5 Best Yoga Postures To Improve Your Flexibility For Beginners
Before we start, I have 3 questions for you!
- Have you ever felt frustrated by your lack of flexibility?
- Do you ever feel discouraged when you see that you have difficulty touching your toes with your hands when you are standing?
- Have you ever envied dancers or gymnasts when you see how much they can do with their bodies?
Like you, I've been there and thanks to Yoga, I've been able to develop my flexibility incredibly!
So here are the 5 yoga postures that have helped me the most to improve my flexibility.
Let me start by telling you a little personal story...
Even though I practiced a lot of sports when I was younger, including 4 years of dance, 3 years of gymnastics and 3 years of modern-jazz, I quickly lost my flexibility from the beginning of my studies.
AN ATHLETIC BACKGROUND...
At that time, I was practicing a sport to the fullest: running! I started with short distances (5 km), then I gradually increased (10 km), marathon runners. Until the day I was able to run a half marathon. I really liked running at that time. The only problem is that this sport gave me a lot of muscle in my legs, but at the expense of my flexibility...
THEN I DID A SEDENTARY JOB THAT DEFINITELY MADE A CLEAN SWEEP OF MY FLEXIBILITY (AND MY WELL-BEING TOO!).
After my studies, I worked for 2 years as an executive in an office. And there, I did much less sport, due to lack of time, motivation and desire. And I literally saw my body shrivel up! I felt that I was sagging, my back was getting rounder, my shoulders were rolling forward and I had lost my tone and pep.
I was seriously starting to get like this:
It is not with great pleasure that I speak again about this time, but I imagine that my testimony can be useful and that, perhaps, you also recognize yourself in this description!
THEN I DISCOVERED YOGA AND I GRADUALLY REGAINED MY FLEXIBILITY.
Luckily, the year I turned 23, I discovered Yoga! My first Ashtanga discovery class was rough: I was stiff as a post and was unable to perform most postures. Fortunately, I started to practice regularly, then almost daily, and my body gradually regained its former suppleness. I can even say today that I am even more flexible than before.
I ALSO ENJOY MANY OTHER BENEFITS OF YOGA..
Then I discovered another effect of yoga that I didn't even know I had: not only did it make me physically flexible, but it also made me mentally more flexible!
It's simply amazing! I don't take the little worries of everyday life as seriously as I used to because I can take a step back from a lot of situations. Plus, Yoga has helped me surround myself with positive and inspiring people and avoid the company of people who sucked up my energy and discouraged me from my dreams and lifestyle.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO BECOME MORE FLEXIBLE!
Today, I really want to share with you the amazing benefits that Yoga has had on my life. So I present 5 Yoga postures that will help you to (re)gain flexibility, both in your body and in your mind.
Important warning: do not practice Yoga without medical advice and always start with a teacher. Don't take the risk of hurting yourself, or worse, of injuring yourself. This article helps you in your practice but I take no responsibility for your practice.
Respect and listen to your body at all times!
Another small warning: be careful! I am not presenting you with a miracle method that will make you flexible in 30 seconds! To reach your goal, you will need to mobilize 2 qualities: patience and constancy.
You will, therefore, need to practice regularly and give your body time!
Some thoughts on flexibility
LET GO 🙂
Talking about flexibility means talking about adaptation, taking into account the context, listening to our needs.
To achieve a yoga posture is like in life, we must find exactly the right balance between doing (commitment) and letting go (letting go).
If we try to force ourselves, then our body will turn and we risk injury or stagnation. Our body and mind, instead of evolving, freeze like ice cubes in the freezer...
We achieve nothing by force, obstinacy and tension. On the contrary, patience and gentleness are needed to release areas of tension and open up spaces in our bodies.
BREATHE DEEP 🙂
Breathing, in our practice, is an incredibly valuable indicator to help us know how our body is evolving in each posture.
In fact, being out of breath or panting gives you a very clear clue and invites you to "cut yourself some slack" in the posture and go less far.
Breathing also helps us, in the postures, to become more flexible, to relax, to find balance. Everything we need to enjoy our practice and reap all the benefits.
GOOD MORNING 🙂
Our muscles, joints, and tendons are exactly the same as we are: still a little sleepy and numb. It is a question of giving them time to regain flexibility gradually, without haste.
And yet, morning practice is often the best part of the day! Indeed, it sets the tone of the day from the outset and brings quality and well-being!
Why are we less flexible in the morning?
How to use the special flexibility sequence
You will discover the 5 postures in the form of a sequence, you can either practice them all in succession or practice them individually.
Before starting your practice, I strongly recommend that you warm up by moving your head, wrists, shoulders, arms, back, knees and feet.
Then you can practice for example 3 to 5 sun salutations to warm up your whole body before starting the practice of the flexibility postures.
During all the practice, remember to breathe well! If possible using Ujjayi.
Note: all yoga postures develop flexibility, however, some postures will greatly help you to improve flexibility in certain "targeted" parts of your body. This is the case of the 5 postures I have selected for you here.
Without further ado, Let's go!
#1 Downward-Facing Dog: Flexibility of the whole body
- Works the body as a whole
- Softens shoulders, hamstrings, calves, stretch the arches of the feet and hands.
- Stretches, tones and lengthens the spine
- Wrist weakness and/or carpal tunnel syndrome
- Weakness of the shoulders
- Any eye disease, infection or inflammation
- Severe headaches
- Advanced Pregnancy
#2 Upward-Facing Dog: Flexibility of the lower back
- Open the heart, chest, and lungs.
- Stretches and relaxes the upper back and the entire front of the body.
- Lower back pain
#3 Seated Forward Bend: Flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings
- Softens and tones the spine,
- Stretches and strengthens the back of the legs (hamstrings), hips and lower back.
- Recent or chronic back inflammation or injury
- Acute sciatica (with inflammation)
#4: Bound angle: Flexibility of the hips and knees
- Moves your pelvic area, rotates your hips, stretches your hip and leg muscles, and increases flexibility and elasticity.
- Helps you prepare sitting postures such as 1/2 lotus or lotus
- Hip or knee injuries
#5 Cow Face Pose: Open and supple shoulders
- Opens softens and strengthens the mobility of the shoulders, knees, and hips.
- Injuries to arms, hands and legs
(BONUS) #6 Using a Leg Stretcher
- Develops flexibility and balance faster than with traditional stretching!
- Stretching made easy, stretch slowly and steadily without experiencing leg pains or muscle strains.
- Adjustable up to 180 degrees to accommodate every level of flexibility and any size
- Easy to store and travel with – can easily be brought to any gym or studio
- More effective alternative to traditional stretching
- Injuries to legs
MY BONUS TIP
As I often tell my students during class, look for long, gentle stretches rather than abrupt, violent stretches. Never work in jerks! Instead, let gravity work for you and give your muscles enough time to begin to relax and loosen up.
And that's it for today's sequence! Did you enjoy it?
By the way, Jenny, if I'm stiff as a stick, do I even have any hope of ever becoming more flexible? Or could it already be too late?
Good news: flexibility is never frozen!
It is very impressive to see that one day you can be very comfortable in a posture, and the next day finds yourself in great difficulty. So nothing can be taken for granted, but everything remains possible and open.
If you have been practicing Yoga for some time, then take a moment to remember and remember how flexible you are before you start practicing.
Visualize all the progress you've made since then.
Aren't there any postures that are now accessible to you that you never thought you would be able to achieve?
What about flexibility in everyday life? Can you tell us a little bit about that Jenny?
We live in a world marked by complexity and constant change.
Many of us don't know in which city they will be in 6 months, 1 year, 10 years, some of us have not yet found the ideal person to share their life, some of us are considering changing jobs or even retraining and creating their own business.
All these uncertainties encourage us to be flexible and adaptable.
As Mercedes Sosa, an Argentinean singer that I love, puts it so well: "Cambia, todo cambia", meaning that "everything changes".
We must, therefore, learn to overcome our fear of the unknown and the new. Knowing how to question oneself and cultivating one's creativity are wonderful tools to face the storms of life (failures, bereavements, empty periods...).
With experience, we gradually learn to look at each situation with fresh eyes.
It seems to me that being flexible implies accepting the point of view of the other, potentially different from our own. We have to be ready to question our point of view, which means taming our ego.
It is a question of being more and more in the exchange and in the conciliation and less and less in the relations of power, confrontation, the will of power and domination.
WHAT IS RESILIENCE?
Resilience is a psychological phenomenon that consists, for an individual affected by trauma, of taking note of the traumatic event in order to no longer live in depression and to rebuild oneself.
Source: Article on resilience in psychology
Resilience can be a tool in our daily lives to overcome a trauma or injury and "transcend" it.
Today we have covered the 5 best yoga postures for flexibility as a beginner! I hope you guys like it, and if you guys have any questions, please comment!
Again, if you want to improve your flexibility faster, using a leg stretcher will help you to do so!