an open chest and expanded lung capacity.
Monkey Pose – Hanumanasana
The monkey is a wonderful pose for those with tight hamstrings. It is effortless to perform, but it may be challenging to get into if you are new to yoga. Keep practising getting into the position and try not to worry so much as it will come with time.
The benefits of this pose are more than worth the effort! Flexibility in the hips is also essential to practice the full expression of Hanumasana.
Pyramid Pose – Parsvottonasana
Parsvottonasana is a pose that looks easy, but it might be challenging for those with tight hamstrings.
However, it is one of the most beneficial poses to increase hamstring versatility when done correctly. To make sure you get the full benefit from it, do this on both sides of your body.
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose – Uthita Hasta Padangustasana
Uthita Hasta Padangustasana helps to stretch the hamstrings as well as the back and shoulders. It is a great pose because it shows you how to be supported without holding onto anything.
It is very similar to the previously mentioned Supta Padanghustasana, except you perform it standing.
The interplay of balance makes this a slightly more challenging pose. If you’re experiencing difficulties with the pose, try using a belt.
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
Garuda means eagle in Sanskrit. Learning to perform Garuda is a wonderful thing to do amid yoga practice. It is going to help you extend your hamstrings, lower back, and spine.
To ensure you get the full effect from this pose, hold it for at least 1 minute and exhale as you fold forward over your legs.
Firefly Pose – Tittibhasana
Tittibhasana is a great pose for those with tight hamstrings, but it can also be very challenging. For many people, it can take years to reach the full expression of this pose.
It is a backbend and an inversion that requires a lot of flexibility in your hips, hamstrings, and back.
It also involves arm and core strength. It is a central pose of Ashtanga yoga, so it may be familiar to those who practice the primary series. Attempting this exercise after warming up is pivotal. Be patient!
Sleeping Vishnu – Anantasana
This pose seems more straightforward than it is. If you maintain an upright pose, balance becomes a challenging effort. Use a strap around your foot if you are unable to reach your toes with the leg straight.
The key to this pose is to remain relaxed and be mindful of each muscle being stretched.
Anantasana stretches the shoulders, spine, quads, hamstrings, and ankles. It’s an extension of an arch in Plank Pose. This pose also strengthens the wrists by gripping the toes and has the added benefit of stretching the inner thighs and your toes!
Heron Pose – Krounchasana
Krounchasana is a yoga pose that will help you to stretch your hamstrings, hips, and back. Developing balance and core strength is crucial for this pose as well.
As long as you warm up before trying it, Krounchasana will be a rewarding addition to your home yoga practice.
Bird of Paradise – Svarga Dvidasana
You can perform Bird of Paradise as either a variation or with the full expression of the pose. It is important to remember that the goal of this pose is to elongate your entire body.
If this pose makes your hips shoot up, it’s not working correctly!
Side Lunge – Skandasana
The side lunge builds hamstring flexibility while strengthening the quadriceps and glutes. It is an immensely challenging pose, but it also helps to stretch your muscles while propping them up simultaneously.
You will feel your hamstrings lengthen as you stretch all around the body.
Skandasana is famous for working the inner upper thighs. But, again, it’s not about how low you can go. So don’t worry for a minute if you are not in a full squat. As long as you feel the stretch, you are benefiting.
These fifteen poses will set you on a path to loosening tight hamstrings and increasing flexibility. Make sure not to skip warming up before each pose. There are many ways to modify poses.
Legs can be propped up with blankets, and people use straps for more active positions.
Be cautious when you start stretching your hamstrings. You might end up making them tighter and hurting yourself if you try too far too fast.