Yoga for Flexibility
Yoga offers several different health benefits. Building strength, reducing stress and achieving better posture are just three of these. But yoga really shines in the flexibility department. It offers poses of differing challenge levels, so even beginners can benefit from practicing yoga.
Straddle Forward Bend
The straddle forward bend involves the entire body, so you get an all-over flexibility workout with this move. You’ll likely feel the most relief in your back, neck and spine.
Begin by straddling your feet more than shoulder width apart. Place both hands on the ground in front of you, then crawl your fingers back in toward you. You should end with your palms on the ground in between your feet and the top of your head on the floor just in front of your hands. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds, then slowly release your body back up to your starting position.
Cow Face Pose Modified
The original cow face yoga flexibility poses might be difficult for beginning and intermediate yoga posers, so we’ll focus on the slightly easier pose that still offers flexibility in your lower body.
Sit on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Pretend as though you were going to cross your legs. But instead of crossing them next to each other, cross one over top of the other, so they both create a triangle shape and remain stacked.
Your bottom foot will support one side of your hips. Place a shallow object, like a yoga block, between the hip and the floor on the other side so you don’t topple over. Fold your hands in prayer position in front of you with a straight back and shoulders. Hold this pose for at least 10 seconds and switch legs.
Seated Spinal Twist
Seated spinal twists work your whole body in a gentle flexing motion. This is great for relieving pops and tightness in your lower back and middle spine.
Start out sitting down with your legs crossed, right leg on top. Lift the right leg up so that your knee is about at chest level. Draw the bottom foot around to your hip so the knee points ahead of you. Bend your left elbow so your hand points to the ceiling. Cross it over your right knee, twist your core and place your right hand behind you for balance. Remain in this position for at least 10 seconds and switch legs.
Ankle to Knee Stretch
This is one of many yoga flexibility poses that involves crossing the body over the legs and ankles. It’s fairly easy and offers relief in your legs, back and shoulders.
Begin sitting down with your feet crossed, one leg on top of the other so that your legs and feet are stacked. Place both hands in front at each side, then crawl your fingers out as far as you can without overextending your hips. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds, then switch legs.
Things to Consider
Twisting poses should not be performed by pregnant women. Before starting this or any other exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure that it’s physically and medically safe for you to do so.