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Yoga for Tight Hamstrings (Uttanasana as Peak Pose)

(Tummee Reference Yoga Sequence)

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Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans

Overview

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Yoga for Tight Hamstrings (Uttanasana as Peak Pose): Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions

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  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
    A. It is always good to start the yoga practice with the connection of the breath, and for this let us first go down on our backs in supine.

    B. Lie down on the mat and stretch the legs out, arms away from the body, and settle the back comfortably on the mat.

    C. Inhale and bring the legs to bend at the knees and place the soles of the feet to be in Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Bound Angle Pose.

    D. Pressing the knees, if possible towards the floor, rest the entire back and stay here for about 8 breaths feeling the stretch at the inner thighs. This pose is only to open the up the leg muscles and not to done to improve flexibility.
  • Legs Raised With Strap
    A. Moving into the next pose, release from Reclining Bound Angle Pose and bend the knees pressing them against your chest, while lifting the thighs off the floor.

    B. Placing a yogic strap around the soles of the feet while holding the ends with your hands, exhale and straighten the legs out.

    C. Stretch the legs out going into a full 90 degrees with the legs, with the torso. Extend pulling the strap, in Legs Raised With Straps.

    D. Feel the stretch around the hamstrings and using the abdominal muscles, stay here for about 8 breaths. It is ok if the knees bend a bit. The idea is to feel the stretch around the hips and the hamstrings.
  • Half Happy Baby Pose (Ardha Ananda Balasana)
    A. From the stretch at the hamstrings in Legs Raised With Strap, release the legs from the strap and bring the legs down to rest in Savasana.

    B. Inhale and raise the left leg up and while bending the knees, hold the left toe with your left hand. Exhale and press the left thighs towards your chest to go into Ardha Ananda Balasana or Half Happy Baby Pose.

    C. Here at this pose the other leg remains stretched out on the floor. Feel the tightness around the left side of the hips and the pulling sensation of the left hamstrings. Close your eyes and feel the stretch as you remain here for about 4 breaths.

    D. Release with an exhalation, rest and lift the right leg to go into the pose, holding it for 4 breaths. The opening of the hips along with the hamstrings is easier when the back is supported causing less wear and tear to any tendons or tissues.
  • Reclined Big Toe Pose B (Supta Padangusthasana B)
    A. Release and bring the leg down to rest in Savasana.

    B. Inhale and raise the left leg again, and holding the left toes, stretch the leg out towards the left side reaching for the floor.

    C. Focusing on the opening of the hips here, use the abdominal strength to take the legs towards the floor in Supta Padangusthasana B or Reclined Big Toe Pose B.

    D. Placing the right hand on the floor at shoulder level, remain here for about 4 breaths, feeling the stretch not only at the hips and hamstrings, but at the gluteus too.

    E. Release bring the leg back to rest in Savasana. Inhale and raise the right leg holding the toes to go into Reclined Big Toe Pose B, to feel the stretch on the right gluteus and right hips. Stay for about 4 breaths.

    F. Idea with this pose practice is to open both sides of the hips and the back while feeling the intensity of the stretch.
  • Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
    A. From the practice of Supta Padangusthasana B, bring both the legs to bend at the knees.

    B. Hold both your toes with your hands, respectively, to go into Happy Baby Pose.

    C. Press as you exhale and feel the deeper stretch around the upper hamstrings. Flex the hips to the maximum without over doing it and feel the intensity of the stretch at the hamstrings and gluteus.

    D. Stay here for about 8 breaths, pushing with every exhalation.
  • Reverse Pigeon Pose (Sucirandhrasana)
    A. From Ananda Balasana, place the left foot over the right knee, flexing the left thighs and left hips.

    B. While placing the left foot over inhale and as you exhale, lift the right foot off the mat and hold at the thighs to go into a deeper stretch around the left hamstrings .

    C. Press the right thighs, giving pressure to the left hamstrings. Stay here in Reverse Pigeon Pose or Sucirandhrasana for about 4 breaths.

    D. A great way to create space for the entire left side and subsequently the right side stretching all the muscles. This stretch helps to feel the tightness around the hamstrings, bringing awareness.

    E. Release and bring the legs down to rest. Inhale and pick the right leg to be placed on the left knee and go the same way into Sucirandhrasana and remain here for about 4 breaths.

    F. To get a better understanding of the stretch, you could repeat it one more time.

  • Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)
    A. Release from Supine poses and come to sit at the centre of the mat in Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose.

    B. Pressing the hips over the heels here in Vajrasana, helps to contract the hamstrings, which is like a counter movement to all the above poses in the sequence. Counter movement of muscles is a good way to keep the strength and flexibility of the muscles. They stay stronger.

    C. Pressing the hips downwards and extending the spine upwards, place the hands on the thighs and remain for about 6 breaths.
  • Camel Pose Variation 1 (Ustrasana Variation 1)
    A. Releasing from Vajrasana, come to sit on your knees and the shins, picking your torso up.

    B. Exhale and take the torso backwards in a backbend, in Ustrasana Variation, by keeping the hands on the hips.

    C. A nice pose to stretch the entire back in a back bend to open the various muscles around the spine. This backbend, helps to stretch the spine to the maximum and with ease in Uttanasana.

    D. As the pose Uttanasana is not only about hamstrings, it is also about the spine, back and the neck. Given that this pose Ustrasana Variation 1 will help.

    E. Stay for about 5 breaths.
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Note: Above yoga sequence is for educational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional and/or a licensed yoga teacher or yoga therapist before starting any exercise regime, including yoga.

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