Looking for Ways to Boost Your Flexibility? Try These 8 Yoga Poses

Looking for Ways to Boost Your Flexibility?

Flexibility is one of the key elements of good physical health. Over time, though, your body may lose flexibility due to aging, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, or improper posture and movement habits.

If you’re ready to boost your flexibility, regularly practicing yoga, whether at a class or at home, may be one of the best ways to increase mobility in your muscles and joints.

Along with boosting your flexibility, practicing specific yoga poses may also help you build muscle strength and reduce feelings of stress or anxiety.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of increasing your flexibility and walk you through the best yoga poses for improving flexibility in your back, hips, core, neck, and shoulders.

Increasing your flexibility is good for you in many ways. Some of the most important benefits include:

 

  • Greater range of motion. Increased flexibility makes it easier to move your joints in a normal direction with less effort.
  • Less muscle tension. Stretching your muscles can help release tension and tightness, making it easier to move.
  • Better posture. Tight, tense muscles can lead to muscle strain and poor posture.
  • Less pain. When your muscles aren’t tense, there’s usually less stress and pressure on certain parts of your body and, as a result, less pain in your back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Lower risk of injuries. Greater strength and flexibility in your muscles and joints may make you less prone to injuries.
  • Less stress. When tension is released in your muscles, it may help you feel more relaxed. In turn, that may lower your stress levels.
  • Improved circulation. Better blood flow may help your muscles recover more quickly after a workout and also prevent stiffness.

 

If you’re interested in trying a yoga class to increase your flexibility, Hatha, Vinyasa, or Yin styles are all good options.

If you’re short on time, or would prefer to practice some yoga poses at home, the following poses can be especially helpful for stretching many of your major muscles and boosting flexibility.

With each pose, go at your own pace. Focus on how the pose feels instead of how it looks. You can repeat each pose as many times as you like, as long as it doesn’t feel painful or too difficult to do correctly.

1. Intense side stretch (Parsvottanasana)

This forward bend stretches your spine, hips, and legs. It also benefits your posture, balance, and digestion.

To do this pose:

  • Stand with your left foot in front facing forward and your right foot back, turning out your toes at a slight angle.
  • Square both of your hips to face forward.
  • Place your hands on your hips.
  • Bend at your hips to fold your torso forward, tucking your chin into your chest.
  • Drop your hands down to the floor, or place them on a block.
  • Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Switch the position of your feet and do the opposite side.

2. Head to knee (Janu Sirsasana)

 

Suitable for all levels, this pose helps improve flexibility in your back, hips, and thighs. It also increases blood flow in the lower abdomen and can be a great stress reliever.

To do this pose:

  • Sit on the ground or on a yoga mat.
  • Extend your right leg, and press your left foot into the inside of your thigh.
  • Inhale and raise your arms overhead.
  • Exhale and bend at your hips to fold forward toward your outstretched leg.
  • Place your hands on the floor, or hold on to your outstretched leg or foot.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Switch legs and do the opposite side.

3. Cat-Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)

 

The fluidity of this pose works well for improving mobility and flexibility in your core, neck, shoulders, and spine.

To do this pose:

  • Start this pose on all fours, making sure your wrists are beneath your shoulders and your knees are beneath your hips.
  • Keeping your weight balanced evenly across your body, inhale as you allow your belly to fall toward the floor. Raise your chest and chin as your belly moves downward.
  • Exhale as you press into your hands to round your spine up toward the ceiling, tucking your chin into your chest as you do so.
  • Continue this movement for 1 minute.

4. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

 

This intermediate level pose helps stretch many of the muscles that are used when sitting. It can help increase flexibility in your core muscles as well as the muscles in your back, chest, glutes, and legs.

Avoid doing this pose if you have pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulders, or back.

To do this pose:

  • Lie on your stomach with your arms alongside your body.
  • Bend your knees and reach back with your hands to grasp the outside of your ankles.
  • Try to lift your shoulders and chest off the ground if you can, but don’t push beyond what’s comfortable.
  • Keep your head looking forward while taking long, deep breaths.
  • Try to hold for up to 30 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat 1 to 2 times.

5. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana) 

 

Ideal for all levels, this pose helps lengthen your spine, open your hips, and build muscle strength. It may also help alleviate sciatica.

To do this pose:

  • Kneel on the floor on your left knee. Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the ground in front of you.
  • Lengthen through your spine and out the crown of your head.
  • Lift up your torso and arms. Or, you can extend your arms to the side, perpendicular to the floor.
  • Gently push into your right hip.
  • Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Alignment tip: Prevent your front knee from moving past your ankle. Maintain square hips by drawing your back hip forward.

6. Wide-angle seated forward bend (Upavistha Konasana)
This forward bend will help open up your hips and low back while also boosting flexibility in your hamstrings and calves.To go deeper into the create, you’ll sit on the sting of a cushion or block to tilt your pelvis forward.To do this pose:
  • Sit on the ground along with your legs open as way wide as they’ll go.
  • Extend your arms overhead.
  • Hinge at your hips to fold forward, walking your hands forward toward your feet.
  • Hold this position for up to one to two minutes.
  •  Alignment tip: If your toes point out to the sides, move your legs in nearer. Your toes ought to face straight up, as if you’re pressing the soles of your feet into a wall.


7. Cow Face pose (Gomukhasana)
Appropriate for all levels, this create stretches your shoulders, chest, and arms.

To do this pose:

  • Position yourself in acomfortable sitting position. Enable your spine to elongate and your chest to open.
  • Extend your left arm overhead, then bend your elbow therefore your fingers purpose down on your spine.
  • Using your hand, gently draw your left elbow over to the right, permitting your left hand to move further down your spine.
  • If it’s comfortable, you’ll attempt bending your right arm upward on your spine to clasp your left hand.
  • Remain during this create for a minimum of thirty seconds.
  • Switch arms and love on the opposite aspect.

 8. Plow pose (Halasana)

This intermediate level create could facilitate alleviate tension in your neck, shoulders, and spine.

If you discover it onerous for your feet to achieve the ground, rest them on the seat of a chair or a stack of cushions. Avoid doing this create if you have got any considerations along with your neck, digestion, or pressure.

To do this pose:

  • Lie on your back along with your arms aboard your body, pressing your palms into the ground.
  • Raise your legs straight up to ninety degrees.
  • Bring your legs over your head.
  • Place your hands on your lower back, positioning your pinky fingers on either aspect of your spine along with your fingers facing upward.
  • Hold for one to two minutes.
  • Release by rolling your spine back down to the ground.
  • Repeat one to two times.
  • When doing a yoga create, avoid forcing yourself into any position or doing too much too quickly. this can increase your risk for injury.Listen to your body. If a create starts to feel painful or too uncomfortable, unleash the create promptly.You may be able to solely hold a create for ten or twenty seconds initially, and that’s simply fine. As you gain flexibility, you’ll work toward holding the poses for extended.Talk to your doctor or an authorized yoga teacher before beginning yoga if you: 
  • have any injury or pain, together with neuralgia
  • have high or low pressure
  • are ill or pregnant
  • have asthma attack
  • have cardiovascular or metabolism concerns
  • have digestive problems
  • take any medications
  • Being flexible and able to move simply is a very important side of your physical health. But stress, age, lack of exercise, and improper posture will cause your muscles to become tense and tight, which may limit your flexibility.Doing a daily routine of yoga poses could be a extremely effective approach of easing tension in your muscles and building flexibility. The key is to start slowly and gradually increase the number of time you can hold a pose with form type.
Tanuj Kimari
Author: Tanuj Kimari

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