I recently received this email:
Hi Bernie, would appreciate any advice you can give. I overdid things running abt a year ago, between that and aerobics, not stretching, not resting etc... My legs would not let me run anymore without pain. Felt it in the site point area and groin area. I have been foam rolling and doing yoga for abt a year at home and in a yoga class when pssble. I have been getting allot better, but still if attempting dragon pose, although my posture is good and lifted, toes up etc... my legs just don't want to seem to release. I have been really trying to work the stretch called frog and working on the hip flexors and making sure they are released. There just feels like they are steel cables in there in spite of all of the work this past year. I am wondering if incorporating more bolsters would help at all. If u can offer any suggestions for encouraging release of the adductors and/or hamstrings, I would sure appreciate it. Blessings!
Sorry to hear about your running related injuries, but it good to hear that yoga has been helping. You mentioned pain in your groins and hamstring attachment sites. You didn’t describe the nature of the pain, so I am going to have to make an assumption: I assume this was the burning type of pain often accompanying tendon strains and tears.
Tendon injuries do take a long time to heal and sometimes the only way they can heal is to be left alone. Unfortunately that means zero tolerance
for any movements or postures that create any pain at all there. I know from personal experience that, for a hamstring tendon tweak, it can take up to a year for the tissue to heal fully, and if you keep stressing it, you may be undoing all the healing that just took place. In my case, I had to avoid flexion at the pelvis for many months before the pain would subside. This may not be what you want to hear, but if nothing else is working, this may be the best medicine for you.
However! I do have some other suggestions before you go to zero tolerance. First - anti-imflammatory work. When the tissues are damaged, they get inflamed, which is great in the short term, to fix up any infections, etc, but not so good in the long term. If your tender areas are inflamed, the internal pressure in the area can keep blood flow away from where it is needed. I am not suggesting you take anti-imflammatories like Advil et al, but rather try Earthing. Read this article
to see how simple this is. It does work and has no side-effects, other than making you healthier everywhere else too.
Once the pain is no longer present, now is the time to work on releasing those tight areas. You didn’t get stiff in the adductors or hamstrings overnight, and you are not going to get loose overnight either. Give it time, lots of time. If your goal is increased range of motion in the legs, Yin Yoga is going to provided it more quickly than yang forms of yoga. Start with the Long-legged Butterfly
: this will work both the adductors and hamstrings. Don’t just do this for a few minutes, but start to live on your floor at home: sit in Butterfly when you read, when you watch TV, when you eat (eat at your coffee table!). Every five minutes or so, stretch one leg out to the side for Half-Butterfly
and stay there for a few minutes before switching sides and going back to the full Butterfly. Be patient and when it becomes too much, take a break and crawl onto the couch. But as soon as you can, get back on the floor.
Sure, use bolsters (maybe under the knees) and make sure you are sitting on a pillow or cushion. Be where you are comfortable enough to stay there for a while, but make sure you do feel something in the legs. Let us know how it goes.