Does yoga help with flexibility?
It’s a very common question. But if you are a true yogi, this question might sound a bit outrageous to you. Of course, yoga does a lot to the body, including the increase in flexibility.
After practicing yoga for a while, your stiff body becomes flexible. All you have to do is work consistently and remain patient through the process.
One day I woke up from a nightmare. Tired of being stuck in one place thinking about the good old days when flexibility had its name written all over my body.
So, I made up my mind and walked up to a yogi and asked – does yoga have anything to do with flexibility?
His answer? No one is too stiff for yoga practice.
Can you stay away from the shower just because you think you are too dirty? As unclean as the body may appear, bathing in a shower cleans the body.
The same goes for yoga and its flexibility-enhancing benefits.
Keep Calm and Yoga On
Still not satisfied with his answer, I grew more curious and asked once again. Will it take a century before yoga practice increases my flexibility?
He answered saying:
In the beginning, it may seem like things won’t work out. But after being persistent for a while, those long stretches of yours will begin to yield positive results.
Just remember that there are people claiming that you can become flexible overnight. Yoga isn’t magic.
The Truth and Nothing but the Truth
In respective of how long it takes you to become flexible, it will never cost you a century.
Usually, people in good physical shape become flexible after casually practicing yoga for only four weeks.
Then there also may be these other people who need up to four years of Intense Side Stretch to touch their toes with the forehead connecting to the knee.
Words of Encouragement
Since we are here to help each other, why not read some encouraging words that will cheer you up and maybe even make you more flexible?!
You are on a Journey not Heading to a Destination
The end, I heard them screaming, justifies the means, but here every day prepares you for a better tomorrow. Like a long weight loss journey that requires losing one pound each week for two months plus, make those small wins count.
One Step at a Time
Yeah, some get there by plane, some by a car, others with a bike – everybody is heading for the finish line, but in a way that they can afford to at the moment.
Here are little secrets:
- If you struggle to touch the ground in a forward fold, start with the ankle.
- After being acquainted with that, extend your reach to the feet’s top.
- As time goes, aim for the toes, and finally you will be more flexible to reach the floor.
Celebrate Each Win
Even in the long run, nothing comes easy, or it isn’t worth it. Breaking down the process is a source of motivation.
And when those small wins start to emerge, it should call for celebration so that next frustrations won’t stop you.
Tomorrow is Always a New Day
Do you know that there are factors that could either hinder or increase your flexibility?
And they are:
- Physical fitness.
How Does This Affect You?
On day one or maybe someday, your muscles may open up more than they have ever before because the water content in the body nourished you. Then the next day, due to various reasons (unable to sleep well, work or stress overall) your body may not be as willing to repeat yesterday’s movements.
Get Used to Each Day
Even on those days that your hamstrings will refuse to budge, keep one thing in mind. The more days you repeat that movement, the more improvement you will experience.
Regardless of what the day brings, being slow and consistent elevates you from one to hundred.
Flexibility is Both Patient and Kind
Until you put in love and passion to what you are doing, you will never walk in the part of freedom. Love is patient and kind. It envies not, neither does it boast nor is it proud.
That’s the only thing that helps you while on your flexibility journey.
- It is all good to have some self-love.
- Patience and kindness should be your best friends.
- Those people practicing at the other side of the yoga class are flexible but don’t be jealous of them, you will do better someday too.
- Even if your flexibility journey is a long one, stay off distractions and let those small wins be your motivator.
Flexible or Not, Yoga is for All
The main idea behind yoga is to become flexible and gain strength. To hell with the old popular yoga myth that says that only flexible people can set their foot on a yoga mat.
Remember, practice makes perfect.
Of course, some were born more flexible, and some attain flexibility through hard work and extreme force of discipline.
Just because you never sat in a plane as a child doesn’t mean you can’t make it someday as an Air force-one pilot.
If you are persistent with your yoga practice, then flexibility is not far from you.
Ignore the naysayers (especially on social media). Those crazy poses popping up on your social media feed has nothing to do with you. If they could do it, then so can you, perhaps even go an extra mile.
Experts have already done the underground work and found out that yoga improves flexibility. You can use it to improve your balance, posture, and strength.
- Try sitting up straight if you want to improve your posture.
- Getting stronger requires doing strength training.
- In yoga, you need more effort to balance the body.
After a long time of perfecting in these three points, progress will follow.
Bonus points for being observant of others.
To my greatest surprise, when I first attended a yoga class, I noticed that some stiff individuals were far from being flexible. Then I said to myself, dear, you are not the only one.
As I continued my yoga practice, I was astonished to realize how flexible I have become. Now my body and mind are stronger than before.
The physical yoga practice lengthens and tones the muscles as you pose and stretch. You shouldn’t dream of becoming an expert on your first day of yoga practice. That’s like breaking the law of karma which may bounce back on you.
Through repetition yoga creates flexibility. Only when the body is stretched enough, will the poses start building on each other. This way, the flexibility of your body starts to increase.
These are body supporting tools that help to reach more length as you hope to stretch the muscles in each posture.
Do It for Your Benefit
Only when you put in more time in yoga will you become flexible. Attending occasional yoga classes will surely relax your muscles and help you sleep well at night.
Furthermore, consistent yoga practice guarantees long-term flexibility.
It Has Never Been, and Will Never be Easy!
Don’t hurry to be like those expert yogis who you see on social media doing intricate advanced yoga poses. It took them a lot of years to move that way in the class.
You need to think about the struggles those yogis passed through – how they started the journey that led to their present performance.
If those yogis could climb a mountain that big, then you can carry it on your back. Flexibility in people differs, but yoga takes everyone to the end of the journey.
What would yoga be without consistent practice, and of course, patience? Only these can increase your strength, flexibility, and balance as a yoga student.
According to a study:
- Even one class of practicing yoga a week leads to hamstring flexibility as well as better spine mobility.
- A steady practice upgrades the entire game as it can ward off your injuries as well.
Find a Suitable Pose for Your Body
Don’t start practicing a particular pose because the guy you saw on YouTube is good at it. I am not saying you shouldn’t learn from others, only that your body structure determines your limits as a beginner.
Are those images of complicated yoga poses affecting your thinking? Due to the natural flexibility of some people, they have proportioned limbs that make it possible for them to do such poses. But if you’re not as flexible as they are, achieving complicated poses might leave you calling for the Lord.
What are your yoga goals? If flexibility is one of them, then consider pairing your fitness goals with stability and strength.
How can you achieve this? People with tight muscles should focus their aim on more motion range. Those with flexibility running in their bones should step up their game and build up their endurance.
Yoga is not All About Touching the Toes
Apart from touching your toes, you can also learn the following:
- Learn how to practice mindfulness.
- As you practice, be observant enough to listen and see the signs that your body is showing.
- Learn how to reduce stress with yoga.
When you practice yoga, your body sinks and stretches muscle fibers, loosening up the entire body.
You don’t need to rush into things, but once you feel comfortable a great option is it pick up a yoga wheel or yoga blocks, that will give you more options for your yoga sessions.
Best Yoga Poses for Flexibility
For beginners who want to lengthen and stretch their muscles, these two yoga poses are a safe and effective way of increasing flexibility.
A Guideline on How to Practice Bound Angle Pose
- Sit up and stretch out your legs in front of you, then place your pelvis on top of a blanket if you have tight hips or groins.
- Breath out and slowly bend the knees and move your heels close to the pelvis.
- After that, spread your knees to each side, then join the soles of the feet pressing them together.
- Move your heels closer to the pelvis.
- Use each of your first two fingers as well as the thumbs to grasp your foot’s big toe on each side.
- While doing this, make sure your feet’s outer edges are firm on the floor.
- If your fingers and thumbs can’t reach your big toes, then clasp your hands and put them around one side of the ankle or shin.
- Sit on the floor and distance the front pubis from the back tailbone.
- When you do this, the position of the pelvis will become neutral, and the perineum parallels to the floor.
- The shoulder blades and sacrum should stay firm against the back, and the front torso lengthened through the sternum top.
- The best thing is to bend the knees slowly.
- You can do so by releasing your thigh bones close to the floor before bending the knees.
A Detailed Guideline on How to Practice Child’s Pose
- Put your knees on the floor, and join the two big toes.
- Then, sitting on the heels, separate the knees to go as far as the hips.
- Breath out and place the torso between the thighs.
- Make the sacrum broad across the backside of your pelvis and nestle your hip points to relax on the inner thighs, toward the navel.
- As you lift your skull base, separate it from your neck’s back, and lengthen your tailbone to stay away from the backside of your pelvis.
- While on the floor, lay the hands alongside the torso with palms facing up, place both shoulders toward the ground.
- When you relax, you will notice that the shoulders’ weight is setting the blades of your shoulders wide across the back.
- Pose for 30 seconds or more.
- Before you stand, lengthen your torso first, then as you lift, inhale and ensure the tailbone is pressing down toward the pelvis.
After reading all of these are you still asking – does yoga increase flexibility? Then make actions sound louder than mere words. Who knows – you might be a few steps away from becoming as flexible as an Olympic Gold Medalist.
And when your body later goes from stiff to flexible, don’t forget to share your comments here to help encourage other rookies.