HAMSTRING STRENGTH SERIES
Hamstring Strengthening #1 + Pause and Suspend the Breath
This practice focuses on two things: (1) Hamstring strengthening so that we have strength as well as stretchiness in the backs of the legs, and (2) Feeling the pause between the inhale and the exhale. After we move through some reclined hamstring work, we move to a standing flow that works with suspending the breath for brief moments, along with some feel-good movement for the legs and hips. 2 light blocks (foam is preferable but optional) and a strap are helpful for this practice.
Hamstring Strengthening #2 + Play with Curiosity
This class complements the work in “Hamstring Strengthening #1” and incorporates some active stretching work (as opposed to passive stretching) in isometric holds to strengthen the hamstrings, and also the hip flexors. We start with a Reclined Sun Salutation flow and then move through a flow that includes a fun toe stretch + Downdog Split, a Lunge with a hamstring curl, Warrior 3 with a hamstring curl, Warrior 2, and Half Moon with, guess what, a hamstring curl! You’ll also get up and down with no hands (a fun and important skill to practice!) I invite you to PLAY in this practice with an attitude of curiosity to see what YOUR body and mind can do as you get stronger and build capacity. 2 blocks and a blanket will be helpful. Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #3 + Getting Stronger Through Intentional Calm
This is the 3rd class in a series on making our yogi hamstrings STRONG! We build on progressively more challenging options to the Hamstring Strengthening #1 practice, including some eccentric movement to ask our muscles to SLOW things down, some variations on how we place the feet and arms, and a exploration of the Yoga Standing Forward Fold, Uttanasana, at a wall to more fully engage the backs of the legs. All through this practice I invite you to notice if you are moving from a place of fear/worry, or a place of intentional calm. And I remind you that to get stronger and more resilient, we must feel safe. 🙂 This works for the body, and also for our mind and heart. So take it all in!! A blanket, strap, and 2 light blocks are recommended. Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #4 + Building Resiliency
The 4th practice in this series focused on strengthening the hamstrings, we’ll add some harder versions of these isometric holds, which may induce some shaky muscles! These obstacles make us stronger over time, so work where you can, and know that adding these progressions will do wonders for your hips and help support your low back. We’ll also do some preliminary variations on Tripod Headstand! Grab 2 blocks and a blanket/towel for this practice. Have fun, get strong, and feel the resilience of your body, your breath, and your mind.
Hamstring Strengthening #5 + Build Capacity from Where You Are
The 5th class in the series on strengthening the hamstrings, we add some progressively more challenging active work to get those leg muscles on board for great functional movement support. After this targeted work, move through a fun little flow that includes some core work, a single-leg balance pose, and a Supported Warrior 3. Finally, we visit some options for building up to a half handstand at the wall, or L-Pose/ Box Pose. In all of these segments of class, work where it’s doable and just challenging enough, as this is how we build capacity and get stronger. Relax in Legs up the Wall to let it all go!
Hamstring Strengthening #6 + Pace Yourself
Continued hamstring strengthening is the name of the game in this practice centered on pacing yourself: relaxing, then doing something challenging, and then resting again until you feel ready to do the next hard thing. This is the 6th class centered on getting those hamstrings STRONG for a well-cared for hip complex and low back support. You’ll need 2 blocks for this practice, and perhaps a blanket as well. Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #7 + May the 4th Be With you
This class includes some new hip flexor and hamstring strengthening movements to support you, and is the 7th in this excellent series. Filmed on May 4th (Star Wars Day…”may the 4th/force be with you!”), we play with following the movement of the breath and feeling the force in the legs and the energy in the whole body system. Our flow includes some core-focused rock-and-roll work from lying down to seated, practicing getting up off the floor in a half-squat position, Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Warrior 3, and a fun “spanking” entry into Revolved Half Moon with a Quad Stretch. We end in a Supported Bridge and then rest fully in the force of energy. You’ll need at least one block (ideally 2) and sliding surface (blanket/towel on hardwood or tile floor, or a slider/paper plate on carpet). Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #8 + Midline Stability
Get connected to a feeling of stability in the middle of the body (the spine and the entire canister of the torso), while we continue to practice moves that target the hamstrings for great full-body support. We play with several variations on Bridge Pose, including a “marching version,” while we attempt to keep the hips level. We flow through lunges and hamstrings stretches like Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits) and a Forward-Facing Triangle, and also play with rocking up from Happy Baby to a Straddle Boat Pose. Building strong support in the midline of the body equals opportunity for movement and mobility in the rest of the body, a nice metaphor for our current Shelter-in-Place holding. Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #9 + Small Deposits in the Bank
In this class, we revisit some of the hip flexor and hamstring strengthening work we did in the 7th class in this series, so you’ll have another chance to practice it! Putting “small deposits in bank” add up to a big investment and big transformation over time, so the more you give your body and nervous system this excellent input, the more resilient and aware you’ll feel! This sequence also features a rolling-up vinyasa, which is fun, a practice to rise into a lunge from a half squat/half seat, a lovely visit to Triangle Pose, lots of twists, a prep for Funky Dragonfly, and a Single-Leg Deadlift from Warrior 3. Your hips will thank you after this strengthening practice designed to develop better control over your body over time, which can translate to less discomfort and quieting of hip pain. You’ll need 2 blocks and a blanket/towel for a slidey floor or a paper plate/sliders for carpet. Enjoy!
Hamstring Strengthening #10 + Mindful Movement
Practice moving mindfully through poses that may be familiar to you AND some twists on poses that may be new to you. We start with a Reclined Sun Salutation series and then move into a cooling breath practice for hot days, the Sitali Breath. Next, we focus on some great variations on Bridge Pose to ask the hamstrings to get on board, and we bring that work into the rest of the flow to integrate the concepts learned in that activation into the body. You’ll practice a wonderful Twisted Upright Half Splits position, as well as a Diagonal Stretch, both of which ask that you recruit the legs to get a wonderful effect in the upper body. We also practice Buddha, Chair, Triangle and Half Moon in the flow. In many moments, I’ll invite you to let go of mental clutter and to drop into an intentional and mindful experience of the body and the breath. You’ll need a slidey surface (blanket/towel on hardwood or a paper plate/sliders on carpet) and also 2 blocks will be helpful.
Hamstring Strengthening #11 + Shift Your Perspective
Sometimes, we need to completely shift our perspective to see life from a different vantage point. Use this practice to practice this skill in action! You will probably not notice this, but this flow REVERSES much of the flow from the Hamstring Strengthening Flow #9 practice so you’ll get to experience it in a whole new way. We’ll revisit many of our now-familiar hamstring + hip flexor moves, and we’ll also do lots of twisting, ending with some playtime in Funky Dragonfly. 2 blocks will be helpful for this practice. Embrace what you’ve been avoiding, see what’s been unseen, and know that each of us humans does have a different perspective that needs to be heard and respected.
Hamstring Strengthening #12 + Repatterning
In this last class in the hamstring strengthening series, revisit those Bridge variations to see how far you’ve come. As you do this work and move through a flow, we’ll examine what patterns you may be falling into that you’re not aware of. Is a hip dropping? Are you collapsing somewhere? Is there a part of your body that needs to awaken? See how awakening those hamstrings can help you repattern new awareness into poses like Dancer’s, Crow Pose, squats, and even a Stag-Leg version of Headstand (a head-off-the-floor option is given). The point of all of this work is, yes, to strengthen our bodies, but also to see where the patterns are OFF the mat. Time to wake up and see the things that we may have been ignoring and start to repattern. Take the quality of your self-reflection through this embodied practice, and then ACT. Sliders/paper plates or a blanket/towel will be needed, as well as 2 blocks and a strap. Enjoy!