Yoga is a great exercise option that can help you become more flexible. In addition to increasing flexibility, yoga increases muscle strength, reduces stress, improves your energy level and burns calories. Don't worry if you cannot perform yoga poses perfectly the first time you try them. It will take a little time to stretch your muscles and perfect your technique. Try any one of these yoga poses to increase flexibility.
Downward-facing dog involves creating an inverted "V" shape with your body. The pose can be very helpful if you have back pain because it helps stretch and strengthen your spine. Start the pose on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are flat on the floor just ahead of your shoulders and your toes are tucked. Center your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your hands.
Keep your hands on the floor and slowly lift your knees while you exhale. Gradually straighten your legs as you lift, but do not lock them. Make sure that you maintain a strong, straight line from your hands to your shoulders and do not let your head drop. Your spine should be straight and not curved. As your flexibility increases, you may be able to stretch your hamstrings by placing your heels flat on the floor when you perform the pose. Hold the pose for three breaths and then return to your original position.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Make sure that your knees and spine are straight. As you inhale, lift your arms over your head, keeping your elbows straight. Exhale and slowly bend forward. Extend your hands toward your feet as you bend. Don't worry if you cannot touch your toes. As you become more flexible, you will eventually be able to extend your hands closer to your feet. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. The seated forward bend pose stretches your hamstrings and your spine.
Extended Puppy Pose
The extended puppy pose stretches your arms, upper back, shoulders and spine. It not only increases flexibility, but can also help relieve stress and reduce muscle tension. Start the pose on your hands and knees. Make sure your shoulders are centered over hands and your hips are over your knees. Use a "walking" motion to move your hands in front of you.
As you walk your hands forward, lower your upper body and place your forehead against the floor. Keep your elbows off the floor and relax your neck. When you perform this pose correctly, your upper body will be pressed against the floor while your hips and buttocks will extend into the air. Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths before returning to your original position. As you become more flexible, you can increase the amount of time you hold the extended puppy pose.
Yoga is an excellent exercise choice that will help you keep your body and mind in top shape. Interested in learning more? Give us a call today.