A literal “pain in the butt” (injury to the hamstring tendon) is one of the most common yoga injuries. Often in yoga classes we stretch, pull and tug on our hamstrings mercilessly, which can lead to hamstring injury. I know, I had three of them over the years. The funniest (or saddest, however you choose to look at it) thing is that in our efforts to heal the hamstring injury (by stretching it), we end up re-injuring it again. This sort of cycle can go on for a very lo-o-ong time. Let’s stop the madness!
Yoga for hamstring pain
Below is a short 3-stage yoga practice that you can use to gradually heal your injured hamstrings. It takes time and patience. You can also use this practice to release chronic tension in your hamstrings.
HOW TO USE IT: When the injury happens, first you need to leave your hamstrings alone (for at least a week). After that you can begin the recovery process.
Stage 1: Begin to engage. Here you will gently engage your hamstrings and surrounding musculature (especially the glutes) to increase circulation to the injured area. Once you become comfortable with those movements, you can add stage 2.
Stage 2. Begin to stretch. Here you will continue to work with increasing circulation to your hamstrings and glutes, and will also add some mild stretching. Don’t get too ambitions, please, it’s counterproductive. It might take weeks to become comfortable with those movements. Once it happens, add stage 3.
Stage 3. Begin to restore the range of motion. Here the movements become stronger, so proceed with caution. Take your time, breathe deep and don’t force anything. Once you become comfortable with those movements, you should be able to resume your normal exercise/yoga routine.
Please keep in mind – there is no magic bullet! Watch closely how this practice affects your body, modify if necessary. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!