A good selection of yoga flexibility poses can help stretch your muscles and align your body. Not only do these exercises make you more flexible, they also provide a great workout and enhance your balance.
Getting Flexible with Yoga
Yoga has many benefits and increasing flexibility is just one of them. In order to enhance the ability of your muscles to stretch, the best way to practice yoga is frequently, and in a warm room. You need not practice Hot Yoga to gain flexibility, but cold muscles do not stretch well and can lead to more frequent injuries and aches. In addition, keep in mind that the best way to stretch is in a steady manner; ease into poses without going past your own comfort level. Each week you will be able to stretch a bit further.
Common Yoga Flexibility Poses
The following yoga poses are organized by the regions of the body that they stretch the most effectively. Combine poses from all sections in order to attain long, lean muscles all over your body.
Lower Body Flexibility
In order to stretch your legs, standing and sitting poses can both be used. Many different types of forward bends stretch the lower legs, while lunges like Warrior Pose stretch and strengthen the upper legs.
Forward Bends: Several different types of forward bends exist in yoga. A simple Standing Forward Bend is an effective stretch, or you can spread your legs wide into the Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend for an added challenge. Seated forward bends can be done either with legs together or apart. For all forward bends, strive to keep your spine straight during the stretch, as rounding the back decreases the effects of the pose.
Warrior: Regardless of the version of Warrior Pose you execute, your upper leg muscles will be strengthened and stretched by the action. In addition, your back leg will also get a stretch.
Stretching the sides of your torso and opening the chest are important for overall flexibility. In addition, these poses promote core stability.
Side Angle: This pose stretches and tones the sides of your torso at the same time as strengthening and stretching your leg muscles in a way similar to that of Warrior Pose.
Spinal Twist: Starting in Corpse Pose, extend the left leg straight on the floor and cross the right knee over the left leg as you twist to the right. Now repeat on the other side. Not only is this Supine Spinal Twist a good stretch, it is also relaxing and rejuvenating all at once.
Some yoga classes make your body feel fantastic by the end of the class. Teachers who help students achieve this effect often use a considerable amount of the following poses:
Sun Salutations: An energizing flow of poses, the Sun Salutation sequence is great for a morning stretch or to start a yoga class or home practice.
Forward Bends: While forward bends stretch the leg muscles as mentioned above, they also promote overall flexibility and have considerably relaxing effects.
Back Bends: Learning back bends is best done under the supervision of a certified instructor. Their benefits are many, including back flexibility and opening the chest. Many different types of back bends have these effects, and range in difficulty so that yogis of all levels have at least a few to safely practice.
Opening the hips loosens your joints, promoting more flexibility.
Pigeon Pose: An advanced version of this pose is shown at the top of this page. For beginners, the standard Pigeon Pose can have powerful results.
Goddess Pose: A pose frequently practiced in restorative yoga sessions, this position relaxes the mind and body while opening the hips.
Combining some of the yoga flexibility poses from each of the sections above can result in overall increased stretching ability. At the same time, you will reap the many other benefits of yoga, such as reduced stress, increased focus, and possible weight loss.