Learn Yoga to Improve Flexibility
Edited by HealthNut, Eng, VisiHow
As well as it is building strength, yoga is generally improving flexibility and blood circulation. However, there are some poses that are particularly effective for stretching troublesome areas, which people tend to focus on. Improving flexibility is one of the most popular reasons that people start practicing yoga aside from the spiritual benefits. Improving flexibility is vital for avoiding injury as you get older as well as for maintaining general good health and blood flow.
Age and gender can affect flexibility, although that shouldn't put you off! Practicing yoga or certain poses regularly can quickly improve your abilities as well as give your body time to rest and meditate during the poses, as they require focusing on your breath.
If you practice the poses shown below at least 3 or 4 days a week, you will notice significant improvement in your flexibility, general health, and posture within just a few weeks! Hold each position for 5-10 breaths, although do not hold the pose for longer than you are physically able to. One sign that you overexerted yourself is that you're unable to come out of the pose slowly and with dignity.
Click the titles for step-by-step instructions for how to do each pose!
What equipment will you need to get started?
- A yoga mat.
- Some stretchy yoga trousers or leggings
- A comfortable t-shirt or vest top to allow maximum movement or comfort.
- A yoga block or bolster.
- A yoga strap.
- 1Forward Fold -- Uttanasana. Forward Fold is probably the most obvious pose for stretching your hamstrings. It's often practiced after other exercises like jogging or squats to loosen and lengthen the muscles. Maintaining strong, stretchy hamstrings is vital for avoiding lower back, calf and thigh pain. When doing Uttanasana, make sure to keep a very small bend in your knees to avoid putting too much pressure on your joints. There are many variations, some of which allow you to hold onto your big toes, elbows or ankles, each offering varying degrees of difficulty.Advertisement
- 2Triangle Pose -- Utthita Trikonasana. It is best to start practicing this pose with a yoga block or bolster to help create more space between your shoulders and legs. As well as helping to stretch your hamstrings, Utthita Trikonasana is especially good for improving your balance and posture.Advertisement
- 3Reclined Big Toe Pose -- Supta Padangustasana. Supta Padangustasana is the perfect pose for runners, as it targets the hamstrings and calves. When you bring yoga awareness to the pose, your body becomes better at aligning itself and knowing how to avoid overdoing it. This pose is also great for aiding back pain relief, as it requires flat-back posture. Once you have practiced the forward fold, you can also just grip your big toes instead of using a yoga strap, but a yoga strap is recommended for beginners.
- 1Pigeon -- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. This pose can be very challenging for those with very tight hips. You can use the yoga block or bolster, or even a folded towel, to support your hips as you gradually sink deeper into the pose. Eventually, you will reach the mat, but you should continue to support yourself with props not to overexert yourself. It's especially important that you take this pose slowly, which you can deepen further by slowly doing a front bend over your front leg. This opens up your hips more as well as engages your shoulders and arms, which also helps to improve posture, as it is important that you keep your hips square throughout.
Shoulders and Back:
- 1Mountain Pose -- Tadasana. Although it is considered a simple and basic resting pose, you should master Tadasana before even beginning to attempt other poses, as it realigns you with your core, improves posture and helps you to maintain balance both physically and mentally.
- 2Chair Pose -- Utkatasana. Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, is a strength-building pose more than anything. Although it's a good pose to practice when doing Forward Fold or other hamstring stretches. You can increase the intensity of the pose by putting the yoga block between your knees and squeezing it as you sit into the pose.
- 3Eagle -- Garudasana. The Eagle pose, also known as Garudasana, is a pose perfect for improving your flexibility and your balance. It can be quite a challenging pose; so, take it slowly and try not to rush into or fall out of it. The idea of the Eagle is that you find space and length by basically tying yourself up in knots and finding Trataka, or the yogi stare, which involves finding peace and meditation by fixating on one small point to keep balance.