Everybody is susceptible to tight hamstrings, from professional athletes to soccer moms. People who spend long hours sitting at a desk or who have rigorous training schedules can especially benefit from a “hammie” stretch or two (or three or four).
Raise your hand if you’re sitting down. Now raise your hand if you’re wearing shoes that have a heel height of an inch or more (running shoes and men’s dress shoes count).
Hand still in the air? Chances are, your hamstrings are tight. Really tight. Which means you’re more prone to damage in the knee and hip joints, pelvic floor disorders and low back pain.
What do these two seemingly unrelated things (your shoe choice and the likelihood you’ll be sitting most of the day) have to do with your hammies? Here are a couple basic things you need to know to connect the dots:
If your hips are tight, it makes sense that you increase the likelihood of injuring your knees. Running, jumping, pivoting and acrobatic endzone catches or goal shots put a lot of pressure on the hips.
Let’s stop and think for a moment: If you get hit on the football field, for example, the energy of the body hitting you has to be absorbed somewhere in your body. And if your hips lack suppleness and don’t give in to this energy at all, then the energy will go to the point of least resistance — the very vulnerable knee joint.
A flexible hip will not always avoid a devastating knee injury, but it will help a lot! So let’s talk about keeping the hips open and a safe for long life for your knees.
Practice yoga with Chrissy Carter’s Chaturanga Vinyasa Flow video on GaiamTV.com.
It is impossible to know hope until one has experienced hopelessness — that feeling of suffocating permanence, as if you will be forever trapped in your present situation. In a place of hopelessness, all feels irrevocably lost. We harden and brace ourselves for permanent pain in the same way that we gather and store reserves in preparation for a long, hard winter. It’s as if the shutters have been closed and all the lights turned off. Lost in the darkness, we succumb to avidya (ignorance), the belief that our finite experience is all-pervasive and interminable. Helpless, hapless and hopeless, it is impossible to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel, and we start to lose sight of the big picture.
But in these times, hope can be a light in the darkness, filtering through the slats in the shutters, shifting the shadows in our dark room from ominous to promising. Suddenly and against all odds, we can find compassion for ourselves in the face of suffering.
Setting a goal to run a marathon is life altering and monumental. But the training leading up to your marathon may be filled with blisters, mental challenges, muscle fatigue, weakness and injury. Yoga can help you:
The NYC marathon and many other races are approaching. Here are my top six yoga moves for runners — from weekend warriors to serious marathoners — to do daily before training, after a workout and, most importantly, after the big day.