When it comes to flexibility Yoga always comes top of the list of disciplines mentioned, in fact one of the major blocks for new practitioners is the belief that you are required to be able to touch your toes in order to practice. Yoga is much more than poses BUT working on asana ( pose) practice is a great starting point.
Here are 5 poses which if practised daily can help tackle some of the areas which are renowned for their un-flexible nature and improve posture as well as prepare your body for seated postures.
I chose these 5 poses based on their effect on some of the areas most effected by tightness in the modern human body due to our sedentary lifestyle: the hamstrings , the psoas muscles , the abductor muscles , the trapezius/serratus anterior/romboids combo. Scroll to the end for a link to a video of the full sequence. Repeat the sequence daily for a month to start noticing gradual changes. Never overstretch , always stay on the safe side of your edge.
Downward facing dog
believe it or not this is an inversion!
This pose is great to release shoulder tension,tight calves and hamstrings as well as stretching the whole back from neck to tailbone.
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Energizes the body
Strengthens the arms and legs
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
Helps prevent osteoporosis
Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
I love how this pose releases the tension created by any pose that stretches the back of the legs. You can practice it on its own or sitting on a bolster or a block to avoid knee strain. It's also great for digestion and for stretching open the inside of the hips.
Stretches the ankles, groins and back torso
Tones the belly
a great stretch for the shoulders main muscle groups , just be careful not to overdo it to start with. Any pinching on the top on the shoulder indicates you need to back away so use a block under your forehead to support the weight of the body.
Stretches the spine, the shoulders and the armpits
Thread the needle
a twist with a focus on the upper back and shoulders, take care when setting up and avoid if you have neck injuries.
strecthes the shoulders and the neck
stretched the upper back
tones and massages the abdomen
a joyful heart opener to stretch the entire front body . Be very aware of not crunching your lower back but look for length in your upper back as you pretend to roll over a big beach ball.
Always keep your hands on the small of the back when going in and out of the pose
Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins,
Abdomen and chest, and throat
Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
Strengthens back muscles
Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
Close this sequence with one minute in childpose.
Practice these poses daily for two weeks and see if you can notice any progress , remain mindful and aim to hold each pose for several breaths ( start with 5 and increase to 10)
Click HERE is a link to a short video you can replay to support your practice.
More videos are available HERE, practice safely!