In today’s ultramodern world, when information travels faster than light, most of us are aware of the miraculous benefits of yoga. No wonder we want to reap those benefits too but often drop the idea because of just one big misconception– Yoga is for fit and flexible people. Generally, people consider yoga to be a complex physical workout which can be performed by flexible people. However, the reality is not so. Doing yoga on a regular basis is a sure shot way to become flexible. There are specific yoga stretches that lengthen and stretch muscles in a safe way, making the body supple and agile.
Here is a list of 7 amazing yoga stretches that can help you increase your flexibility:
Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana: Begin in Tadasana or Mountain pose with straight back and feet hip-width apart. Breathe in, straighten the spine and keep your hands on the hips. Now, bend forward from the hips and reach out the arms towards the floor. Touch the floor with fingertips. Slightly bend your knees to avoid any strain in the lower back. Bring your arms and the crown of your head down. Press your heels against the floor and lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for a few breaths.
Downward Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana: Come on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Keep your knees and elbows straight. Now, draw your abdominals in and push your hips towards the ceiling in a way that the body forms an inverted ‘V’ pose. Ensure that your hands are shoulder-distance apart and knees are hip-width apart on the floor. Press the palms against the floor and drop down your neck. Look towards your navel and breathe deeply. Hold the posture for 1-3 minutes.
Child Pose: Begin sitting on your heels. Spread your knees wide and bend forward from the waist completely in a way that your forehead touches the floor. Reach your arms towards the top of the mat on either side of the body, palms facing down. Now, gently press your chest against the thighs. Hold the posture for 60-90 minutes and breathe normally.
Crescent Lunge Pose or Alanasana: Begin in Downward dog pose. Step the right foot between the hands. Ensure there is some distance between your feet to stabilize you. Inhale, place your hands on the hips and lift the upper body. Once stable, raise your arms over your head towards the ceiling with palms facing each other. Hold the posture for 30-60 seconds.
Seated Spinal Twist Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana: Sit tall with legs stretched out, feet together. Now, bend the right knee and keep the right foot outside of the left thigh on the ground. Turn your torso to the right and keep the right hand behind you in line with your sacrum. Inhale, elongate the spine and press the right knee towards the chest with the left hand. On each inhalation, elongate the spine and on each exhalation, twist the upper body to the right a bit further. Hold the posture for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Easy Pose or Sukhasana: Sit in a cross-legged position such that the feet are under your knees. Keep your hands on thighs and balance your weight equally on both sitting bones. Gaze straight and breathe deeply.
Butterfly Pose or Baddha Konasana: Begin in sitting position on the mat with legs extended. Bend the knees and bring the soles of your feet together towards the pelvis. Now, open the knees on both sides to form a diamond shape with the legs. The knees will be higher off the ground in initial days, which is okay. Elongate the spine and relax the shoulders. Hold your ankles and slowly try to lower your knees towards the floor while breathing normally.
Include these yoga stretches in your regular practice and gain flexibility from head to toe.