To face our fears is to unveil the ego’s hold and surrender to life’s purpose. In order to arrive at conscious living is to take steps towards that which we run away from. The hamstring muscles are the key to unlocking fear.
Health issues relating to the Hamstrings
Most of the Western population comment on their ‘tight’ hamstrings and may include that this contributes to lower back problems. The body spent sat on a chair for several hours a day results in the hamstrings in a constantly shortened state that pulls on the sit bones, which affects the sacrum and into the back.
Most hamstring injuries are classified as a strain or tear in full or part of the muscle fibres. You might obtain this type of injury as an athlete or HIIT training with explosive movements like squat jumps onto boxes or sprinting. However, knee problems can arise from hamstring imbalance or the inability to perform the separate muscle functions.
Emotional issues related to the hamstrings are fear-based. These are primal movement muscles for running when in fear as they propel your body to walk and run. Physical pain and issues of the hamstrings often connect to holding fear in the body.
At 14 years old I almost pulled my biceps femoris off the ischial tuberosity and was left with an unstable pelvis during my growth phase. At this time I was also my most unstable emotionally with my final suicide attempt – I feared life itself.
Anatomy of the Hamstrings
The back of each leg has three muscles that connect the lower pelvis at the ischial tuberosity – the sit bones – and one head onto the femur itself, to the top of the tibia (bottom leg bone) – semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris.
The three muscles work together to bend the knee to lift the foot off the ground in walking and running. In particular they lift the sit bones up and back which leans the pelvis forward when standing and propels movement forwards. They support the pelvis in squats, bending and lifting, so are vital for squatting over a toilet.
The nerves that cross the hamstrings all originate in the lumbar and sacral complexes, which is why low back pain can be triggered with hamstring issues.
Functional stabilisation around the pelvis is vital for low back and leg health in everyday living such as getting out of chairs, walking and staircase climbing.
The hamstrings are connected throughout the Superficial Back Line of the body’s fascia connective tissue. The notable connection is at the sacrotuberous ligament which connects the biceps femoris inserting on the ischial tuberosities to the sacrum. This is mostly felt when ‘rolling the sit bones up and back’ as it shortens the back line and takes the pelvis into extension. Restriction in the fascia here can have a large impact on the health of the low back.
Issues that arise in the Superficial Back Line include heel spurs, knee destabilisation, entire spine rigidity, and up into the occiput and across the scalp for head and jaw tension.
This is why bending the knees has such a significant effect during a forward fold rather than the hamstring muscles alone. When the knees bend there is less pull on the fascia into the low back that can cause discomfort.
Energetics of the Hamstrings
All three muscles cross over the root chakra or Muladhara, and the knee chakras. This root system is connected to our basic need of survival and forward movement in life.
Energetic blocks in this system can exhibit in emotional and mental issues of fear-based emotions. These include an inability to move forward, feeling stuck in life, depression, focus on grief and loss, aggressiveness, feelings of restlessness, insecurity, or overwhelmed.
This chakra is about connecting to earth and the right to be alive. It is important to be present and take time to be in the physical environment, especially nature. Being physically active is important to this chakra as it is all about the ability to manifest in this lifetime.
As a sufferer of depression with flexible hamstrings the impact of emotions was the clue for my energetic work. In long-held hamstring stretches the emotion of anger welled up from deep within me rooted from my fear of living to my fullest joy. I ‘sat’ into my hamstrings and did not energise from grounding properly. I did not propel myself forwards in life. In strengthening my hamstrings I discovered more emotional freedom and began to heal my depression.
Consciously connecting to your hamstrings
Humans evolved though using the ‘Fear Response’ and this resulted in human domination of earth. This necessary part of human evolution is no longer needed for many people, who live in fairly safe environments. The ego is the necessary human mind and perception of self in this existence. A part of it’s function is fear to keep the body safe. The consciousness shift in society today is a result of this changing world.
To know your hamstrings is to know when the ego is at play and shed some fear. Train the hamstrings in a balanced manner to remain grounded in this lifetime, but face the fears that limit manifesting the dream life. Sometimes when a fear arises emotionally, working on the physical body can ease the journey.
Gentle walking is vital to a healthy hamstring complex. When walking the back leg must fully extend before the knee bends on the swing through phase of the step. This will help the pelvis extend back properly and provide greater forward motion. Full stride steps in walking and running will create emotional support of forward momentum that is stable and secure.
Stability training on a BOSU and lunge work is a great way to build hamstring strength and stability at their full range of motion.
Enjoy the video practice above for a taster of consciously connecting your hamstrings to a purposeful life.
IF YOU NEED SOMETHING MORE TAILORED TO YOU TO BALANCE YOUR HAMSTRINGS CONTACT US FOR AT HOEM TRAINING.
Lengthen to open
A full range of healthy movement in the hamstrings enables open and appropriate responses to life. When in a constant shortened state the body is preparing to run from every situation, the nervous system is on a false alert. A part of calming the nervous system is hamstring stretches in a slow manner.
When taking hamstring stretches ensure that the knee is straightened by pulling up the quadriceps. Do not ‘lock’ into the joint itself, but use the muscles of the thigh to extend the knee for a full stretch into the back of the thigh belly.
A simple assessment of healthy open hamstrings is whether a forward fold can be done with the sacrum level on both sides.
TRY THIS VIDEO SEQUENCE TO OPEN THE HAMSTRINGS AND FASCIA AROUND THEM FOR A FLUID FEELING BACK BODY.
Strains & Tears
Often a sign of over-reaching or moving too soon. Mild strains of the hamstring can take a few days to heal, but if you feel a ‘popping’ there may be a more serious injury that should be checked by a medical professional. This could take several weeks or months. Follow the R.I.C.E. treatment in the event of such an injury – Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate the injured leg.
Use this as an opportunity to go slower and prepare properly for facing fears. Injuries can bring up security fears of not being ‘fully functional’ or ‘independent’.
It is important to notice abundance around you at this time, connect with nature and feelings of security regardless of health.
PHYSICAL REST IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO START A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE. OUR SAFE SPACE MEDITATION WILL ROOT INTO FEELINGS OF SECURITY.