Dear Yoga Student,
My last hamstring post flooded my inbox,
Facebook, and Twitter pages with responses…
So let me get right into it and tell you how I fixed
my hamstrings (yes, I ended up pulling the left
ICE: This is helpful the first few days only. After
that, I find it totally pointless. Alternating ice/heat
is meant to increase circulation, but most of these
routines are prescribed by doctors who feel like
they need to have some advice for their patients who,
for the most part, don’t actually move except to grab
some bonbons from the freezer on commercial breaks…
… so yeah, ice it good and cold the first few days,
but after that, lose the ice.
DON’T STOP STRETCHING: Everyone I talked to
including yoga teachers told me to stop practicing
until it healed. There were two fundamental problems
(a) By that time, I was totally hooked on yoga and
hated missing even one day of practice
(b) While resting did help it heal, as soon as I’d do
anything, my hammy’s would flare up just like before
*Don’t get me wrong here. If you absolutely quit doing
anything and “lay flat” for 2 months, your hamstring
will heal. It’ll heal fast and hard and tight, but as soon
as soon as you try to use it again, it’s going to hurt.
FORGET MASSAGES: I know I’ll get hate mail for saying
this, but I’ve pulled a bunch of muscles (being stupid mostly)
and massages never helped. They’ll talk to you about
“breaking up the scar tissue” and “balancing the energy,”
but honestly, digging your thumbs into a bruised hamstring
proved counter-productive for me.
NO HOT YOGA: The heat along with stretching can make
even the most bruised-up tissues feel strong and limber.
It’s a weird thing, but if you pull your hamstring, stay out
of the heat for at least 2-4 weeks. You won’t know your
limits, and you’ll wake up in a serious world of hurt.
NO JOGGING: Jogging is pretty tough on a bruised hamstring
so don’t do it. Walking is good though.
CYCLE & SWIM: Both cycling and swimming are great
for gentling strengthening your hamstrings, and you
want to start this within a week of injury. On a bike,
just cruise around (nothing hardcore). In the pool,
get a kick board and do laps. That up/down motion
is great on the backs of the legs.
FORGET THE ‘EXPERTS': People go to doctors looking
for quick fixes and cures, not prevention or long-term
health plans. It’s as much our fault as it is theirs,
but just remember that no ultrasound machine or
sports therapy session even comes close to a very
conscious yoga practice (at least from what I’ve seen).
POWER YOUR QUADS: Your quads (fronts of legs) are
the opposing muscles to the hamstrings, so you want
to engage them as hard as you can every time you’re
folding forward. Sometimes, it can be helpful to literally
grab your quads and squeeze them tight to feel the
strength balancing out the weakness.
BEND YOU KNEES: With a slightly bent knee, your quads
automatically engage a little thus protecting your hamstring.
Micro-bend your knees in all your forward bends (even
if your teacher yells at you:)
HEALING TIME: It all depends on how bad it is. A small
strain might heal in 1-3 weeks, a pull could take 2-3 months,
and a true tear usually will take 6-18 months to fully heal.
Sounds depressing, I know, but if you follow the routine
above, after about 4-6 weeks, you can do everything you
did before, you’ll just “feel” your hamstring and will have
to back off to make sure you don’t go backwards with your
SUPPLEMENTS & MEDICINE: People do get steroid shots
and things, but I wouldn’t go that route. As soon as you
can, get off all painkillers as well. Supplements were really
helpful for me. Here’s what I used:
Pineapple (one whole one per day) – Very high in the enzyme
bromelain that helps inflammation and tissue regeneration.
MSM -2000-3000 mg/day (same dosage as in YOAGBODY).
Be careful as crappy brands will give you terrible gas and
bloating. In my formula, we cut it with Vit C and Greens
for maximum effect.
Vit C - 500 mg buffered so it’s easier to digest.
Green Juice – Just cause it’s always good;)
Spouted Rice Protein - This one is new to me, and very
helpful. Difficult to find, but 15-30 grams per day is great.
I’m creating a special YOGA PROTEIN formula in about 4
weeks, so I’ll give you more info then.
Yoga, like any kind of physical practice, is going to
open you up to injuries. The truth is, injuries are
really rare, and as long as you take care of yourself,
they often end up helping your body to balance itself out
in the long run.
That’s a whole other discussion we can get into later…
YOGABODY Naturals LLC
Nutritional Supplement for Yoga Students
p.s. Let me know how you fixed your hamstring…
I’m always curious to learn new tricks. Post your
experience down below:
p.p.s. Seriously, say ‘no’ to Advil.