Improve Your Flexibility With Yoga

If you ask people why they exercise, most will stay to stay healthy, keep fit, or because it makes them feel good. Not a lot will mention flexibility, but it’s a key part of maintaining your health and avoiding injury, especially as you age. The stretching you do in yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility. It’s a commonly held misconception that you have to already be flexible to do yoga. In fact, the opposite is true: doing yoga regularly is a sure way to become more flexible. If that’s your goal, here are some poses that target major muscles groups that tend to get tight from sitting for long periods or even from other types of exercise, like running. Staying in the poses for several minutes is the way to get a good stretch. Many times you can feel several different phases of opening as you stay in a pose for longer. Don’t expect overnight changes, however. For best results, do your stretches daily. The following poses are intended to give you some options to fit your current level of flexibility.

Step to Forward Bend

From Downward Dog, exhale and slightly bend your knees; lift your right knee forward in order to place your right foot in line with your hands and then your left foot. On an inhalation, keep your back straightened and lift up your torso to the point that your fingertips barely touch the floor. Exhale and lower your torso to put your face close to your legs. Stay for several breaths. To come out, inhale and lift up your torso and arms at the same time put your palms together over your head, then exhale and go back to Mountain Pose. Notes: Fold from your hips but not your waist. Keep your legs and back straightened all the time. Benefits: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Stimulates the liver and kidneys.

01

Extended Side Angle Pose

Stand in Mountain Pose and separate your feet 3 shoulder-width apart with your heels aligned. Turn your left foot to point your toes to your left side while keep your right toes pointing to your front. Inhale, extend both your arms to the sides into a T position with your palms facing down. Exhale and bend your torso to the left while bending your left knee to a 90 degree angle; bring your left hand down and place it onto the floor by the outside of your left foot while extend your right arm up with fingers pointing toward the ceiling. In hale, further extend your right arm over your head. Exhale and turn your head to put your nose close to your upper arm. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths. Notes: Move your right foot away from the left until the left thigh is parallel to the floor and the left shin is perpendicular to the floor. Actively extend your right leg but don’t let your torso drop toward the floor. Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles. Increases stamina.

02

Seated Forward Fold

Sit in Staff Pose with legs stretched out in front of you. Keep your legs closed together and press actively through your heels. In hale and lift your arms up toward the sky; exhale and fold forward from your hip joints while keeping the front torso long. Take the sides of your feet and reach your lower belly to your thighs. Open your elbows out to the sides and loosen your back muscles. Stay for 5 breaths. To come up inhale and straighten your arms, lift through your fingers to guide your torso upright; exhale and bring your hands down by your sides. Notes: Never force yourself into the forward bend. Instead, bend to a state you can keep your back from rounding. As you inhale, slightly lift and lengthen the front torso; as you exhale, release deeper into the pose with your abs muscles pulled in. Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings. Improves digestion.

03

Downward Dog

From Upward Dog, exhale and lift up your knee caps while straightening your legs to extend the sitting bones toward the ceiling. With arms actively pushing the floor, lengthen your tailbone and feel your lower back is fully stretched. Push your thighs backward and press your heels down to the floor. Keep your upper thighs slightly turned inward. Fully contract your abs and narrow the front pelvis. Feel your weight is evenly transferred from your arms to your legs. Notes: Your legs should be parallel to each other. Beginner can also lightly lift up both heels while feeling intense pain. Always relieve pressure on your wrists by pushing the floor with your arms, not your hands. Feel your limbs, back and neck fully stretched. Keep your head down between your upper arms but do not let it hang. Benefits: This asana helps enhance concentration, accumulating enough energy for more complicated postures. It’s the best transitional asana following up Upward Dog. Strengthens your ankles to tone your legs; relieves backache and lengthen your abdominal muscles. Helps you regain vitality by a blood supply to the head.

04

 

Outcomes
-Stretches your body and loosens up muscles.
-Refreshes yourself both physically and mentally.
-Tightens your body shape and loses extra weight.
-Releases your stress effectively and makes you look younger
-Increases blood flow and boosts your immunity system.
Interestingly, most people have a false impression that yoga only suits for the flexible group. Actually, yoga is a beneficial exercise well-suited for everybody. Yoga is not a competitive sport but an individual activity. Different postures aim to stretch your body and improve flexibility. Stretch your body on a daily routine then gradually, you will be surprised by the fact that how much more flexible you have become. In short, yoga is for everyone.
We are born with flexibility but our body dehydrates and stiffens with age. You may wonder why yoga can improve flexibility. First, yoga helps you move muscles and joints through their complete range. In specifics, it stimulates your joints to produce a tissue lubricant that can smooth your moves. Besides, regular yoga practices would help you rebuild muscle memory and hence, make your body younger in the long run.
Some Tips:
1.Before stretching, relax your mind. During practice, balance your breathing.
2.When you feel a sudden fit of pain, slow down your pace.
3.Practicing in a warm and cozy environment is highly recommended.
Above all, yoga is a long-term exercise. Give yourself a little time and patience, and then you will get addicted to the charm of yoga. Just remember, have fun and enjoy yourself. Beautiful change is on your way!

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