Reclining Leg Pose–A Variation for Healthy Joints
Rather than the traditional hamstring stretch where the leg is at a 90 degree angle, try threading a strap around the ball of your foot, and bringing your knees in line with one another. As you flex your foot, activate your toes and ankle, bringing your foot towards you. The knee joint will naturally start to open and gravity will allow pressure to come down into the hip. By straightening the arms while holding the strap, the elbow joints also begin to open and the hands strengthen.
This variation stimulates the joints rather then stretching the muscles. By putting pressure on the joints, we move synovial fluid, flush blood, lymph and oxygen, recirculating and detoxifying our entire system. Working at this level of the body stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, so that the whole body can rest, recover and restore.
For the flexible body that can easily have the leg at 90 degrees and doesn't feel much in the hamstring muscle, bringing the knees in line with each other will create more sensation, feedback and stimulation in the joints. For the more rigid body, increased flexibility will be a natural by-product of the joints starting to open.
This pose helps bring both the flexible and rigid body closer to true balance.