Yin Yoga for the Hamstrings

Sarah Jane Steele
Instructor Sarah Jane Steele
Average: 4.8 (51 votes)
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Tight hamstrings are common among many people, including athletes, office workers and anyone who doesn't stretch regularly. Chronically tight hamstrings can also cause many issues, such as lower back pain, leg soreness and even neck pain. Let Sarah-Jane help you release those tight legs so you can find the relief you are looking for.

Equipment: Blankets
Style: Yin Yoga, Yoga for Back Care


Rosie102 3 weeks ago

Hi Sarah Jane,
Thank you so much for this beautiful class!
Is it okay to that I feel a stretch/release in my quads as well (especially in the last position)?
Warm Regards, Rosie

Sarah Jane Steele 3 weeks ago

Hello Rosie. Thank you for taking this class! By last position do you mean the resting position with a blanket or bolster under the knees? If so then, yes, lying suppine with the knees flexed would gently stretch the psoas, quads and hip flexors. If you mean the half hamunasana before that or half split please let me know. Its possible you would feel that in the quad depending on what action you are taking with the position. Looking forward to hearing from you. As a general rule, there are key areas you should/would feel the stretch in a yin posture which I outline, however, it's absolutely fine if you feel the stretch elsewhere as long as you're in a safe alignment for your joints and it's not a painful , or stretch. Thank you again for your view and your question.

Rosie102 2 weeks ago

Hello Sarah Jane, thank you heaps for getting back to me, and for the excellent and thorough answers to my question!
I was referring to the half hamunasana. I think you're right that it is the way I was positioning myself in the pose that was making me feel the stretch in my quads. It felt okay at the time but I did notice that they felt a little sore later. You offer excellent and clear advice in the class, so next time I do it I will listen to and follow exactly what you say!
Thanks again so much for your beautiful work.

lec 11 months ago

Hi Sarah-Jane: Terrific and helpful video!
However, I am pigeon-toed. As you may know this is bone torsion, though muscle follows bone. So when you recommend turning the pinky toes out to maximize a hamstring stretch, this is specifically something I am not supposed to do, as it puts me at risk of injury.
Any thoughts? This comes up periodically in yoga in various postures.

Sarah Jane Steele 11 months ago

Hello Lec. Also, when we are in the wide legged seated pose, or Konasana, you can again elevate your hips and if you in-toe it's ok, just work on creating a wider V with your legs and arking your tailbone back and letting your torso come forward to get the inner thigh and hamstring stretch. Still flexing the feet is helpful for lengthening the calf and hamstring muscles and well as offering relief to the ligaments around the ankles and knees.

please also keep in mind that myself and some of the other teachers on the site have practiced for more than 15 years and our asana practice might look overdone, not intentionally but because over time we have gained quite alot of flexibility, even still, I have lots of limitations- so take your time and please never push your body into pain.

Sarah Jane Steele 11 months ago

Hello! Thank you for your comment. I took a bit of time to consult my Anatomy of Hatha Yoga book to understand your torsion a bit better....what I came up with is likely what your physio therapist or doctor might reccommend which is...not turning out. I think for positions like squat you can absolutely internally rotate while doing it. Do you have a bolster or firm pillow If so sit on it so your sitting bones are at the edge of it and with your feet planted on the ground and knees bent get them as wide as you can while keeping your toes straight or letting them naturally go inwards. You could also see if rolling up a towel and placing it under your heels helps so you can eventually try the squat posture in a full expression. YOu can still absolutely stretch the hamstrings without turning out your feet. Elevating the hips above the knees in seated forward folds will help this. Does this assist you somewhat? Many yoga postures do not require turning out the feet, in fact many keep toes together and heels out or toes and feet straight. There are just some folks, namely women, with different shaped pelvises and most yoga postures were designed for men so I often try and give options for both sexes. Thank you for asking your question. I hope my answer serves you a bit.

lec 11 months ago

Yes, exactly, I only turn out when comfortable, I don't push a turnout at all. Yes I have a firm pillow, and this helps. The squat you mention isn't in this video - I was really responding to the instructions at a certain point in Saddle Pose, when you talk about getting more of a hamstring stretch with feet outwards. So thanks for consulting your book and giving me a helpful response!

Sarah Jane Steele 11 months ago

Yes, I know squat is not in the video but it's one that is particularly inaccessible by folks with Pigeon Toe so it was more just a helpful hint. SOunds like you know how to listen to your body and modify. See you on the digital mat! Sj

lindsaymescher 1 year ago

I liked this class and can see how it'd be beneficial but I have a pinch in my upper-mid back and this class really triggered it. My hips feel open though!

ama1031 1 year ago

Thank you for this amazing stretching and centering practice. I was the perfect amount of time and stretch. I very much liked the background music and your calming voice. I feel so much better!