7 Yoga Poses to Increase Hip Flexor and Hamstring Flexibility.

Mallory Monahan

1. Crescent moon

Set-up. Start in a low lunge. Lower your back knee to your mat. Reach your fingertips high.

Deepen. With your exhales let your hips sink lower down toward the ground. After a few breaths you may want to walk your front foot out farther to intensify the sensation. As you release your hips, find stability by squeezing your inner thighs together and lifting your chest up as to not dump weight into your lower back.

Modify. If you feel pain in your back knee you can place your hands on your mat and lift it for a cow lunge. You can also tuck your back toes or place your knee on a rolled up mat or towel.

 

2. Half Splits

Set-up. From crescent moon, release your hands to your mat, lengthen your front leg and sit your hips back over your back heel. Keep hips lifted as to not cause a lot of flexion and tension in your back knee.

Deepen. On the inhale reach your chest and collarbone forward, lengthening the spine. On the exhale let your chest reach farther down toward your front thigh.

Modify. Feel free to put as much bend in your front knee as possible to bring the stretch into the middle of your front hamstring as opposed to the back of your knee.

 

3. Pyramid

Set-up. From half splits, enter your low lunge. Bring your back foot in a 12-18 inches so you can comfortably spin your back heel down.

Deepen. Lengthen your spine here and level your hips. Play with shifting the weight farther into your front foot to equalize the weight and bring the sensation to where you want it.

Modify. Place blocks on each side of your leg to whichever height you need and rest your hands on them.

 

4. Malasana

Set-up. Bring your back foot in to find a forward fold. Walk your feet out wide and squat down.

Deepen. Bring your hands to heart center and press your elbows into your knees.

Modify. If you find that your heels are lifting or this is too intense, either widen your stance or sit on a block.

 

5. Big toe pose

Set-up. From your forward fold, place your feet hip width distance. Bend your knees deeply and wrap your index and ring finger around your big toes.

Deepen. Inhale to lengthen and flatten your spine, exhale bend your elbows out wide and pull your chest toward your thighs.

Modify. To add a stretch for your calves, release one hand and roll to the outer edge of that foot.

 

6. Standing Big Toe Pose

Set-up. Come to a standing position. Pull your leg into your chest.

Deepen. Wrap your two first fingers around your big toe and extend your foot forward and hold for a few breaths. Then open your leg out side.

Modify. Keep your knee bent, bringing your hand to your knee or back of thigh. Add length to your leg as needed.

 

7. Seated Forward Fold

Set-up. Find a seat. Extend both legs out long.

Deepen. Sit up tall and sweep your fingertips high, with a long spin slowly fold over your legs, focusing on bringing your chest to thighs rather than nose to knees.

Modify. As in your half splits, bend your knees to adjust where you feel the sensation.