You’ve probably heard of the reasons that yoga is really very good for you. The benefits of yoga include lowering stress levels and improving your blood pressure. If you’ve been wanting to try yoga but think your body is not flexible enough, think again.
In reality, yoga improves flexibility. There are even poses for inflexible bodies to help increase flexibility and a person’s ability to perform yoga on a large scale.
Check out these yoga poses for inflexible people, for instance:
1. The Wall Dog
A variation of the popular “downward dog” pose of yoga, this exercise helps to make the muscles needed to perform the traditional pose more flexible.
Stand about two feet away from the wall. Place both palms flat against the wall, bending at the waist only. Back up until you are bending into the shape of an “L” or until the stretch burns. Hold the position for 25 seconds, being sure to breathe deeply.
2. The Halfway Dog
Improving the flexibility of your hips in particular, this exercise is great for your lower back too.
Grab the back of a chair. Slowly back up and bend at the waist until you feel the burn in your back. Hold the chair without lifting it off of the floor and keep your legs straight the entire time. Once you feel the burn, stay in position for 25 seconds and then rest.
3. Seated Twists
Used by physical therapists and trained athletes alike, seated twists are a great way of loosening up tense, tight, and stiff muscles all over the back and waist area.
Sit on a chair with your feet planted flat on the floor. With your hands near your waist and elbows bent, slowly twist your upper body from side to side without moving any muscle below your waist.
4. Hands On The Wall Twist
Slightly more challenging than the seated twist, this exercise will really improve your ability to flex and bend at the waist.
Stand so that your body is perpendicular to a wall. Without moving your feet or low body at all, twist your trunk until you can put both hands flat on the wall. Stay in that position for 15 seconds. Rest and then turn to face the opposite direction and repeat for another 15 seconds to stretch your other side.
5. Chest Opener
Upper body muscles around the chest and neck can easily become stiff. This exercise releases those tensions and loosens those muscles.
Put your fists together in front of your chest with your elbows out to the sides. Pull your elbows back behind you, being sure to not raise or lower them in the process. Stop when you cannot comfortably pull them any further back. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then return your fists to the touching position. Repeat five times in a row.
6. Shoulder Opener
The chest opener, but for your shoulders and neck instead.
Grab a belt, scarf, or another long thin fabric. Hold one end in each hand at your sides. Raise your hands over your head and reach behind you until you are holding the fabric taut behind your back with your palms facing forward. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat five times.
7. Side Reach
Simple and sweet, this exercise feels great and is good for you, too!
Spread your legs out so that your knees are bent and parallel to your body. While in this extended squat position, reach over your head and out to your side. Switch sides, reaching each time as far as you can.
8. Sideways Lunge
The lunge is an exercise that increase flexibility already. Add in twists and your whole body gets stretched gently.
Perform a basic lunge. While in the lunge, perform a spinal twist, turning your body from the waist up toward one side. Hold for 30 seconds, and then rest. Repeat another lunge and twist in the opposite directions. Complete five twists per side and 10 lunges total.
9. Basic Seated Bend with Strap
The use of straps and fabric help modify poses that require extra flexibility as the body learns to stretch farther.
Sit on the floor with your feet and legs out straight in front of you. Loop a fabric like a scarf or belt around your feet. Reach forward to grab the ends of the fabric in each hand. Pull yourself, using the fabric, towards your feet. Bend as far as you can comfortably, and then hold the position for 20 seconds before resting and repeating five times.
10. Supported Crow
This exercise has you performing real yoga, but with extra support for your safety and growth.
Perform the crow pose. Complete it in front of a wall that you are facing. Gently rest your head against the wall for support balancing as needed.