Many people will tell you that they exercise to keep fit or stay healthy. Few will say they train to increase flexibility. Maintaining high flexibility levels is essential as it helps you avoid injury as you age. Yoga provides an excellent way of enhancing your fitness. Here’s a look at some of the most popular poses.
The Standing Forward Bend
Also known as Uttanasa, the standing forward bend is an excellent yet straightforward pose for stretching the hamstrings. Here’s how to perform it;
- Let the arms reach overhead and sweep them down on either side of your body until they come into a forward fold.
- Ensure that your fingers touch the toes and press the palms into a flat mat.
- Bend the knees slightly but make sure that they are not locked.
- Engage the quadriceps muscles of the thigh before drawing up. Use the quadriceps as often as you can to open the hamstrings.
- Press your weight forward toward the balls of your feet in such a way that the hips stay over the ankles.
- Allow your head to hang loosely.
Seated Wide Legged Straddle
This pose is also known as the Upavistha Konasana and seeks to stretch the inside muscles. To perform it;
- From a sitting position, open the legs out as wide as you can.
- Ensure that the thighs are engaged to your feet flexed.
- Let the toe point straight to the ceiling. Do not allow your legs to flop inward or open outward.
- Press your legs down into the floor.
- Take deep breaths in a way that will rotate your pelvis.
- Straighten the arms in front of you and gaze at the floor so that your neck doesn’t crank.
- Stay in this position for at least five breaths.
Eye of the Needle
Around yoga circles, this pose is known as the Sucirandhrasana and is an excellent pose to loosen tight hips. To perform it:
- Start by lying on your back while bending the knee and placing the soles of your feet on the floor.
- Hug the left knee close to your chest.
- Cross the right ankle over the body and make sure it rests on the left thigh
- Allow the knee to relax away from the torso
- Lift the right foot off the floor before threading the left hand through the legs
- Use your hands to draw the right thigh close to the chest to open your left hip
- Flex both feet and breathe deeply. Relax the left knee to open the hips
- Repeat the same moves on the other side
The Bottom Line
Yoga isn’t the only way you can improve your flexibility. Even then, you have to get well acquainted with the basics of training, especially if you’re a beginner. Learn how to do it here and get you workout regimen on the right footing.