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Hamstrings after Pregnancy

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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1117
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Hamstrings after Pregnancy Reply with quote

I was recently asked: I have a question regarding hamstring issues...I never overdid my yang practice, neither the yin, but since I stopped breastfeeding and all the hormones are back to normal (8 month ago) since then its my right hamstring, like super short. Before I could do the dragonfly, now I cant do it with the regular split but bring the legs quite much together. But when I hold the flesh up and towards the bone, I can move down. What could that be?

Welcome to your new body! Pregnancy is a time of changes, not just in your life but also in your body. While your hormones may be back to normal there are other more permanent changes that your body has gone through. It may be that some of these residual changes are showing up in your new body. Rather than remember how you used to be, why not consider starting over: adopt a beginner's mind to your yoga practice and explore what you can do now, and forget what you used to be able to do, or, worse, what you think you "ought to be able to do."

You state that your right hamstring has become "super short" - if that is true, take the time to lengthen it to its normal length, don't be in a hurry. However, there may be another consideration - your pelvis may have changed and this could affect your postures in a number of ways. There are always two reasons why we can't move to the degree we would like: either tension in the muscles and fascia; or compression. Compression occurs when the body hits the body. If your pelvis has changed and now your femur bones are hitting the hip socket in different ways, you may find that your range of motion has indeed changed, and this you will not be able to undo with your yoga practice. Sometimes compression is where the bones squeeze our tissues and that creates a blockage. In these cases it may be possible to pull some of that flesh out of the way. This sounds a bit similar to what you described. Your first activity should be to try to determine why you are not able to do what you did before: is it tension or compression? If it is tension - go to work and slowly, safely stretch it out. If it is compression, try to go around that point by modifying the pose, but if that doesn't work, accept that you have reached your physical limits for that pose.

It is very difficult to diagnose a problem over the web: best is to ask another teacher to watch you as you move through the poses. She may be able to spot some restrictions that you are missing. Combine this with your own internal awareness of what the poses feel like. Once you know what is stopping you, then you can develop a safe strategy for regaining lost mobility.

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