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Yoga Poses to Loosen Up Tight Hamstrings

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Downward Facing Dog

    Begin on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sits bones towards the ceiling. Reach heels back toward the mat. Drop head so that neck is long. Wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths. (If you want to pedal your feet out one at a time, alternately bending your knees in your down dog, that can be a nice hamstring opener as well.)

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Standing Single Leg Forward Bend

    Begin in down dog. Round right knee to nose and step right foot in between hands for a low lunge. If hamstrings are extra tight, place blocks under hands. Lift hips up and lengthen both legs. Hands stay on the ground or on blocks on either side of right leg. Spin back heel down so that foot is at a 45- degree angle and square hips. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths and then repeat with the left foot forward.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend

    Start standing. Step right foot out wide and parallel the outer edges of feet. Take a big inhale to engage navel to spine and reach arms up. Use exhale to hinge forward from hips—keeping a long spine—until hands come to the ground. If this is accessible for you, grab a hold of big toes with thumbs and forefingers (pictured). If that is not accessible for you, walk hands back in line with toes, finger tips facing the same way as the toes. Allow head to relax toward the ground. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Standing Split

    Begin in a standing forward bend with both hands on the ground. Transfer weight into left foot; lift right leg high. Point or floint toes towards the ceiling, and square hips as much as possible. Walk hands back in line with toes (on the floor or on blocks) and drop head. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths.

  • Runner's Lunge

    Begin in a low lunge with right foot forward, then release left knee down to the ground. Walk hands back as you reach hips back toward left heel and lengthen right leg, flexing right foot. Relax and fold forward over right thigh. If you need to place blocks under your hands, use them. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. (To find the tightest spot on your hamstring, turn the flexed toes of your lengthened leg left to right, and breathe there.)

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Reclined Hand to Foot Pose

    Begin lying on back. Hug right knee in toward chest. Either take hold of right big toe with right thumb and peace fingers in yogi-toe-lock, or grab the outer edge of right foot or thigh, or loop a strap around foot. Lengthen leg long, reach through heel, and gently pull foot in the direction of head. Relax left arm long on left side, palm face down. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths, then repeat on the left.

  • Heidi Kristoffer

    Seated Long Legged Forward Bend

    Begin seated with legs long, together and in front of you with fingertips tented on either side of legs. Take a big inhale to lengthen, and use exhale to engage navel to spine, lean torso forward, and reach hands forward, as far as feels good on your legs and lower back. If you can easily hold the outer edges of your feet, do that, or if you need to use a strap of towel to keep your spine long, hook that around your feet. Allow head to relax down towards legs. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths. (If your lower back is really tight, sit up on a yoga block or blanket to make this pose more about your hamstrings and less about your lower back.)


Heidi Kristoffer

Heidi Kristoffer is the creator and producer of Microsoft Bing Fitness Yoga & MSN Yoga, creator of CrossFlowX, wellness expert for multiple online platforms, and mama to baby twin girls.  More →

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