best yoga poses for flexibility

We made a list of the best yoga poses for flexibility, because as Tom Brady says-

Pliable muscles are long, soft, and capable of full muscle pump function.”

― Tom Brady

Flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through a full normal range of motion (ROM). Flexibility improves mobility, posture, muscle coordination, reduces the risk of injuries and muscle soreness. Starting around age 30 or 40, flexibility continuously decreases, with men losing flexibility more quickly than women.

Activities such as Yoga and Pilates can improve flexibility. A study found that regular stretching can increase flexibility in as little as four weeks. The potential physiological adaptations that allow for ROM changes include modifications in musculotendinous length, increased stretch tolerance, and viscoelastic stress relaxation.

Getting results requires commitment: You need to stretch at least three days a week, ideally every day. However, if this frequency is not feasible to you, the study explains that less frequent stretching can still be effective.

Today, we are focusing on poses that will increase flexibility of the core, back, shoulders and hips. This is completely beginner friendly. Let’s start by rolling out our mats and laying down on back.

Remember to hold for at least 30 seconds. You might want to use a countdown stop watch (your phone has one). After a 10-second rest, repeat the stretch for an additional 30 seconds. 

  1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  2. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
  3. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
    • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  4. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  5. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
  6. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
    • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  7. Downward-Facing Dog/Puppy (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  8. Head to knee (Janu Sirsasana) – wiggle your toes and extend your ankles back and forth a few times. Exhale and Inhale accordingly
  9. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
  10. Wide-angle seated forward bend (Upavistha Konasana)
  11. Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)
  12. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  13. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
  14. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) – Slowly move your neck, first up and down then side to side. Wiggle your fingers
    • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) followed by Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  15. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)
  16. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I, II) AND Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana
  17. Cat-Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
    • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) followed by Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Wheel is an aspirational pose, and one that you need to work up to and warm up for. It requires attention to form and alignment, “opens” the heart, and stretches the entire front of the body. Wheel pose engages the legs, buttocks, shoulders, and arms, as well as the heart and lungs.

Plank. This pose burns mega calories because it requires major muscle groups to be engaged, including your abs, shoulders, and glutes, while forcing your body to resist gravity. You can increase the calorie burn further with variations like raising one foot an inch or two off of the mat. The longer you stay in the pose—anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes—the more calories you burn as well.

Check out other physical and mental health benefits of Yoga here.

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