Have a go at this 20 minute class, which focusses on lengthening the hamstrings. It’s a short, but packed sequence, with a couple of my creatively modified Sun Salutes, a dynamic standing sequence, seated sequence, some all essential core work and ends with some floor work using a strap.
I made this class with runners in mind – but it’s suitable for all!
Props: strap, you might like 2 x blocks
I talked about the reasons hamstrings so often get tight, in this recent blog post – one of them being lack of core strength, which is why I include core work in this video (actually, all my classes!)
Also in that blogpost, I describe how you can test your own hamstring flexibility! Here’s a recap:
Lie flat on your back:
- draw one knee in to your chest and hold behind the thigh.
- Slowly, start to straighten – the leg should go up to at least 70 degrees, with only a mild stretch.
If you can feel more, or the leg doesn’t want to come that high, then there is work to do!
Runners, and in fact anyone who suffers with tight hamstrings, will benefit from doing something like this video 2-3 times a week, plus a Yin based (much more relaxed approach) another 2-3 times per week. This Yin approach can just be lying on your back, holding the back of one thigh (as in the above test) and gradually lengthening the leg, progressively more each time – not trying to stretch but just feeling a gradual re-lengthening of the tissues occurring. Use a strap to hold the leg up for around 3 minutes. In addition, use PNF (proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation) techniques by actively pushing the foot into the strap to engage the hamstring muscles for 10 breaths, then relax and gently guide the leg in towards the body a little closer. Repeat 2-3 times. Relax completely lying down in between sides and internally observe the difference.
Get your yoga props and gear:
Manduka cork blocks https://amzn.to/2UJSdIf
Manduka strap https://amzn.to/2PDJhjK
Manduka PRO mat https://amzn.to/2Lh7c8a
Manduka PROLite mat https://amzn.to/2LfyKLa
Up to 50% off sale at Sweaty Betty is now on!
21 – 28th September 2019
From £1450 – save 10% with my booking code!
BOOKING HERE, via BlueRise Retreats
I am so excited to have been invited to teach and lead this retreat, so I’d love you to join me there!
This retreat will help you to move forward with your running and yoga practice, whether you are an experienced athlete or just starting out. There will be a Run Better with Yoga workshop with tips and techniques from myself, trail running with experienced guides, daily yoga classes designed especially for runners, healthy nutrition based meals and ultimate relaxation in a luxury Alpine chalet with spa and on-site massages included.
This retreat includes:
- A full body welcome massage
- 7 nights accommodation in a beautiful chalet
- Healthy and delicious meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (apart from one free evening to enjoy a meal at one of the fabulous local restaurants)
- A Run Better with Yoga workshop
- Guided running on Chamonix’s stunning trails
- A full week of excellent yoga classes
- A whole day at a fantastic spa just over the border in Italy
- Transfers to and from Geneva airport
How amazing does all that sound?! PLUS, you can save 10% on your place using the code HELENYOGARUNNING2019.
Healthy feet and lower legs, that are strong and flexible, are absolutely vital for finding your optimal running technique and staying injury free in this area. Don’t let this area be overlooked!
This is a flowing Vinyasa yoga based class that covers all areas, including hamstrings, hips and core, but our main focus is taken to the feet and lower legs. We explore some creative ways to help maintain the stability that the foot should provide, how to maintain a strong, yet flexible Achilles tendon and calves, and stretching the elusive top of the feet and shins 😉
Ideally do this 28 minute class on a non-running day, as much of it is standing sequences but we wind down with some floor based poses and a little myofascial release. Have a tennis ball to hand if possible.
Check out these previous blogposts, if you haven’t already! Yoga for Feet and Yoga for Achilles.
So, whilst reading this week, I was surprised to read that tight hip flexors are the most frequently seen problem in runners! Yet, considering the fact that many runners are over-striding, it’s obvious.
The job of the hip flexors is clear: to flex the hip, ie. to lift it. But if actively doing this when running by lifting the knee, placing the foot too far ahead occurs, causing a multitude of problems! What we want is to lift the heel and extend the hip back – meaning we need flexible hip flexors for great running technique.
To test hip extension:
take a low lunge position, on one foot and one knee. Find a square in the shape of the legs, with knee over ankle and hip over knee. Posteriorly tip the pelvis (tip it back), lengthening the tail bone. This will isolate a stretch in the iliopsoas, the primary hip flexor. Other than the most flexible of people, I think pretty much everyone will have at least some stretch here but if it feels really intense and difficult, you know you need to work on lengthening the hip flexors!
Lack of flexibility here means you’ll end up placing the foot too far in front of the body when running, losing efficiency, as this adds force and impact, increasing the risk of injury but also really losing the stability of the core, which is vital for great natural running.
As we move forward with our energy, we need to send the hip and heels back behind to drive us forward and for optimal alignment.
What to do? Great for any runner – remember, don’t wait until you have a complaint to take action! All of these steps are more thoroughly explained in the most recent video in the Run Better with Yoga Facebook community.
Morning or pre-run:
- Daily morning Sun Salutes Watch on YouTube, or buy my Yoga for Runners Collection
- Pre-run drill: Lift heels behind you on the spot, gradually getting faster. Take this into your running! Lift the heels up, not the knees!
As part of a longer session, possibly on a non-run day:
- Use MFR ball on Rectus Femorus, TFL and Vastus Lateralis
- Lie over a block under the sacrum, draw one knee toward chest
What’s your experience? If you suffer with tight hip flexors let me know in the comments below what you’ve tried and how you get on with these tips.
Learn how to run better with yoga on a Yoga Flow Running course next year: 1 Day courses are 26th January and 6th April; a 6 night retreat in Portugal 21-27 April and the full weekend is 7-10 June.
Save 33% on Yoga for Runners: Strength & Mobility, Release & Recover, until 10pm Sunday 25th November.
Buy for yourself, or as a gift, for only £10!
- Reduce injury
- Run further and faster
- Improve strength and flexibility
- Recover quicker
In this video collection, you get a pre-run strength and mobility class, a release and recover routine, as well as a short post-run sequence.
Plus, a bonus guided relaxation to help you relax, focus and visualise running with natural, ease and joy, the way running is meant to be!
THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED 🙁 But – you can still get the collection for only £15/ $19, right here!
Plus, our friends at Women’s Running magazine are offering us 33% off a 6 or 12 month subscription! You’ll receive the link to redeem this offer with your video access code.
With my Yoga for Runners collection, you will:
- Improve core strength and pelvic stability
- Improve your posture – and your alignment
- Improve flexibility and range of movement
- Help prevent injury
- Enjoy running more!