I have a love-hate relationships with my stubborn tight ‘hammies’ also called hamstrings. It seems like my legs are made to be in a 90 degree angle, ready to run through life. In the past I have done quite a lot of running which explains my tightness. After a running session, my hamstrings would be even tighter. Of course, I’m glad they do their job well. Since hamstrings are instrumental in essential and everyday activities like walking. Though, sometimes I wish for a little bit more flexible hammies which would allow me to flow through my yoga practice more effortlessly and gracefully. Stretching the hamstrings need to be done steady and slow. If you force them to stretch, you will run the risk injuring your hamstrings and hamstrings injuries can be among the most difficult and slowest to heal. It is almost if my hamstrings are trying to tell me: “Slow down!” & “Take it easy”. The lesson I can learn is not focusing on the destination only (strong flexible hamstrings), but be in the moment and enjoy the stretch. In the end, stretches like that are merely to prepare you to sit and meditate. ‘I know, I know’, replies my mind and at the same time I just wish to get that ugly bend out of my leg in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Standing Big Toe Yoga Pose) and in many other yoga poses. Yoga is not about how you look like from the outside, but how you feel from the inside. ‘I know, I know’! says my mind again. It is not so much a matter of knowing, but more a matter of feeling. That is yoga. To feel that inner contentment, that inner strength which makes you smile from the inside. These ‘feeling’ moments – when often a tear rolls down my cheek – represent my yoga, when I feel truly connected.
Here is one of my favourite hamstrings stretches: