Does Yoga Really Help with Flexibility
Although a decrease in flexibility is commonly linked with growing old, young adults also complain about having locked-up hips, stiff muscles, painful lower back, joint swelling, and health conditions like spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis, all causing a reduction in their normal range of motion.
Fortunately, there are many yoga poses that can help you in improving flexibility in your joints. A 2016 research has shown that regular yoga practice made male college athletes more flexible and balanced while improving their athletic performance.
We have listed here some of the best yoga poses that you may include in your daily yoga routine.
Yoga Poses and Stretches with Instructions to Help Keep You Flexible
The following yoga poses will not just help you feel relaxed but also make you more flexible, increasing the range of motion of your joints and muscles. Make sure to breathe smoothly through the poses and do not try to hold any of the yoga stretches for longer than a count of 5-10 breaths.
For Overall Flexibility in Beginners
1. Downward Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Begin on the ground with your knees under the hips while your hands kept slightly forward from the shoulders.
- Spread your fingertips and turn your toes under while raising your knees off the ground.
- Slightly push the base of your spine upward and position your head between the arms.
It helps beginners by giving their shoulders, hamstrings, and calves a good stretch.
2. Intense Side Stretch or Parsvottanasana
- Stand upright with your feet more than shoulder-width apart and your arms closed behind the back.
- Slowly lean towards your left knee and try to touch it with your head.
- Go back to your starting position.
- Repeat the movement on the other side.
It helps in stretching your spine, shoulders, wrists, hamstrings, and hips thereby strengthening your legs, as well as improving your sense of balance.
3. Hands to Feet or Uttanasana
- Standing straight, slowly inhale and raise your arms overhead.
- Bend forward and try to reach for the toes.
- Try to bend more, only if you can, so the abdomen touches your legs.
- Hold this position for a 5-10 count while breathing deeply.
For Hip Flexibility
1. Bound Angle Pose
- Sit upright with your legs spread out in front of you.
- Bring your feet close to your body, and then hold the big toes of your feet with your thumb, as well as the first and second fingers.
- Keeping your shoulder blades and lower spine firm, lean forward with your chest being fairly
Use blocks or pillows for support if you cannot keep your knees in a resting position.
2. Ankle to Knee Pose
- Sitting with your legs stretched out wide, bend the right knee to place your right shin in front of you.
- Flex your left knee so that the left shin rests on top of the right knee and your left ankle is over your right knee while the right ankle is under your left knee.
- Placing your hands in front of the shins, gently exhale to lean forward. Keep your head in a relaxed position.
3. Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend
- Spread your legs out wide and keep your arms in front of you.
- Keeping your back straight and chest open, flex your hips to lean forward.
For Back Flexibility
1. Cat-Cow Pose
- Come to the floor keeping your knees under the hips and your hands under the shoulders.
- As you breathe in, look up with your spine arched and shoulders rolling away from the ears to do the cow pose.
- While you exhale, press with your hands and knees to round your spine like an angry cat.
- Count five breaths while inhaling and five while exhaling.
2. Sphinx Pose
- Lie on the stomach with your elbows placed underneath the shoulders and forearms on the floor.
- As you press your shoulders down, pull the chest forward.
- Keeping all the toes on the ground, hold this position for five breaths.
3. Bow Pose
- Lie straight on your stomach.
- Bending both your knees, grab both the feet with your hands.
- As you breathe in deeply, raise your chest, head, and thighs as high as you can.
- Pull both your feet close to your head, keeping your elbows pointed upward.
- Hold this position for as long as you are physically able (ideally for 5-10 breaths).
- Slowly breathe out and then release both your legs to return to the original position.
- Relax until your breathing and heartbeat become normal.
People with spinal problems, arthritis, migraine, high blood pressure, hernia, ulcer, and insomnia should avoid practicing this yoga pose.
Make sure to consult your healthcare professional before starting any of these to know if it is the right option for you.