As we get older, our flexibility levels start to reduce as a result of the ageing process, which decreases the movement in our body. Prolonged sitting (thanks to desk jobs), poor posture, and stress are among the other factors which can contribute to it. So what if you want to get some of that lost flexibility back? The answer lies in Yoga.
If you really want to boost your flexibility, regular practicing of certain yoga poses may be one of the best ways to increase mobility in your muscles and joints. In fact, yoga would help you beyond flexibility to strengthen muscles and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
So are you ready?
Practice these seven yoga poses:
1. Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)
Lie on your back and bend both knees.
Cross your left leg over the right, clasp both hands around the back of your right leg’s thigh and bring the right knee toward the chest.
Stay in eye of the needle pose for 30 seconds, then reverse leg positions and repeat.
Benefits: The eye of the needle pose stretches the glutes, hips, and lower back. This yoga pose increases blood flow and circulation to the legs and hips, relieves cramps and reduces anxiety.
2. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
Stand up tall and bend forward by rotating your hip joints.
Keep your knees straight and place your palms on the floor, or hold the back of your ankles.
Stay in a standing forward bend pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Benefits: This healing, powerful and rejuvenating asana soothes the mind, work and stretches the hamstrings, gastrocnemius, piriformis muscles, spinal muscles, and so many other muscles and connective tissues. Plus, it reduces accumulated stress and tension.
3. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Plant your hands ﬁrmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
With feet hip-width apart, extend your hips up and backward.
Stand straight with your arms by your side and feet apart.
Now, sit down but ensure you’re on your feet and have not placed your buttocks on the floor.
Place your pelvis over your heels.
Keeping your feet flat on the floor, place your palms on the floor beside your feet or join them in front of your chest in a gesture of prayer.
Stay in malasana for 10 long breaths.
Benefits: Garland pose opens the hips and groins, as it stretches and strengthens, the feet and ankles. If you are pregnant it is great for relieving common tension in your ankles, lower back and hips, as well as preparing the muscles in your legs for an active labour. Malasana can also aid in digestion
5. Cat-Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
Place your hands and knees on the ground imitating a cat.
Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine.
Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest.
Continue this movement for at least 1 minute.
Benefits: The cat-cow is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. In fact, it stretches the back, torso, neck and softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs. It is a great pose to start with to lose your belly fat.
6. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
Begin standing, then step your right foot forward about four feet. With your foot parallel and toes pointing to the top of the mat, bend your knee into a lunge.
Keep your left leg straight behind you and turn your left heel in at approximately 45 degrees.
Raise your arms straight above your head, keeping your shoulders pressed down.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward, and lift your chin to gaze at your hands overhead.
Hold your pose and then repeat on the left side.
Benefits: If you want stretches for flexibility, it’s time to embrace your inner warrior. Warrior I is a great asana when you’re concentrating on your trunk. The action of the pose builds both strength and a better range of motion within your core muscles
7. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Sit on your shin bones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you, then sink your hips back down toward your feet.
Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.
Benefits: While performing any pose if you get tired, then you can switch to the child’s pose! It calms your mind and stretches back muscles. Not to mention, it is easy to do.
You’ll quickly regain your flexibility with these poses, so start practicing them now without delay.