Home Practice Ideas & Help
A little yoga every day goes a long way toward reducing pain in your body, and building strength & flexibility. Deepen your practice by practicing on your own.
Here are some resources that'll help you get started:
The hamstrings, a set of muscles on the back of the thigh, can be strong and sometimes quite stubbornly short & tight. The good news is that they respond well to consistent practice. Longer hamstrings can translate into less back pain, more fluidity in the body, and more fun during a yoga practice.
My challenge to you is to do this practice for at least 6 days out of every 7!
The picture above shows "nornal" hamstring length: 2 extended legs at a 90 degree angle. People with short hamstrings will have to have their sitting bones further from the wall, and the legs thus at less than a 90 degree angle, than depicted above, in order to have straight legs. Those who have longer hamstrings will be able to bring the right thigh closer to the belly and the knee closer to the shoulder.
Find a doorway or other place where you can lay down with one leg up the wall and the other extended along the floor. Keeping the back of the waistline lifted (lumbar curve in place), a firm belly and nice "yoga feet," position yourself wherever you need to be relative to the wall to have one leg fully extended (no bend, no hyperextension) up the wall. Have someone measure the distance between your sit bone and the wall. Stay there for at least 2 min, then switch sides and stay for at least 2 minutes with the other leg extended up the wall. Remember to keep the leg muscles engaged -- no "hanging out!: Do this for at least 6 days out of 7; after 2 weeks, have someone re-measure. Keep going, measuring your progress once in a while along the journey, and watch those tight hamstrings open up!!
General Notes About Posture
How's your posture when you sit? Check out the "ideal" center image below. The crown of her head, her shoulders, and hips line up together, and she's not over-arching her lower back. Her ankles line up right below her knees, and her feet are solidly planted on the floor.
What about your standing posture? Check out the guy on the far right -- a regular yoga practice helps undo those unhealthy habits so we look like that guy!