Many people suffer from tight hamstrings - the muscles on the back of the thigh. If these muscles are tight they are more prone to muscles tears, can contribute to lower back pain, and can limit range of motion. Repetitive exercises like running and spinning can often tighten the hamstrings.
Lengthening the hamstrings will keep the muscles tissue healthy and relieve any associated pain. Although stretching the hamstrings can be uncomfortable or even painful at first, after two to three weeks of consistent stretching you will begin to feel the results. Try these yoga poses at home to begin freeing your hamstrings.
Standing forward fold - Inhale and reach the arms up overhead. Exhale reach forward to lengthen the spine, and fold as far forward as comfortable. Relax the head and neck, and try to lengthen the back of the legs on each exhale. If your hamstrings are extremely tight you can bend the knees and rest the chest on the thighs to modify. (Do not forward fold if you have severe osteoporosis.) Hold for six breaths.
Pyramid pose - Stand with the feet together. Step the left foot back two to three feet and turn the toes out slightly. Keep the right foot straight and line up the right heel with the arch of the left foot. Keep the hips squared to the front. Inhale the arms up and exhale forward fold toward the right leg. Place the hands on a block if you can not reach the floor. Lengthen the back of the right leg while pressing the feet down and away from each other. Hold for six breaths. Repeat with the left leg forward.
Single leg forward fold - Sit up tall on a mat or towel and extend the right leg. Bend the left foot to right inner thigh, and turn the body toward right leg. Inhale the arms up, exhale lengthen the spine, and fold as far forward as comfortable while pushing the heart forward. Place a strap or belt around the ball of the foot to assist if you can not reach the foot or ankle. Hold for six breaths. Repeat on the left side.