As a follow up to the lower back release article and video, I am sharing some insights on how lower back health can be supported by ensuring our hips and hamstrings also remain healthy and supple. Read on to know more about yoga for tight hamstring & hips.
It is important to remember that our body parts do not operate in isolation. They are part of an integrated unit and one part is connected to and collaborates with several other parts, allowing the body to operate as a well-oiled and intelligent system.
We discussed what may be causing lower back issues in the last article and I can safely say that our hips and hamstrings can be subjected to issues similar to that of the lower back.
Bad posture, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of adequate and efficient stretching.
Whether it’s our job, studies, running/marathoning, heavy cardio, or simply being a couch potato – they are serving to add a layer of stress to our hips, hams, and lower back unless one is aware and mindful about releasing them. We are not addressing any external injury here, but simply things we do in our daily life that serve to aggravate issues in these areas.
And here is the most interesting part – our lower back, hips, and hamstrings are intimately connected. The lumbar region (lower back) which is identified as the L1 to L5 vertebrae in the spine is directly connected to our hip flexors near the top of our thighs (also known as Iliopsoas) and is greatly impacted by the activity in our hip flexors.
Tight hip flexors will pull on the muscles connected to the lower back potentially causing an anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis tilts forward and the lower back juts out at the back. And this action will cause the hamstrings to be pulled contributing to more tightness and impacting the normal curvature of the spine.
This can eventually lead to not only tight hamstrings but also chronic lower back sensitivity and pain, unless corrective action is taken to address not just one specific area but the entire group of muscles related to hips, lower back, and hamstrings.
While yoga postures combined with mindful breathwork serve a larger purpose of healing the overall system, one of the best side-effects of consistently practicing certain postures and holding them for specific durations is that they will lead to improved muscle flexibility, strength, body alignment, and symmetry. They will directly impact our form, overall posture and serve to neutralize our spine.
And on that note, I would like to share a 15min sequence that addresses the hips, hams and lower back region. You are most welcome to practice the same sequence of postures for a longer duration if time permits. Ideally, at least 2 to 3 rounds of sun salutations or some cardio is advisable before we do this sequence so that the muscles are warmed up and ready to stretch and be held for a few breaths.
P.S – Sun salutations are in fact a fantastic way to release tightness in this region of the body. All the forward-folding, back-bending, hip opening, and upward movement of hips in downward dog help release this stiffness and tension.
Once again, I would like to remind you to move mindfully, using breath and awareness. It is also good to note that while our focus in this sequence has been the hips and hams in relation to the lower back, all of the postures demonstrated serve to benefit other parts of your body and overall system too. Yogic asana practice is intelligent, integrative and its effects are felt specifically as well as overall.