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Yoga for Flexibility: 8 Yoga Poses That Make You Bendy Fast!

Will

Posted on Dec 28, 2020 #fitness

If you're feeling about as flexible as a board, yoga can help! Contrary to what some people believe, you don't have to be already flexible to get started with yoga. In fact, practicing yoga regularly can help you increase flexibility and mobility. But with thousands of poses to choose from, how do you actually practice yoga for flexibility? Keep reading... we're going to teach you some great poses!

Before we get to our yoga poses to increase your flexibility, let's take a minute to look at why flexibility is important and explore the connection between yoga and flexibility.

Why Is Flexibility Important?

Flexibility is a key indicator of overall good physical health. Maintaining flexibility helps us in several ways:

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Over time, we can lose flexibility for any number of reasons—stress, bad posture and movements, aging. But that doesn't mean that you just have to accept this loss of flexibility and live your life without being able to tie your shoes.

That's where yoga comes in. Practicing yoga for flexibility can relieve tight hamstrings, calves, hips, shoulders, and more. When you participate in a yoga class or find a yoga trainer online, you're on your way to increasing your flexibility and your health.

myYogaTeacher offers several live, online yoga classes for flexibility and strength. If you want to increase your flexibility with a live yoga class from the comfort of your own home and taught by expert yoga teachers from India, register with myYogaTeacher!

The Connection Between Yoga And Flexibility

As you probably already know, yoga is more than stretching. Asanas (poses) touch major muscle groups as well as those smaller muscles that most people don't know they even have. Yoga styles like yin and restorative are excellent for deeper, longer stretches and are also effective as yoga for stress relief. You can find a live, online yin, or restorative yoga class on myYogaTeacher.

No matter your level of flexibility, even a short yoga practice of 10–15 minutes each day will help you increase your flexibility. There's no need to rush into advanced poses or ignore props, either. Yoga isn't about nailing a pose perfectly so you can share it with your Instagram followers. It's about learning about your body, what it needs, what it pushes against, and how you can honor it. The flexibility will come in time.

"How much time?" you're probably wondering.

It depends.

Not the answer anyone ever wants, but flexibility depends on a number of factors like how your joints are put together, your muscle composition, your body type, and more. But the time's going to pass anyway. Why not practice yoga for flexibility?

8 Yoga Poses to Increase Flexibility

If you're practicing yoga for flexibility, consistency is key. Doing a yoga class once a month isn't going to give you the results you want. That's why we recommend signing up for myYogaTeacher where you get access to live yoga classes for a monthly fee (it’s less than the drop-in fee for most in-person classes). Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, and Restorative yoga are the classes you'll want to check out to increase your flexibility.

Want to get started right now? Here are 8 yoga poses you can use to increase your flexibility. Before practicing, you'll want to do a short warm-up (sun salutations are a great warm-up). When you're just starting out with yoga for flexibility, we recommend holding each pose for 5–10 slow, deep breaths. You can increase the number of breaths over time.

Shoulders

Shoulders hold a lot of stress and tightness. The combination of extended periods of sitting and poor posture can lead to a lot of tension that decreases flexibility and range of motion. The yoga poses here are perfect for opening your shoulders, chest, and neck.

1. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

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Bridge pose is a great way to open through your chest and shoulders. You can modify this pose by not going up as high, not clasping your hands underneath you, or even adding a block under your sacrum for a supported bridge.

To do this pose:

  • Lie down on your back and bend your knees with your feet on the floor.
  • On the inhale, press into your heels and lift your hips upward, lengthening through your chest. Keep the knees pointing forward.
  • Press the hands into the floor or bring them underneath your back and interlace your fingers with your elbows pressed into the floor.

2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

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Cobra pose is a small backbend that opens up the chest and improves flexibility in the shoulders.

To do this pose:

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Place your hands underneath your shoulders and press up through your hands while lifting your chest.
  • Keep your lower body grounded into the floor.

Back

Lower back pain can be a result of tension, a weak core, or a number of other reasons. These poses will help you gently stretch your back and regain mobility.

3. Marjariasana & Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)

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The cat-cow pose is technically the combination of two separate poses but they're often found together. This pose improves flexibility and mobility in the neck, shoulders, spine, and core.

To do this pose:

  • Start on all fours with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Your weight should be balanced evenly.
  • On the inhale, let your stomach fall towards the floor as you raise your chest and chin.
  • On the exhale, press your hands into the floor and round your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin into your chest.

4. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

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Twists are great for the spine! There are tons of different twisting yoga poses for flexibility but this one is perfect for relieving tightness and tension as well as improving mobility in the back.

To do this pose:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground.
  • Bring your knees to your chest, place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh.
  • Drop your legs over to the right side and use your right hand to deepen the twist as much as feels good. Be sure to keep your shoulders on the ground.
  • Stretch your left arm out to the side and let your gaze fall to the left.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hips

The hips are packed full of muscles. To get better flexibility and mobility in your hips, focus on poses that stretch the psoas, iliacus, hip flexors, quads, and glutes.

5. Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

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Pigeon pose helps you deeply stretch your hip flexors as well as giving you a nice stretch across your glutes. If you have very tight hips, you can use blocks and bolsters to make yourself more comfortable.

To do this pose:

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog and lift your right leg into the air.
  • Bring your right leg into your body center and place your foot next to your right wrist or wherever it feels right for you. Keep your right foot flexed.
  • Untuck your back toes and rest your left leg on the ground, rotated inward.

6. Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge Pose)

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Crescent lunge pose is a great pose because you can choose any number of ways to enjoy it. It's an excellent hip opener that gives you great control over how intense the stretch is.

To do this pose:

  • Start on your knees and bring your left leg forward, placing your left foot flat on the floor. Untuck the toes on your rear foot.
  • Lift your arms overhead as you push your hips forward, sinking into your left knee.
  • Slightly arch your back and lift through your chest if that feels right for you.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hamstrings

Tight hamstrings are a common complaint from those seeking out yoga for flexibility. Being tight in this area can lead to other problems like lower back pain.

7. Paschimottanasana (Straight Legged Seated Forward Fold Pose)

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A seated forward fold is an excellent hamstring stretch. You don't have to be able to grab your feet to benefit from this stretch, either. Some people with really tight hamstrings can get a stretch from a slight lean towards the feet. You can use a yoga strap if that keeps you steady in your stretch.

To do this pose:

  • Start in Staff Pose with your bottom on the floor and your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Lift your arms over your head and slowly fold your torso over your legs until you can reach your shins, ankles, toes, or anywhere that feels right for you and gives you a nice, not painful stretch.

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

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Downward-facing dog is an excellent pose for just about everything. It's commonly used as a resting or transition pose in yoga class but it's a great stretching and strengthening pose for your entire body. And it's great for increasing the flexibility in your hamstrings.

To do this pose:

  • Start on all fours with your feet slightly narrower than hip distances. Your toes should be tucked and your hands lined up with your shoulders.
  • On the inhale push your hips back and up, engaging your shoulders, legs, and core. Your weight should be evenly distributed.
  • Push through your heels to feel your hamstrings stretch. Walk your feet by bending one knee at a time.

Wrapping Up

Now you know 8 yoga poses that will help you improve your flexibility. When you practice yoga for flexibility consistently, you'll notice that you not only get more flexible but you'll be stronger, healthier, and have greater peace of mind. Plus, the more you work on your flexibility, the less pain and muscle tension you'll have in your body.

These poses are a great starting point, but if you really want to enjoy the benefits of yoga faster, you'll definitely want to register for myYogaTeacher. We offer yoga for flexibility, yoga for stress relief, and so much more. And, myYogaTeacher is more than just a bunch of pre-recorded yoga videos. With us, you get access to the finest yoga teachers from India—they really become your yoga trainer online. Join us today and get started on your journey towards flexibility.

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