Friday, May 29, 2009

Yoga for Flexibility | Exercises for Flexibility

Yoga and Flexibility


Yoga and flexibility have always been linked together. The exercises (asanas) of yoga encourage you to stretch your joints and limbs. Many of you may shy away from flexibility exercises, thinking you are too old or too inflexible to do them. But it would surprise you to know that yoga poses for flexibility can be performed at any age. The poses (asanas) of yoga will teach you in a gentle and systemic manner how to increase your flexibility.

How to Increase Flexibility?

Unknown to most of us, flexibility of muscles, joints and limbs offers us many benefits.

The pain that we feel when exercising, is caused by blocked or misplaced energy. Stretching exercises for flexibility opens up the channels of energy blockages. By allowing free flow of energy, it releases the pain, tension and stiffness which build up in muscles. This in turn drains out the lactic acid which accumulates in our body, which again causes release of fatigue. That is why you will feel not only less weary and more relaxed, but also more energetic and enthusiastic after you have performed yoga flexibility exercises.

The flexibility exercises encourage greater production of the lubricating fluid present in our joints. The result is greater fluidity of movements and a sense of ease. Mentally and emotionally too, it helps to create a sense of balance and harmony, and erases tensions and conflicts.

Yoga for flexibility

There are various yoga poses to increase flexibility in the different parts of your body, such as the spine, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, arms and neck. These poses will help to stretch and open up these areas. If you are a beginner, with sedentary habits, you might find it a little tough in the few initial days. But you can start slowly and gradually, use a few props like blocks, straps or blankets to aid in the performance of the poses.
  • Standing poses will stretch and straighten your spine. They will help you to maintain a good posture, and increase the strength and elasticity in your legs.
  • The seated poses will enhance the flexibility in your hips and lower back. They will make your spine stronger. The seated poses also include regulated breathing, which will release tension and calm your mind.
  • Forward bends will stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your lower back. It will reduce tension and thereby increase flexibility in your spine, shoulder and neck.
  • Back Bends will make your arms and shoulders stronger and increase their flexibility. They help to open up the hips and chest, thereby releasing tension.
Some of the basic yoga poses for flexibility are:
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Lotus (Sukhasana)
  • Cobra(Bhujangasana)
  • Balance Posture(Natarajasana)
  • Simple chest Expansion(Ardha Chakrasana)
  • Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana)
  • Simple Triangle (Trikonasana)
  • Simple Locust (Salabhasana)
  • Bow (Dhanurasana)
  • Leg Clasp (Padahastasana)
  • Simple Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  • Backward Bend (Supta Vajrasana)
  • Plough(Halasana)
  • Knee and Thigh Stretch (Bhadasana)
  • Simple Fish (Matsyasana)
  • Shoulder Stand(Sarvangasana)
  • Deep Relaxation (Savasana)