When you are young, being flexible is something that you can easily take for granted. Effortlessly squeezing into tiny hiding spots, touching your toes and even crossing your legs. As your muscles begin to grow and you no longer find yourself rolling around playing outside, your muscles and tendons inevitably start to tighten and stiffen up. Enter yoga!
Yoga For Flexibility
Learning how to be more flexible through yoga can help you to ease tight muscles, improve your posture, balance, improve physical performance and work up to those more challenging yoga poses that need a little extra flexibility. So where do you begin?
If you are starting beginners yoga to become more flexible, remember that there is no set time frame. Everybody and every body is different, so be patient! Stretching out your muscles is a marathon more than a sprint. Generally speaking though, for all my Yogi Bare’s out there, you can expect on average to see beautiful bendy results after 3 to 6 months. The more you practice yoga and the more consistent you are, the quicker you will see those results. If you are aiming to pretzel yourself or even drop down into a full split, aim to practice your yoga stretches at least 3 to 5 times a week.
How to Become More Flexible Doing Yoga
If you are new to yoga, it can seem quite intimidating at first, seeing other Yogi Bare’s seemingly effortlessly contort their bodies into wacky poses. I can guarantee though, each one of them started where you are, at the beginning! So do not be disheartened, with a bit of practice you will be ‘pretzeling’ with the rest of them.
To help you get started, I have compiled a list of my favourite stretching yoga poses for beginners to help you improve your flexibility…
1. Standing Forward Fold
This simple yoga pose will help to stretch out your spine and hamstrings, it is also extremely relaxing. This is a pose that will soon get you touching your toes, or even with your hands flat on the ground.
- Begin on your yoga mat with your feet close together
- Bend forwards at the hip aiming to hands towards your toes
- Keep your back straight and fold your body towards your thighs
- If you are looking for a deeper stretch, wrap your hands around the back of your shins or ankles to pull yourself in closer
- Hold for 30 seconds, breathing deeply and allowing your body to relax into the pose
2. One Legged Side Body Stretch
When you think of flexibility, the side of your body is often the most neglected area. Incorporating the One Legged Side Body Stretch into your yoga flexibility routine can ensure this area doesn’t get forgotten.
- Begin in a seated position on your yoga mat with your feet together
- Start by extending your right foot out in front of you with your foot flexed upwards and your spine straight
- With your right hand by your ankle, sweep your left arm over your head and fold sideways and look up over your left shoulder
- As you inhale deeply, elongate your ribcage and fold and deeply as is comfortable with a straight back
3. Plough Pose
This yoga pose will help you to increase flexibility in your back and neck and is great for relieving tension that is caused by working on your computer or laptop.
- Begin by lying on your back with your arms stretched out and by your side
- Slowly bring your legs above and past your head
- Gently lower them towards the ground behind your head
- Breath deeply and allow your body to relax into this pose
- If you are looking for a deeper stretch, slowly work your feet further away from your head whilst lifting your back
- Alternatively, using a yoga block beneath your feet can help you ease into this pose