Increasing flexibility is one of the most consistently reported benefits of practicing yoga. Practicing yoga gradually loosens the connective tissue and muscles surrounding our joints, allowing for better blood flow, less compression, and a reduction of aches and pains.
Here are 7 yoga stretches to help increase your flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Svanasana posture replicates a dog bending forward, hence the name downward facing dog pose. This asana can be practiced by any beginner too and with all its benefits, one should include it as a part of daily yoga practice. It is a standing pose and mild inversion that builds strength while stretching the whole body.
Paschimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend
Paschimottanasana or the Seated Forward Bend pose is a ‘forward bend asana. Paschimottanasana is also known as the Intense Dorsal Stretch pose as it engages the dorsal muscles of the back. “Paschima” means your “back” and “Uttana” means “stretching“. This asana covers the stretching of the whole body from head to heels so it is called as Paschimottanasna.
Badhakonasana - Butterfly Pose
Badhakonasana is also popularly known as the Butterfly Pose because of the movement of the legs during the posture, giving the appearance of a butterfly flapping its wings. Targeting primarily the legs, it is the perfect antidote to relax and stretch the muscles of the legs. This yoga pose will relax your body, mind and soul that will comfort your tired feet.
Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Spinal Twist
Ardha Matsyendrasana usually appears as a seated spinal twist with many variations, and is one of the twelve basic asanas in many systems of Hatha Yoga. This is one of the few poses in the Basic Session that rotates the spine. Most bend the spinal column either backward or forward, but to become truly flexible it must be twisted laterally as well. The movement also tones the spinal nerves and ligaments, and improves the digestion.
Prasarita Padottanasana - Wide Legged Forward Bend
Prasarita means separated. Pada means legs or feet. Uttana means intense stretching. The direct translation is “wide-stance forward bend’. This pose can also be translated as spread out feet intense stretch. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold is a calming forward bend that stretches the hamstrings and back. There are several arm variations and other modifications available.
Utthita Trikonasana - Extended Triangle Pose
Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) is a standing pose. This pose focuses more on the thighs and has many health benefits to offer. It helps to relieve stress and stretches and lengthens various parts of the body. Extended Triangle pose yoga has the ability to bring stability, strength and stamina in one’s life. Therapeutically, it is good for strengthening the core and legs.
Urdhvamukha Shvanasana - Upward Facing Dog
Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is a powerful pose that awakens upper-body strength and offers a wonderful stretch for the chest and abdomen. Upward-Facing Dog stretches the chest and spine, while strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders. By strengthening and opening the upper body and chest, it improves posture and can be therapeutic for asthma. Upward Dog creates suppleness in the back torso and abdomen, which stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It also firms the buttocks and thighs, helping to relieve sciatica. The backbend energizes and rejuvenates the body, providing relief from fatigue and mild depression.
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