By Clare Chapman @primalposture
Stretching forms a part of most sports and fitness workouts. People often ask why hamstrings in particular are so resistant to change.
Despite even well-taught and regular stretching, hamstring tightness will be an ongoing issue if your everyday posture puts your pelvis and tail in a tucked under position. This shortens the distance and therefore the length of the muscles all the way down to their insertions around the knee. You then regularly stretch in a vain effort to correct this imbalance, without ever addressing its underlying cause. If stretching really was a solution, should we have to keep repeating it?
The woman in the picture shows how stretching with a tucked and fixed pelvis results in over-stretching her back and compressing the back of her neck. Better posture would allow her pelvis to rotate forward around her hip joints and straighten her spine. She would develop better hip mobility (and healthy, spacious joints), and also regain hamstring length. She would then also achieve this just by healthier everyday sitting and bending!
Notice too how this way of rounding forward bypasses the deep abdominal activation you get with good alignment, hunches the upper back and compresses the back of the neck.
Stretching should never mean poor positioning, straining and pulling. We can learn how best to release our muscles from watching animals, babies and young children – they stretch, but in an organic, natural way that helps to awaken muscles and deepen the breath, perhaps dispelling tension with a delicious yawn, too! When we do what is right for our bodies, muscle length and flexibility will start to come – naturally.
If you’re interested in finding out more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me: 07982 231317, www.gokhalemethod.com