Yoga for Flexibility: Why and How to Keep on Stretching
One of the main reason people practice yoga is to stay flexible. Practicing yoga for flexibility is a great way to improve your health and stay fit. Do you think you’re not flexible enough for yoga? Think again. You can do yoga for flexibility, not because you’re flexible. In other words, you don’t need to be flexible before you start!
Why Practice Yoga for Flexibility?
There are three types of physical fitness: strength, endurance, and flexibility. Many people overlook flexibility and focus mostly on aerobics and strength training instead. But it’s important to develop a flexible body as well.
When you’re flexible, you’re less likely to get injured, and you’re more able to do other kinds of exercise. You’ll also move through your day better and have better posture. Blood will flow through your body’s soft tissue more efficiently too.
Doing yoga for flexibility will also impact your mind. Being physically flexible is one thing, but having a flexible mind means you can face challenges and unexpected events without breaking.
Yoga Poses for Flexibility
Here are some poses to focus on when you practice yoga for flexibility:
Lunges – These are deep stretches that help improve flexibility in the hips, thighs, and hamstrings. Lunges include low lunge, runner’s lunge, and high lunge.
Child’s pose – This simple pose helps stretch the back and shoulders. Walk your arms forward for a deeper stretch.
Seated forward bend – This is an excellent pose to stretch the legs and lower back
Figure Four – To do this stretch, lie on your back, and cross your right ankle above your left knee. Lift your left leg off the ground and flex both feet. Then switch sides
Supine twists – Twists on your back stretch the shoulders, the entire back, and the hips.
Flows – Moving from pose to pose helps stretch tight muscles throughout the body. Short flows like cat/cow and sun salutations are great for flexibility.
Yoga for a Flexible Mind
Remember, when you practice yoga for flexibility, you are improving the mind as well. Yoga is a mindful practice, no matter what your physical goal. As humans, we’re easily distracted, so we can benefit from practices that help us focus. Yoga improves our ability to be mindful when we practice with attention to each movement as well as the breath. The result over time is a more flexible mind.
Balancing poses help with mind-body connection. You can practice yogic breathing, particularly alternate nostril breathing, to balance the mind as well.
Remember, anyone can practice yoga for flexibility. If you’re not convinced, start with some simple stretches like the ones listed below. Practice them for a few minutes each day, and see how your flexibility improves.
- mountain pose
- forward bend (you don’t have to touch your toes!)
- downward dog
- warrior two
- child’s pose
- chair pose
- bridge pose
- legs up the wall
- tree (it’s okay if you wobble or fall!)
If you need more guidance, join my free 28 Yoga For Beginners Program at Do You Yoga. There, you’ll find video tutorials where I teach you the individual poses for flexibility and much more. See you there!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!