Yoga Tune Up® Blog


Let Leg Stretch #2 Help Your Hamstrings

By: | Friday, November 1st, 2013 | Comments 17

When I first started practicing yoga, I was a hot mess in Triangle Pose. I thought that if I touched the floor with my hand, I was achieving the best possible version of the pose. I watched everyone around me placing their hand to the floor and tried to imitate their action without any awareness of my body in space and what I was doing with it. It took some time for me to understand and feel it in my body when following cues from the instructor. Once I realized that I had tight hamstrings, I knew that Triangle Pose would be a challenge for me. I heard horror stories of people pulling their hamstrings in class and lived in constant fear of doing the same.  I forced myself to be aware of my alignment every time we approached it in class, consciously setting myself up in order to feel the stretch in my hamstrings without hurting myself.  Triangle Pose is now one of my favorite poses and when a teacher skips it in a Vinyasa class, I miss it.

Leg Stretch #2 changes the orientation of Triangle Pose, letting you feel it differently in your body.  The action of the hip lowering down to the floor as you stretch your leg off to the side mimics Triangle Pose in the standing position.  Check out Jill Miller’s video below!

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Watch our videos about feet and ankles.

Read “Dear Hamstrings, Why Must You Be So Tight?

Read “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Tri, Tri Again”

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About This Author

After years of being told to stand up straight and relax, Lauren decided to take her first yoga class. She fell in love with the practice and knew it would always be a part of her life. She received her Vinyasa Yoga Certification from Prana Power Yoga NYC and found teaching others to be just as rewarding as her own personal practice. She gravitated towards Yoga Tune Up® as a way to expand her anatomy knowledge and learn personal techniques to live a longer, healthier life. She is thankful to Jill Miller's Yoga Tune Up® teachings for showing her that the truly advanced always know when to modify.

17 Responses to “Let Leg Stretch #2 Help Your Hamstrings”

  1. Amanda Kou says:

    Great exercise! I have tight hamstrings on my left side and it makes triangle very hard for me on that side. I’ve been looking for ways to help stretch that area out without hurting myself and this is definitely one I’ll practice. Another thing that’s been helpful while doing triangle pose is microbending my left knee (I have a tendency to hyperextend which hurts my knee a lot). That plus trying to put more pressure on my back leg has helped as well.

  2. Jason Campbell says:

    I always have a bit of an internal chuckle when i teach any pose that has a possibility of touching the floor and how students just push and push to do it, no matter how many times i say touching the floor is irrelevant. Now whenever i teach triangle I always make students start it with a block, and it seems to have become the norm that it only gets practiced with a block. Only a few students resist, and those are usually the students that try to insist on being ‘yoga rock stars’. lol

  3. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for addressing hamstrings! Mine are tight as well and I am haunted by the same horror stories of people pulling and tearing them in class. The leg stretch #2 video was very helpful, especially with directions of movement. Thanks for posting!

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  7. Geoff Brown says:

    The fear of tearing a hamstring also plagues me to. I love the change of orientation on this pose. There is feeling of so much more control with your foot anchored in the wall in this closed chain version of the Triangle Pose.

  8. pam everson says:

    I actually like this one now. I disliked this one a lot.. now that I understand it better and ways to close chain the stretch, it is more enjoyable.

  9. lauren says:

    I love this pose. I teach often to people who have a hard time sensing the movements available in their pelvis and a hard time sensing their choices. It is great to do this pose while maintaining pelvic integrity as well as optimal pelvic-rib relationship so that we can take that to standing and explore those relationships. As a super flexible person, I find this one great to limit my mobility and to explore the variety of modifications.

  10. Hello Jill,
    I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award since I enjoy your blog posts so much! You Inspire me to be a better teacher and more importantly, a better student!!!! I have attended some of your events and hope to do more in the coming year.
    Here is the link. http://wellnessthymewithcarol.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/the-sunshine-blogger-award-nomination/

    Enjoy, Carol Takakura

  11. Lisa Swanson says:

    I’ve just started my Yoga Tuneup Training and learned about the Adductor Slides and how this exercise could help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
    In Pilates, we can engage the adductor muscles by using a block or ball between the legs while lying on the mat with knees bent. We engage the adductor muscles just as we exhale, also engaging our Core Stabilizing muscles.
    I was taught the squeeze of the ball or block was to help the client engage the muscle correctly and help them stabilize their pelvis during certain Pilates exercises.
    I do see that this engagement is more than just stated above and see the link between the adductors and the pelvis floor.
    Thanks.

  12. Lauren says:

    I love this pose. Our relationship with gravity enables us to be more specific and discerning with our choices. A great orientation to isolate the hamstrings as well as the relationship between the pelvis, ribs and legs- building blocks for many poses.

  13. Sarah Sachs says:

    Thanks for the post! Trikonasa is also one of my favorite poses to practice and teach and I have incorporated something very similar to yoga leg stretch #2 in my classes as part of my “standard” warm-up with my students. Having the foot placed against the wall is a variation I have not tried yet and will certainly help with students awareness of their alignment.

  14. Clare Chura says:

    I love practicing this hamstring stretch because it allows me to fully concentrate on each leg at a time. I find that using the strap helps to keep my opposite hip grounded, too. A good modification for those with tighter hamstrings is to place a block beneath the hip of the extended leg. This keeps the leg in a safe place while the student extends it, it prevents it from having that “heavy” feeling, and it allows the student to concentrate on keeping the opposite leg grounded. As flexibility increases, the block can be moved down the thigh and eventually removed.

  15. Jennie Cohen says:

    The parallels between trikonasana and supta padangusthasana 2 make a good case for teaching the latter with the leg in external rotation (toes turning toward the floor). I usually discourage flexible bodies from allowing this to happen, since it stretches the medial hamstring more and we’re often targeting an adductor stretch with this pose. However, relating it to the external rotation required for triko does provide a reason to teach external rotation in the pose. Food for thought and for changing my usual approach to the pose…

  16. pam everson says:

    After trying the half happy baby minivini and now understanding the why, how and which I will def add this to my own practice. I do a lot of leg work in all my classes so this would be a great thing for me to add personally!

  17. Kathleen Mumma says:

    Thank you for higlighting this stretch, Lauren. Triangle is also one of my favorite poses to practice and to teach. Right now the most interesting aspect to me is having my students ground down through the back foot and extend the back leg to open up the back (in the standing pose, the top) hip. Learning leg stretch #2 is a great preparation for this opening and also another way to make triangle accessible to students. I am going to incorporate it into warm ups. Thank you!!

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Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.

 

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